Friday, 4 January 2013

More musings about emotions

There are things that we’re not taught when we’re younger regarding emotion which we really should know.  We should be learning how to regulate and cope with emotion from early on but there is currently no remit whatsoever for emotional matters so people grow up afraid of themselves and afraid of each other.  Please don’t mince my words here, when I say afraid I am talking about being unable to face or deal with emotional matters rather than a blinding fear.  I was having a discussion with someone a while ago and I was talking about the inability to bridge the generation gap, you know, rather than learning from the previous generation children just end up repeating the same mistakes again.  The guy I was talking to said something which I found interesting he said “Well you can’t stop puberty, so therefore whatever happens as a result of that is just how it is!”  Those were not his exact words but that was the essence of it. 

I have been thinking about this ever since and thinking about how a lot of people go off the rails to a certain extent in their early to mid twenties of course most of them sort themselves out and lead happy and productive lives but in all seriousness, what a waste of time.  I did this.  I started drinking when I was about 13 then started smoking Cannabis when I was about 14 or 15 then went on to do just about every drug you can imagine and that was more or less it or me.  As a result of that beginning I continued that mode of behaviour, which is to say I came to settle into a way of life which was dangerous for me physically, mentally and emotionally. 

So why the big story about drugs and drink?  What does all of this have to do with emotion?  Well not many people actually realise that alcohol and drugs are directly linked to emotion and even fewer people will care to admit this.  Admissions about the true nature of why people drink especially would cause too many people to actually have to take a serious look at their own emotions and due to that overriding fear I mentioned earlier people just don’t want to do that.  All through my working life I drank very heavily at the weekends, indeed any chance I got I drank very heavily but while it was all going on I couldn’t have told you why I was doing it because I had not stopped and looked at my emotions and I was engaged with people during those drinking years who, to those same degrees, weren’t thinking about it either. 

Drinking is good craic!  That’s what many people will tell you.  So what does that mean?  Psychologically I mean if drinking is good craic does that mean sobriety isn’t?  It would certainly seem so.  There are people who would not even feel confident enough to hold a conversation if they hadn’t had a drink let alone do something like chat up potential mates.  Drinking gives people confidence and makes them better able to laugh and have a good time.  Now think about this seriously.  This means that they don’t feel that way naturally and that is scary, that they need substances in order just to pass as a normal human being.  All this ties back to the inability to express or understand our own emotions and the evidence for that comes simply from the fact that if something is a certain way then the opposite of it must be true.

What happens when we’re young is that we’re made to accept emotional versions of ourselves, we’re not taught to control emotion.  When a child cries we pat their heads and say “Awww”  but when they laugh we laugh along with them, so laughing is seen as favourable and crying as not but to go further the child then becomes accustomed to this behaviour and gets used to having other people there as emotional regulators.   Emotion is widely accepted as something that just happens and the way our family structures and close emotional ties have evolved is that when emotion happens someone will be there to give us a hug and tell us it’ll be alright.  This behaviour does not allow us to cope or deal with emotion it is nothing other than a metaphorical plaster and so when emotional matters occur we get used to having people around to do that type of thing for us.  Have you ever heard people say when they’re in emotionally challenging situations “I’d love a drink?!”  Same thing as with those people to give us a hug, emotional regulators, external sources with which we identify when we find things too difficult to cope with and this is quite simply evidence for the fact that we don’t have an alternative anymore

What is the alternative?  There only is one, go through the emotion, let the emotion happen.  Emotion is natural even the bad emotions are natural but if we get used to having plasters for our emotions it means we never get to face and come to terms with them and so we spend most of our lives looking for things to make us feel better when emotions happen.

