Emotions in the Service of Life

by Jason Stotts

Perhaps the single most important feature of emotions is that one now lost to us. Emotions have become afflictions that we bear: they are beyond reason, beyond understanding, and beyond our ability to control. Emotions do not, however, have to be this way.

Emotions, proper emotions, allow us to experience the reality of our judgments and give meaning to our lives. A life that is coldly rational, a life where reason and emotion stand in opposition, is a life that is without meaning. No matter how correct your judgments may be, they cannot be real to you unless you can experience them as part of yourself. Emotions give reality to our ideas; they are the divine bridge between our intellect and bodies and allow us to live as unified beings. That is, of course, if one can master them.

Yet, mastery of emotions need not be the Herculean effort that it is currently supposed. The reason that it is now so difficult is because emotions are not understood, and if one does not understand the operation of his emotions then he has no chance to try and change them. Yet, emotional operation is straightforward and within our ability to change.

Our emotions are automatic responses to our souls, to the core of our beliefs, to those judgments that we hold as definitive of our identities. The stronger the belief, the more central it is to one’s emotional structure and the more that it will affect one’s emotions. If we want this affect to be for the positive, we cannot leave the creation of our emotions to neglect! We must purposefully craft our emotions directly from our reasons and guarantee our creations through continual introspection.

It is not that we can directly control our emotions, but like a river we can shape its course and it will inevitably follow the channel we create if we do this with care. Emotions follow naturally, and automatically, from our beliefs and so we can ultimately change an emotion by changing this basis. If we consciously direct this process, instead of leaving it up to chance, we can bring our emotions in line with our reason and create a unified soul for ourselves.

By bringing our emotions into line with our reason, we can create a world in which we can not only judge, but can experience the reality of our judgments. We can create, for ourselves, a world where our emotions augment and strengthen our ideas with their passion, a world where good and evil become visceral, a world where our souls are not constantly struggling against themselves and, instead, we can experience the light purity of a soul that is good, that can experience this goodness, and can rejoice in the reality of its virtue. We can create the soul that can say: “I know, and feel, that I am good.”

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