Emotions - Part 3 - First and Repeated Encounters
This article continues our discussion about emotions. In the first article, we discussed the often contrary nature of emotional reactions, the basic emotions of fear and greed, and the cooperative emotions that form the basis of winning the support of others. In the second article, we discussed the biological tendency for negative emotions to control us, even when that is not in our best interest. In this article, we look at how our emotions learn from past experiences. This learning can either serve us well or serve us poorly depending on how well we understand how our emotions work.
Strategic emotion is the gut feeling we get about situations and relationships that are too complex to analyze logically. I do not mean our “feelings” in the sense of our desire for gratification. Nor do I mean the “feelings” that are hurt when others slight us. Nor are these emotions “compassion” in the abstract sense of caring about all of humanity or all of nature. We should not confuse our valuable gut instincts with our insecurities or belief systems. Emotional instincts are never at war with reason. They are the guideposts in the dark places where reason cannot see.
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