- Type: NeFi
- Development: ll--
- Attitude: Seelie
I wouldn’t say emotions distinguish living things from non-living, as they’re not in lower/simpler life forms, or plant life for that matter. 🙂
But as to the pertinent question of what emotions are, it seems plain to me that emotions are a form of energy. Kinda like wind in the sails of a boat. They help to “push” or move us in certain ways. A dry/emotionless will is a powerless will. It’s nearly impossible to mechanically move yourself to do something just by the command of a stoic mind without being moved by an emotion or deeper feeling of some kind. Not impossible, just really, really difficult. So I see emotions as a kind of natural aid/’grace’ to our motivational force.
They make many actions and decisions possible or render them easy. They also make certain things very difficult. Psychopathy is largely a defect of emotions. Not that psychopaths have none but that they lack some and in the area they lack, they exhibit great difficulty behaving in certain ways considered typical. That’s how weak we are when our wills are left to their own devices without the pushes or pullings of emotion, be they experienced as pleasant or unpleasant. Emotion motivates.
We also make decisions with emotions then rationalize them with logic and tell ourselves we made the decision with our logic. We hardly ever do, though.
Emotions are also signals. They can be immediately detected. By us but also by other members of our species. They signal the meaning of certain social situations to us but also internal states. In me, they make believing in contradictory things literally painful and necessitate some kind of unravelling/detangling process, to make things align again so I can feel interiorly free/relaxed. They also encode the meaning of things so that sometimes they give you info before your mind catches up. A lot of ‘intuition’ is communicated through an emotional resonance and dissonance that means something.
Lastly, there are weather-like emotions that shift from moment to moment and then there’s feeling. They are not the same thing. These weather-like emotions are irrational but feeling is very rational. It’s a stable structure.