Another misunderstanding about emotion is the way we interpret the emotions of each other.  People want to be happy but remember they see themselves differently to how they see others, so they are much quicker to ignore their own emotions while focusing on others.  Have you ever heard the way people who write celebrity columns talk about Victoria Beckham?  They never give the girl a break.  They constantly call her miserable but think about it she could ill and not feeling great but as far as they’re concerned she earns X amount of money so she should cheer up!  This is unrealistic and it just shows up how judgemental we are generally.  Similarly some years ago in a place I worked there was a girl who was very beautiful but who didn’t smile a whole lot and a guy kept commenting about it and he was saying it in such basic terms, “she’s good looking so she should be happy!”  Is happiness dependant upon looks or money?  This inability to empathise with the emotions of others is just another branch of our general struggle with all things emotional.

There are those who constantly go around pretending to happy.  These are the type of people who try to drag others up onto the dance floor at functions with cries of “Oh come on why so miserable!” and this type of thing is another way that people have learned as a kind of patch for actually coping with emotion, they focus on the emotions of others as a of way of showing up a glaringly obvious contrast between themselves and the other person at that exact moment.  These type of people make it their business to try and make others happy because deep down they’re not very happy themselves.  Similarly some people will constantly focus on whether or not others have a sense of humour as a means of making themselves appear more jovial. 

When I speak about these types of people I am talking about personality traits rather than trying to slate anyone.  All of the different ways in which people learn to regulate and express their emotions have happened as a result of a lifetime of ‘steps’.  They have learned to be the way they are due to upbringing and world exposure.  I am not trying to make anyone look bad here and indeed none of this is aimed at particular individuals and I am not writing clever little hidden digs in these passages all I am doing is looking at and seriously trying to understand my species and myself.  I don’t think I am anything special I have just learned about myself and I wish to pass this information on because I have been able to stay alive by understanding the processes by which I work and I hope that it may help others.

As I said earlier about the guy who was talking about being unable to bypass puberty, I think he’s right to a certain extent but I also believe that if people were taught about emotions when they’re younger that they would have better control during that very trying time.  Also and very importantly it is key how the people around us act during this time as to whether or not will react more or less, currently the teenage years are widely accepted as being just that and so people grow up expecting teenagers to act a certain way and indeed teenagers will subsequently excuse their own behaviour for these very same reasons.  There is no remit whatsoever for emotional teaching in schools, this is wrong.  Kids learn about emotion in a very haphazard way even the most important of emotional matters, sex education is a laughing matter for children and this all stems from the adult populations inability to fully comprehend the magnitude of proper emotional ties themselves.  When children get to an age when they’re asking about sex the parents are afraid to talk to them about it, not in all cases obviously, but I am speaking collectively for the most part because with regard to emotional matters there is a lot that can be generalised. 

The main problems that human beings face in the 21st Century are exactly the same as they have always been.  Most people are blind as to where our actual problems are coming from indeed exactly what they are.  If you ask people about the main stumbling blocks that we now face you will no doubt get a wide range of answers and for the most part many of them will at least be partially correct but there is something people have been doing for a very long time now and that is singular thinking.  I have come up with ideas surrounding singular thinking and have been expanding upon my knowledge of it over the last couple of years.  In basic terms singular thinking happens when people focus on a particular thing, an aspect if you will and they get stuck there and come to believe that that is the overriding problem.
I goggled “humans greatest problems” and on the first page I found a site from the University of Western Australia’s faculty of science.  I have included the link at he bottom of this article.

Here are the top ten things which they consider to be humankinds greatest problems:

Energy, Food, Poverty, Disease, Democracy, Water,
Environment, Terrorism and War, Education, Population.

Singular thinking is being used by these current thinkers to great æffect and once again I wish to reiterate that I am not slating anyone I am merely trying to point out that we’re not looking at the obvious things when we think in a singular fashion.   I don’t want to go into each of them in individually for that would merely be using the very same singular thinking processes which I am trying to explain.  Lets look at all of them.

Firstly what are they?  All of these things together?  What makes them similar?  They’re certainly issues, the obvious thing that I get when looking at these human issues is that they are all matters which can be regulated.  Human beings can control exactly how these matters will transpire so the issue then becomes how are we controlling them? 

