Current spit-everything mode
by phil on Tuesday Jun 3, 2003 12:31 AM
emotional intelligence, self-programming
Okay, so the latest "mode" of mentality I've been on is this emotional intelligence thing. It actually started well before I read this book. I made for myself a perspective on life that involved responding effectively to how I felt. I had found myself confused and in a rut in many situations, and I was most frustrated by a lack of control. Other people could remain calm while as I'd get angry or stressed out. Yeah, that's what it was, I was trying to improve myself again, and in doing so I saw other models of "the man" and these were people that were very effective at responding to themselves. If they were thinking too much, they'd stop, if they were tired, they'd rest, if they were depressed, they'd cheer themselves up. This gave them easy access to many things in life while as me with my automatic emotional responses would have to find things that would fit me and not the other way around.
So, I did this for a while. Some of the methods I'd employ would be sort of "letting it all out." Self-expression through writing or having an introspective gait to my thoughts would help reveal with an "objective hovering wrath" (as the aforementioned book refers to it) what it was that I desired, and then from there I'd then figure out what to do about it.
It fit well with my "Observe, Analyze, Apply" framework because in fulfilling our information-processing duties, the best observations would probably be those about yourself.
So this worked for a while, in many instances. I learnt many things, one of which is that this emotional intelligence is not as easy as one, two, three. What I did learn though, was that, indeed it did work. One could take a problem, a distress, a feeling inside, deconstruct it, and then manage themselves up to a desirable state. Bingo, instant success for life. You want to make yourself into the state of yourself that you best like, and by accessing and then subsequently managing your emotional state, you will eventually get there.
Or so it would seem.
I went on this for a while, but based on the epiphemerous nature of my other "thinks" I withheld spreading the "gospel." The most I gave to people was this sort of, "I have the KEY, but I'm still experimenting."--as an aside, I've resigned myself to being simply a seeker, *sigh*.
And now, we're at this chapter. And I think I've kind of pinned onto an actual problem with this kind of thinking, almost makes my previous, machine-like approaches to life, more suitable for living. But basically, this kind of thinking, of directly accessing your emotions, and directly manipulating them through activities, internal or external, is somewhat incompatible with the way we are actually programmed to think.
As of now, I'm starting to feel that I move from one fleeting emotion to the next. I sense, I respond. That's all there is to it.
My counter is well, don't people do that anyways? Isn't just responding to their emotions precisely the way people do it. They just run a pop operation on the queue of their feelings, and then spit off what comes "naturally."
Ah, but that's the thing... "naturally." I finally figured what they mean when they say, "be natural." They mean to say, "rely on your passive processes." Funny thing is the context that this is usually dished out by the skeptics. Usually it's dished out in situations related to dating and public speaking. But it's not used in other situations. For example, if you're about to start a difficult program, nobody says, "be natural" or if you're the president negotiating placement of troops in Turkey, Rove doesn't say, "'ey Georgey, just be natual." Well, that's because things like social dances are a very complicated and un-modelable process, so getting out of your conscious interference and relying on instinct will lead you to the better way.
(my apologies for the digression)
Anyways, the problem with this way that I've been playing with is that well, I'm directly accessing my emotions. I'm manipulating myself in a very unnatural way, although naturally for those who are emotionally intelligent, in which case this IS the way. But basically, the best example is I sit around and I go, "hmm, I feel like I need a sense of meaning." And so then afterwards, I then go off and do something "meaningful" like help the needy or setup a religion. But, here's the rub... What does that accomplish? On the one hand, well, I helped the needy and I started a religion for Christssake, but if you dereference those things, I actually was just plugging an emotional hole. I was filling a void. I was going through a phase and I dealt with it appropriately. So the weight of the problem is in that it trivializes the actions we do as just responding to our feelings.
Some people can live that way. They'd say, "yeah, of course, you go with your heart, you go with what you feel inside, and that guides you." But then I respond to that, doesn't that just ruin the meaning of what you're doing. If you're just going with your feeling, then what's to say what you're doing is right and not just some chemical reaction in your head. This issue pricked me when somebody said, in regards to anti-war protestors, "they just can't stand the sight of blood." And that feeling evolves into sympathy, combined with hatred of large hegemonies, mixed with suspicions about oil. Now, fortunately, if you're intellectual, you may do some research and understand what's really happening, but even those intellectuals are swamped by the sheer network effects of other people just urging and suggesting, telling them what they want to hear. Pretty soon it's the bleeding hearts on one side vs. the stern righteous on the other. What suffers is truth and accuracy.
So, where do we go from here. Well, as the current re-design of Philosophistry illustrates, life, at least for me, is a cycle of arcs and what not. Hopefully they spiral up. But essentially, on a concrete level, what's probably next is a slowly dampening of this direct emotional thinking method. The next stage is strange as I'll have no concrete "mentality" in my mind. I actually then truly "go with the flow"---BUT, aren't I THEN just responding again to my emotions, but just in a very passive way. And so, I already see my frustrations manifesting, the subsequent pensive moments, and ladies and gentlemen, there will be a new mode.
Hopefully, though, this is evolution. Fortunately I've gotten a sense of humor to this whole process.