The Interface: Emotions and control

Guys, it occurred to me, we can learn more about the invisible influences on our lives by looking at the weaknesses and quirks we see in each other – and occasionally in ourselves – than by constructing theoretical models of how things work.

Fixed ideas that distort perceptions, yes. Understand, in all this, our intent is not to criticize, certainly not to condemn, but to understand. The facts about life that you may wish weren’t true are perhaps the ideal way to circumvent that mechanism within you that tends to pretty up your picture of life, unintentionally distorting it.

But this is a side-trail?

In so far as there is such a thing as a side-trail, maybe. We should prefer to revert to Dirk’s earlier questions that center upon hope and fear.

[With current events, what function does hope serve? Is it a function? Is it something else? How does hope relate to fear? … and to other emotions or feelings?

[I pick hope in particular as current events have left many in deep inner turmoil. That leads many to seek hope. Personally I find that confusing. As with anger and shame I suspect I some-how or some-why lack the trigger that stirs hope in others. What is that?

[To me hope has always felt like an evasion – akin to an active form of freezing in the fight-flight-freeze response, only acting at the feeling level rather than at the emotional or physical levels.  It seems more nuanced and more complex.

[Is any of that right? Am I misinterpreting? Am I making some other error? Alternately, am I experiencing some other form of mental evasion myself?]

That was only 17 days ago, but it seems a long time.

We have covered some ground since then. Your background understanding of how we see things will have progressed since then.

Naturally we can’t go very far in examining hope and fear if we do not first look at what we mean by those words. You will see that looking at emotions not as things but as ephemeral energy should result in better understanding. OT1H (on the one hand), we wish to explore them; OTOH (on the other hand) we wish to assure that we don’t confuse a reaction, or energy, with a thing.

Hope, fear, are the products of interaction between 3D-you and non-3D you, or rather, between that inner sphere that defines itself as “you,” and the larger sphere encompassing and surrounding and dwarfing it, a larger “you” that you occasionally or even frequently identify with.

You see how difficult it is to hold in mind yesterday’s theoretical construct, when you come to apply it to today’s specific example?

I do. This is hard slogging, that has involved me in re-reading past entries looking for the orientation I felt you wanted me to have. So it is now more than 20 minutes, and we have barely two pages.

At that, the difference is less than you think. Your sense of wheels spinning leads you to exaggerate the amount of time you spent leafing through the book.

But the specific work of relating one day’s input to previous days’ input is how one grounds one’s understandings. Otherwise they tend to be somewhat “up in the air.”

So now, look at it. If emotions and feelings are how 3D-you experiences its interaction with the larger world that it usually experiences as external, and if those feelings are, as we have said, more like a boundary layer of energy than like anything solid and definable as separate, what is hope? What is fear? Can a reaction be, itself, an evasion? It could be the product of evasion, perhaps, but that is a different thing entirely.

You’ll have to spell that out for us, I think. It’s pretty cloudy for me, anyway.

  • The 3D-you observes what seems an “external” situation that nonetheless concerns it.
  • Clearly, the 3D-self is too small relative to the “external” world to determine outcomes.
  • Therefore, the situation appears to be: the 3D-you on the one hand, and the “external” world on the other, with the “external” being the environment the 3D-you is constrained to live in.
  • Assuming disconnection between the two elements of the situation – especially if one assumes an element of randomness – the rational conclusion the 3D-you may come to is that it is a wood chip being carried down the rapids.
  • If 3D-you assumes an overall benign direction to things, it may perhaps be relatively serene with the prospect, trusting that all will be well; that, perhaps, all is well, despite appearances.
  • If 3D-you cannot believe in a benign ordering principle, it may become agitated (in one or another form of manifestation) because unable to forecast developments.

So it is about a sense of control?

To a degree. Predictability is an important part of one’s coping strategy in life. You don’t expect your physical geography to jump around; you don’t expect the facts of what you know happened to you to change arbitrarily. You expect that things will change, but your expectations usually are bounded (loosely or perhaps quite rigidly) by your understanding of what happened in the past. You do not expect the world to be determined, but you do expect it not to be capriciously variable. Variable, but within limits; not capriciously variable.

  • Now, a situation develops. The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. An economic depression hits and no one knows why nor how to overcome it. An invisible virus menaces society. (Or does it? That’s part of the uncertainty, for in matters of science most people are forced to take the word of authorities, which means they have to decide whether the authorities can be trusted.)
  • In any of these cases, 3D-you is faced with an external situation that seems to be, well, external. What can it have to do with an individual 3D-you’s composition and decisions?
  • Nonetheless, 3D-you is compelled to develop an attitude toward these events. Unable to influence them directly, still it must decide upon its attitude toward them, its effective

That isn’t clear.

Some pray, which amounts to a 3D-you throwing its tiny weight onto the scales, hoping to influence decisions being made at a vastly larger scale.

Putting it that way makes prayer sound not so different from our setting our intent to move toward a desired outcome.

The difference is chiefly in the different ways one thinks of the surrounding context. Someone praying to a God who may or may not wish to grant the request may be operating in effect in much the same way as someone intending to attract a given outcome by magnetizing to it (so to speak), but the two will frame what they are doing quite differently because the base from which they act is so different.

Put it that way, and it seems clear we shouldn’t criticize other people’s models of the way things are, but should be glad if their model allows them to do what is necessary and helpful.

Have we ever said or implied otherwise? Preaching to the unconverted is a waste of time, not to mention a measure of one’s own insecurity and doubt, however mixed it may be with a wish to be of service.

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