Can Terrorism and War be controlled?  Yes they can, Terrorism and War are actually the same thing, the term ‘Terrorism’ is used to describe a particular type of combatant but they’re combatants none the less.  So what they have done is expand the meaning of War to take another branch of thinking into consideration.  It is this type of expanding which we are guilty of that is making simple matters appear much more complicated.  In fact making Terrorism part of this equation is merely used to more clearly define which side those speaking are taking in the ‘War’.  War is wrong, but they don’t want you to know that so they add a dimension to confuse you and in æffect they can make War appear right in certain circumstances.

Why am I going into War?  What does that have to do with emotions?  Well War and the other issues listed are indeed obstacles in the 21st Century but as I have said they can be boiled down and made to look simpler if they are thought about in a more common way.  As I have said we control all of these matters so the question once again is how are we controlling them?  Most of them are also things which humans need in order to survive, or things which we need to regulate in order to survive.  I am going to take a big jump down through the lowest common denominators here and hit you with the actualities of this shit.  Survival of the fittest!  It is still a game of survival of the fittest and these thinkers in this University are probably not even aware that they are in the middle of reinforcing this ancient aspect of humankinds inability to be at peace with itself.

If people could agree with one another they would be able to successfully regulate and master all of the above issues facing our species so there’s my lowest common denominator right there ‘a lack of parity’.  That’s it, an inability to agree with one another collectively makes all of these issues impossible to master.  So what does that mean?  It means that we need to start looking at why we don’t agree. 

Here’s where the difficulty begins.  Humans are currently fragmented into smaller groups and tribes known as Countries, Religions, Nation States, Races etc etc.  So depending on who you ask you’ll find a different reason for an inability to agree eg “They started it!”  “We were here first!” blah blah balh!

So I thought this was about emotion?  Why the big story?  Everything is linked to emotion because people are dependant upon emotion and when large groups of people respond in a Warlike way it is because enough of them feel strongly enough about something for such action to be taken, it is more or less ‘a collective emotional response’.  If you take away peoples means for survival they get emotional! Survival of the fittest!  Or more commonly if people THINK you might threaten them in way they’ll get emotional, PARANOIA!

People are stubborn so when they fail to agree on matters they tend to get entrenched, because quite simply they are tribal in their nature and they’re looking out for the interests of their own tribe often to the detriment of others.  It is almost as if we just have a natural tendency to not agree, its seems to be a kind of default with us and it is all linked directly back to emotions and instincts but no one mentions this, no one says hang on maybe we should be looking at our instincts and emotions which are causing the disagreement rather than focusing on the matters that we can’t agree on because it seems to me that our inability to agree is stopping us from controlling the things we need to regulate in order to reach stability.  THIS SHIT IS SIMPLE! SERIOUSLY!

Food and water on the list, why are food and water considered to be problems?  Well not everyone has enough food and water?  Why?  Why don’t they have enough food?  Because they’re poor?  They don’t have enough food because some of the rest of us have got too much.   Why can we not feed them?  We can’t feed them because we have tribal political systems in place which stop us from allowing others to have a chance to be a stronger tribe than us.  It’s kind of like pre-emptive warfare, I mean if you’re looking out for own tribe why would let others have a chance to get the better of you.  Think about this stuff it’s really very true and it all comes form our reliance on emotions.

No one cares to consider emotions and instincts when looking at human matters because it seems we are just so lost in the issues themselves that we honestly don’t envisage that the major problems we face are actually inside of us and not in the world.  Remember that constant thinking that we need something when emotions happen that we learn in early childhood?  That seems to be similarly linked to this inability to actually stop and take a good look inside of ourselves for when anything happens, and I mean ANYTHING, people constantly look outward to try and find answers but the answers my friends are much closer than we think, they’re inside us, they’re inside all of us!

Peace and love. 

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