The Interface: A spectrum of emotions

I think we are all hoping for detail, and I think one place to look for examples is in all the situations that we dramatize. It is when people are at their most interesting, good or bad, that we can see vivid illustrations, not when we are considering philosophic abstractions.

Yes. Politics, war, natural disasters, economic and social strains over long times – it all can serve. At a different level, the effects of sin and virtue and good and bad habits, the same. Life, not mere abstractions. And another stratum of life, less often remembered in this context: Shall we call it intellectual passion? Living in abstractions? Castle-building? It is all part of life in 3D, which is part of Life, which is lived in 3D and beyond, and is lived not only between birth and death but between death and subsequent events, be they new births or other things. But before we get tempted to hare off into speculation (for that is what it would necessarily be, at this point, on your part), let us proceed with feelings and emotions as they manifest in your ordinary lives.

Dirk’s second question was, what are the raw primary emotions. We will not attempt to list them. You will each do that from your understanding of life and your experience of life and your conclusions from what you have observed. That is to say, any listing must be arbitrary. We know that is not intuitively obvious.

No, it isn’t. Surely there is a comprehensive list.

There could be a list of basics, in the way that anyone can name the seven-color rainbow. But just as a complete spectrum of color is impossible, so with emotion. In both cases, different people experience the spectrum in different levels of detail and (therefore) of differentiation. Everybody knows red yellow blue, say; no one knows all the possible variants even of these three colors. Nor does anyone know how others experience the colors. When someone sees a certain shade of lilac, is that the same as the way someone else does?

As in color spectra, so in the world of music and in emotion. The norm is infinite diversity in which divisions are arbitrary (in that each person may divide the indivisible in its own fashion).

Now, why are we not listing at least the basics of the emotional scale, the colors of the rainbow, the notes of the octave? Do you see why we don’t?

I get that you don’t want to lend any authority to any given division of the spectrum.

Very good. As we say, you will each construct your own list, and that list will be pretty representative, for you. But just as we’re always saying don’t judge others or yourself, so we would say, don’t think to prescribe an “objectively true” scale of emotion or colors or musical values. Arbitrary is arbitrary, and although arbitrary has its place in the analytical process, it is a case of the Buddha’s “Make a distinction, make an error.” Distinctions are necessary for analysis, and for clarity of thought, only do not confuse them with reality.

I know what you mean by that last sentence: Distinctions are useful but personal. They are not absolutes because they cannot be.

It is the confusion of necessarily provisional distinctions with seemingly absolute conditions that locks people into partial viewpoints that seem self-evident. Again, that is useful sometimes, and for some it is useful all the time. But for our purposes, it does not serve.

So let’s move to Dirk’s seventh question, noting in passing that we have already addressed question five just now.

[#5: “How common is it for people to have variations in sensitivity to various emotions, up to and including the absence of certain emotions.”]

So you have. Interesting, I didn’t see this implication till I just looked back on his list.

Notice, too, how you now see what before you could only either take his word for, or wait for illustration of, or silently disagree on.

I do, yes. I couldn’t imagine that we did not all experience the same emotions. I was willing to postulate the idea, but couldn’t see how it could be. And now I can, and in fact now it seems evident that perhaps no two of us live in the same emotional world any more than in the same perceptual or conceptual world.

That’s correct. Strange how problems in communication arise among you, isn’t it?

Very funny. I would say, “You try it,” except that of course you, via your extensions into 3D life, do try it, do experience it.

How could we help explain, if we had no first-hand and second-hand experience of what we would explain?

Clearer once you say it. okay, Dirk’s seventh.

[“At the most basic level, are emotions instinctual reactions to support survival? I.e. are these the most primitive brain hard wired (or chemically wired) reactions to increase survival chance?”]

Understand, our approach to this exploration is fundamentally different in terms of origin, mechanism, and result. This is why we went to some length to redefine your lives as flow, as process, rather than as structure or as self-contained unit. Neither feelings nor emotions (nor thought, for that matter) originate in the structure of the brain. This, regardless how extensively you define the brain. Generalize it further: Feelings, emotions, intellectual processes, do not originate in the 3D world. They manifest there; they interact with pre-existing conditions there; they produce results there (and also produce results that seem to be there but are actually in the non-3D world of mind rather than the 3D world of brain (limbic system, etc.).

And we admonish you – and whoever reads this, whenever they read it – not to unconsciously fall back on previously held models of the brain and regard this as “merely” this or that. You need not hold to this model if you don’t profit by it, but you cannot profitably examine it without provisionally adopting it (not adapting it!) while you do so. This is a far greater obstacle to new understanding than it may appear to be, because in neatly tucking new concepts into niches in existing understandings, you silently and invisibly remove its potential to provide new light. You cannot cling and leap at the same time.

So are you saying you don’t want to answer question seven as posed?

We are saying the way to illustrate the answer is to give it different context. The question as phrased asks two things: what and why. Are emotions instinctive reactions, and are they intended to promote individual survival? We recognize that this may not have been Dirk’s intent, exactly, but perhaps he like everyone is occasionally employed as a local agent of the universe.

This question’s tacit assumptions reward some unpacking. Is awe at the beauty of a sunset an emotion? Can it be said to promote survival?

I get the point.

Not everyone will, not immediately.

 

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