The Interface: Group expressions

Let’s look at Dirk’s first question.

[4-1 Why do we tend to see group expression of emotions and feelings? We tend to do that with particular cultures (Italian, Spanish, English, Greek, Irish, Turkic, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian …). We also tend to do that by attributes (e.g. especially hair color). And we tend to do it with other social affiliations (various religions and beliefs, associations …).

[Is any of that real?  Is that an expectation or bias that we are taught or learn as children? Is it something else entirely?  If so, what?]

This is something I used to ask myself when I was a boy. Were those national or ethnic generalizations based in something real, or were they just accepted prejudices?

Bear in mind, we are still concentrating on feelings (emotions) as your means of inter-relating the 3D-you’s “personal” world and the “external” world of shared subjectivity that appears so definite and independent of you. Don’t forget to examine all these questions in that context.

The answer to the complex of questions included in 4.1 is not simple.

Is it ever?

Not really, not when you want to go beyond appearance or glib generalizations. Think about it: How could any real question be a simple yes or no, or even a simple yes/no/maybe? Questions that can be answered so simply are answered so simply, and do not hang over people’s heads demanding reconsideration and clarification.

As I was writing that out, I was getting that there’s more, too: that people turn complex questions into simple ones so they don’t have to deal with the complexity.

Said more carefully: People perceive questions according to the attention they pay them. If they don’t wish to put a lot of time and attention to them, it seems obvious to them that the answer is “merely x and such.” That is to say, people are capable or incapable of paying close attention to a given question depending upon the feelings (often unsuspected by them) that regulate their attention.

As you say that, I am half-remembering something. There was somebody who was downright bigoted against any possibility that psychic phenomena could be real. He was a scientist, I think. A colleague suggested that he look at [x], perhaps a scientific explanation of possibility, perhaps a case history, I can’t remember. But what I do remember was that he explained his refusal to examine this evidence contradicting his beliefs by saying he just couldn’t get interested in it. The take-away is that his emotional bias was preventing him from examining something and he was not recognizing that it was emotional bias.

And this happens all the time, and not necessarily in so obvious a form. Bear in mind: You all do it; it isn’t necessarily a bad thing; and the point here is that your thinking is often influenced by your feelings not during the thinking process but prior to it.

That has ramifications, doesn’t it? In such cases, one can re-examine one’s logic and confirm that it was not emotionally skewed, because what will be examined will be the logic and not the context that determines what the logic will be allowed to process.

That’s right. So your most scientific rationalistic minds may be terrible misled because the data they are allowed to process has been carefully winnowed and culled by feeling-oriented criteria before the thinking.

And – I’m hearing loud and clear – the same goes for those of us with other preferences.

Of course. Feeling precedes thought, if only because it determines what you can bring yourself to think about. That doesn’t say anything about how you think (nor, for that matter, about how you feel), but it does serve as a warning sign lest you think that your lives are simpler and more transparent than they are in fact.

Now, as usual our answer to the question posed was preceded by what seems a digression or even an irrelevance. But as usual we are proceeding on two tracks, and one of the tracks concerns process, and the other, the specific piece of information sought.

So, as we said, answering 4.1 is not simple, though you might think it would be.

  • Is it learned behavior, or learned perception?
  • Is it derived experience? That is, does observation lead to or support certain generalizations?
  • Is it in whole or in part intuitively derived conclusion?

The answer, of course, is, It depends upon many things:

  • Each individual accepts certain generalizations easily, rejects others, and struggles with yet others. This is true of everybody, but the specific applications differ, of course. What one accepts, another rejects and a third ponders. But the process is the same, because it is rooted in 3D experience.
  • Beyond personal observation, and what we might call second-hand observation (lore, communal assumptions, etc.) people come into life prepared to accept some kinds of thing and reject others. It is a matter of resonance.
  • Beyond either of these is a question of inclination, training, reaction.

That’s not at all clear.

No. Not easy to express even as a bullet.

Look, you find yourself in a 3D life. Your physical and social and familial heredity establishes your defaults. Then, over time, you test these defaults, asking yourself, is this what I truly believe, what I value, what I am or want to be. In short, life changes you. To some extent it changes you; to some extent, you determine how and how much you are willing (or even eager) to be changed. Neither way are you an inert object being acted upon, and neither way are you changing “at random.” And you choose what you want to be. You choose how you will see the world. You choose what’s true and what isn’t true among society’s assumptions.

What’s true for us as individuals, not for everyone.

Of course. So you see where that leave you. The answer is: It depends.

But can you answer, as well, more in the spirit of Dirk’s questioning?

That wasn’t not in the spirit, but we know what you mean. It is a much larger more intricate question and we can go into it sometime if you wish. But it isn’t actually central to the question of feelings in your lives.

We have been generalizing the “external” world as a shared subjectivity. Like all generalizations, it may be examined more closely to reveal important distinctions.

  • Everything not “you” is other. But “other” covers a lot of ground!
  • Every ethnic group, ever nation, every culture, every linguistic group, every country that comprises more than one nation or more than one ethnic group, every empire – they each have characteristics. And everyone living within any of these shares or rejects or half-conforms to these characteristics.

You can tell an American in Europe without reference to clothes of speech, often enough.

Exactly. A Mexican-American is not a Mexican, nor is he an un-hyphenated American. Second-generation Italian-Americans are not their parents nor their children. The “other” interacts with the “you” of you. It is supposed to!

Germans like to drink beer. Does every German like to drink beer? Of course not. Does that invalidate the generalization? Of course not. However, what the generalization means to any one of you is going to differ by who and what you are. So, is it a valid observation or a prejudice? It depends. Both, maybe. Neither.

But this doesn’t finish the subject. More another time.

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