Monday, August 8, 2011

Me vs. Emotion

"Where would you be without them?"

In all honesty, I didn’t think writing about this was going to be as difficult as it wound up being. I do realize it’s a bit of an odd topic to discuss it’s something I’ve been obsessed with for as long as I could remember. Emotions. It’s hard to define specifically what an emotion is, yet it’s the driving force behind each and every one of our actions and decisions throughout our lives. Similar to the soul, they help to define not only who we are but why we are the way we are. It’s possible the two are even linked somehow. There are dozens of different emotions we all experience throughout our lives but I’ll only discuss very briefly the different ones we are all familiar with.

Anger; Frustration; Hostility; Rage; Resentment

These can all be generalized to one word… hatred. Out of all the emotions we experience, hatred is one I find most fascinating. It’s the one emotion people tend to not want to acknowledge due to the negative connotations the word often brings. Some of the most heinous crimes committed throughout the worlds’ history have been carried out due to hatred including genocide. It’s the emotion that lingers and festers in the mind, causing people to potentially do unspeakable things when it gets to be too much to control. Of course we all know the large majority of us will never let hatred control our actions to such an extreme degree, but whenever you see or hear someone expressing themselves in an overtly hostile way, can you not help but take a little caution? Intense hatred in one person or a group of people can draw out fear in others. It’s the only emotion people are afraid of which is why in part I find it so intriguing. The other part… I believe that we all have an inner rage inside of us, but due its social discontent at those who express it albeit in a harmless or harmful way, not everyone wants to acknowledge it within themselves. But is hatred truly an evil emotion? When a person is mistreated, anger can give that person needed strength to stand up for themselves. So when we see anger and hatred in a person should we automatically be afraid and look down on them? No. On the contrary, I think we as a society should stop being gigantic pussies about it.

Anxiety; Regret; Despair; Guilt; Misery; Shame

These can all be summed up in one word… depression. Out of all the emotions out there, I think depression is the one I can relate to the most. The only emotion we experience that is considered a disease, strong depression in a person can be physically crippling or at least feel like it is. We all experience depression on some level, ranging from a small insecurity we can’t seem to shake to a traumatic experience that can change the course of our lives. Whereas hatred can cause people to lash out at others, depression can cause people to lash out towards themselves with the most severe result being suicide from those that are not able to control it. It’s definitely a serious emotion and something not to be taken lightly, however there are those who have taken their struggles with depression and successfully made the proverbial glass of lemonade out of it. Some of the most prolific artists, writers and musicians have created their best pieces of work due to their despair, learning how to express themselves in their art through their most troubling times. So when we all experience insecurity and depression should we just give up hope and let it eat away at our souls? No. I say embrace it and learn how to use it to make you a better person.

Affection; Passion; Compassion; Desire; Longing

Love… can’t really talk about emotions and feelings without talking about this one can we? Billions of people consume themselves with the task of searching for love. It’s even been said by many that love conquers all. Whether that’s true or not most of us want to believe it, and maybe there might be some truth to that statement. Love is capable of curing depression and the pain from a broken heart can cause severe hatred in a person. With love being the only sought after emotion (aside from happiness which some people only equate with being in love), the truth is we all need love on some level either from family and friends or from a significant other. Is love truly the most powerful and most important emotion we all experience?  Despite my fascination with hatred the truth is I actually like love. Not because it’s a wonderful and magical virtue of all of the humans’ positive traits (I threw up a little writing that), but because of what it’s capable of doing to the human mind.

As I stated earlier it’s been said by many that love conquers all. It’s also been said that one of the worst reasons to make important decisions is for love. Why? We tend to make decisions we would not normally make and anybody who has ever been in love knows exactly what I’m talking about. These decisions include but are not limited to deciding to share a bank account with someone you probably shouldn’t be sharing one with, to choosing to wait outside a person’s house to just to get a glimpse of a person you’ve become infatuated with. And I’m sure we’ve all heard stories about spouses killing their loved ones or even themselves due to their love being betrayed or abused. Sometimes love has the ability to blur the line between rationality and insanity more than it needs to be blurred, and there are people out there who have a hard time telling the two apart.

If the brain is the strongest muscle in the body, how powerful are emotions? They are after all what govern the brain. If you want to hit someone, your brain may be what tells your arm to raise itself and swing, but it’s the anger you feel that makes you decide the person in front of you needs to be hit. But this isn’t really news to anyone right… nothing riveting about anything you’ve read so far? So what exactly was the point to all of this? Is it to prove that even the more undesirable emotions can have their place in the human life cycle, while the most sought after and arguably most important one of them all has its flaw? Not it either. Years ago I got a tattoo on my stomach of a vampire; inspired from the notion that vampires aren’t bound by the shackles of any emotion. The point of this is to ask the question, if given the opportunity could you and would you strip yourselves of all feelings?

You may never have to suffer from the crippling weight of depression, but you also will never experience the joys of being loved. As a person who lives within his own head and as someone who is constantly looking inward for the answers to all of life’s questions I am in no question a slave to my own emotions, explicitly allowing them to dictate how I live my life with no shame or regrets about it. But it is because of this that I often fantasize, sometimes for hours at a time, about where and what I would be without them. So as I finally end this I pose the question for you all, where would you be without your emotions? "1265"

by Andre Harry

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