Sunday, May 21, 2017

For Liberals and Conservatives - a note on feeling(s)

Feelings are not truth – Feelings are not truth – Feelings are not truth – Feelings are not truth -

Acting on your feelings doesn’t make you authentic, but it can make you reckless and ill considered.

Serial killers act on their feelings, rapists, abusers, racists – all are feeling driven.

Feelings are the source of racism, misogyny, prejudice, sexism, and bias of all sorts.

Less antisocial but equally valid as an example – people with bipolar disorder must regularly sort through what is a “true” feeling and what is a product of brain chemistry –

Children, before they’ve learned self-discipline, are examples of an unexamined emotional life capable of equal parts joyful and uninhibited; and cruel and unrestrained.

Narcissists believe in the truth of their feelings.

Feelings are sometimes just intrusive thoughts that need to be ignored. YOU may not be the author of them. They may be a product of conditioning through life experience – or chemical shifts beyond your control. In the medieval period, intrusive feelings were sometimes thought to be the product of Satan or a demon.

Everyday minor biases play out so that we privilege those we FEEL comfortable with over those we FEEL less comfortable with. The system is an accumulation of these choices. It’s not always or even often a conspiracy, but most often a byproduct of people with power helping those they feel comfortable with – generally with no ill (but ill considered) intent -

Feelings are how the system gets rigged.

When you meet someone and you instantly dislike them; when you automatically choose to hire the friend as opposed to the possibly more qualified stranger; when you assume the guilt of someone without evidence but based on what you imagine about them - (how you imagine someone’s motives or intentions absent evidence) … these are feelings at work and they lead to an out of kilter system.

Good news – you don’t have to feel guilty for your feelings, … just for not examining them.

I think it’s important that we consciously decide what principles we are committed to and then as objectively as we can apply ourselves to these. It’s important to build systems that remove the potential for bias as much as possible. We must test what we do against the logic of what we say we believe.

For example – if you believe that it is an ethical imperative that we love one another – then what you say or do should follow the logic of this. Just as some feelings are a negative product of conditioning, some positive feelings must be cultivated, and we must condition ourselves to them.

If we long for a system that is fair, a world where everyone begins on equal footing, then, we really do have to examine our feelings and cultivate those that make us who we hope to be, as individuals and as a nation.

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