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Posted by CHARLIE ( on June 15, 2003 at 01:33:10:

Dear Damian,

I have put what you said in quotations:

"And Charlie, my advice to you is to place more emphasis on emotion. Emotions do matter. They should be taken into account. They are just as important as reason."

Nature has given animals an immediate instinct for self-preservation. The fox automatically knows how to build a den, and the squirrel automatically knows how to gather nuts for the winter. These are not choices they make, but instincts programmed into their natures. However, we are thrown into this world without the immediate means to survive. Human beings are left with choices. The future of our survival depends upon the choices that we make with each moment. Therefore, our self-preservation relies on our ability to properly inform our wills on what choices to make. That is where reason comes into play. Reason is the tool which integrates our perceptions of concrete reality into abstract concepts and decides the most rational choices to make in obtaining our goals and making for ourselves the lives we desire. Without intelligence, we would be doomed to oblivion.

Emotions are only in tune to the immediate moments and their immediate need. Emotions are irrational because 1) they do not properly percieve reality and 2) they do not take into account our own self-interests. They are whims. And when it comes to survival, whims are far inferior to reason. Animals have emotions. For instance, my dog runs around happy when he sees me. A bear gets angry when you stare it down and attacks you. Emotions are not feelings we share that make us independent from others, they are not means to understanding the world and inform us on our ways to reach our goals, and they do not make us individuals. Emotions are a dime a dozen. It is what we think, how we perceive, our beliefs, thoughts, and things associated with our minds which make us individuals. The people who value their emotions more than reason are the people whose lives always seem to be in a clutter because they are always giving themselves to a whim. Take the trend that is occuring among American ghetto blacks(not all, but more than other ethnicities). A good majority of them have little restraint over acting out on their moment to moment impulses. They can't sit through their classes without ridalin, they can't follow through on sensible goals for the future, and they cannot function as respectable members of a society. Why? Because they have little restraint over their emotions and care very little about their future self-interests. So they are prone to do things that keep themselves moving in a cycle of virtual despair and recycling themselves back into the lowest economic rungs of our society, generation after generation. That's why people have a tendency to label them "animals." Animals have no restraint over their moment to moment impulses. Of course I don't subscribe to this word because I believe that they can still redeem themselves if they come to realize the power of their reason and the force of their will.

"I once read that the function of thinking is to carry out the wishes of the heart. I agree with this."

Congratulations! You have just proved why reason is more important than emotions. Like you said in quotations, we would not be able to fulfill our hearts' desires without reason.

"Those things you classify as rational desires or whatever you call them, I consider these to be emotions. It is in realizing this that I began to identify with the whole of myself and not just my thoughts."

Don't confuse desires with emotions. Emotions are a feeling(happy, sad, angry, irate, etc.), and they are automatic responses to physical and mental stimulus. Desires are a want, and it is reason which evaluates this want, decides if the want is worthy of pursuit or in contradiction to another want we have, and then maps out a rational course to pursuing it. A disciplined person is more inclined to follow this path from beginning to end, whereas an emotional person is more inclined to fall onto many different paths, thus leaving behind a legacy of a contradictory, inconsistent life.

Emotions are fleeting and common to all, therefore your mind is what distinguishes you as an individual, not your emotions. Unfortunately, the mystical traditions, reflected through religious and collectivized movements like the hippies and the socialist programs--most notably in the twentieth century, have made reason out to be the enemy and emotions to be the method of understanding the world. Fragments of that disenchanted worldview have infiltrated today's generation and are best reflected, not only in artforms, but in everyday people like yourself, who claim that emotions are as important as reason.

"To both of you, my grandfather just died, so I am going to say this: nothing that has been said on this board is worth all this conflict. Life is too short and time too precious."

Ideas last longer than life, and are more precious than time!


p.s. Sorry about your grandfather

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