Let’s talk emotions and reason.
I’ll be straight up – we’re living in the age of emotionalism and appeals to those primal feelings. Everything now is based on reactions, limbic overload and ultra-aggressive ORKS ORKS ORKS bashing and smashing, except the Orkz of Warhammer are awesome, and the humans who try to emulate their absolute insanity are.. insane.
There’s very little thought going into a lot of what people get up to nowadays – not all of course; we have a lot of technical innovation, progress and creation going on, always – and it’s largely because those people are obedient to their reasoning process while taming their inner limbic luddite brain.
The limbic system in the brain is basically where all emotions come from and also where behaviors are “reinforced” or conditioned (you may correct me if I’m a bit off on these things, I am not an expert on the brain). It’s also one of the oldest parts of the human brain and is incredibly powerful when it comes to eliciting an emotional response.
Having a limbic system is important and not to be discarded – you use it for survival. If a lion or salesman appears at your door, your immediate flight or fight is in response to it. You can knock the fucker out with your bamboo lightsaber that you have by the door, or you can run up the stairs screaming for dear life.
It’s also used to elicit things like worry, happiness, joy, etc. The reason you feel things is because of that part of your brain.
The problem however is that people place emotions over their reasoning ability first. They treat the immediate response to things as the thing to follow and then use their reasoning to justify it after the fact. The frontal lobe of the brain is what controls all the reasoning ability – and it’s linked with the limbic system. Limbic Larry sends an instant message over to Frontal Fred that you should be worried about the impending doom that the rusted penny you found on the ground late at night on your walk home signified.
What does it mean? Is it old age? Are you going to die? What if it’s a sign of the times? Talk to me, Fred. Fuck you for avoiding this, worry MORE *injects the juice*.
That’s your frontal lobe and limbic system in communication – the limbic system sends the immediate reaction, and the lobe starts processing it. The big mistake that’s made is people take the emotional response as the correct response, and don’t analyze the facts that may disprove it.
This doesn’t mean your limbic system is “faulty”, by the way (though there are probably people with significant emotional control issues due to faults or whatever). It’s working as intended and sending signals of potential danger or what have you.
The real issue is that people don’t ask “What, exactly, ought I be worried about?” and “Calm for a sec, let’s figure out the facts first”. Essentially, when those emotional responses are sent up to the frontal cortex, you shouldn’t be rationalizing the emotion – you should be analyzing why it came up and whether the reaction aligns with the reality of the situation.
Let’s take for example excessive worry over something in the future. Economic collapse, job loss, family death – any of those. They’re all pretty significant things, but they don’t affect you in anyway until they actually happen. Does this mean you shouldn’t worry about them coming up? No, everyone ought to have concern over their future – but there’s a difference between healthy concern and psychotic twitter posting and conspiracy rabbit hole limbic leaps.
Can you lose your job? Yes, there’s always a risk of loss – this is inevitable in life. However, you need to analyze your worries about it and normalize them. Have I lost my job yet? Do I need to be on high alert now, if so why? Is my current situation actually high risk, why or why not? Am I asking questions that justify my emotions, or am I asking questions that challenge them?
Those kinds of question analyze the situation, they don’t justify your emotions – that’s rationalism. To be further distanced from it, write a list of facts about what the outside situation is like for you now, as an example:
- My boss has shown no signs of needing to cut jobs.
- My performance has been excellent.
- There’s no evidence of the company being in the red.
After that, write a separate list of your worries:
- I’m worried about job losses after seeing some news about people losing their jobs in notnearmyhouse city, other country.
- I read a twitter article that told me there are 10 signs that life is going to hell.
- I’m worried about my financial health and savings.
The difference is the former list is pretty cold and straight – analytical. The latter is more exaggerated and acknowledging your immediate concerns.
After that, write a list that counters your worries, counterpoints:
- That’s a different country and completely different economic situation, so it seems kind of retarded I’m worrying about that. No signs of it in my area.
- The article seems like clickbait and the 10 reasons seemed to spell the end of the world, and when I think about it, none of it is true or has come true.
- My finances are OK, but maybe they can be better.
From there, you’ve countered the worries, but maybe you find a particular point that needs some attention i.e. finances. You then write goals to address any worries and get back on track:
- I don’t give a shit about that other country – no need to worry about that.
- Article is stupid, waste of time.
- Real thing is finances. If I want to mitigate my risk, I can probably save about 30% of my income per month, and set up an emergency savings account in the event something goes wrong.
And bam, you’re obedient to reason with new goals.
Of course, a lot of this is easier said than done, and much of the time we have to deconstruct constantly over the course of months to train the limbic system and frontal lobe to be more in line with healthier choices made in the future.
That said, doing these kinds of journals (basically CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, not Cock and Ball Torture) is worth it – it keeps you accountable to yourself, keeps your emotions obedient to your analytical and reasoning side, and keeps you from becoming a spastic neanderthal that wants to punch walls the moment you hear the whisper of bad news from some country you’re not even living in.
The age of emotionalism is upon us – be reasonable in it. It’s the future of wealth.