Feeling and Emotion

There are two distinct kinds of affective experience in the body; emotion, a crude, digital, monotone note, generated by the restless ego, roughly as varied as forty different car-horns, and feeling, a kaleidoscopic, hue-subtle song, emerging from conscious experience of the still context, roughly as varied as the entire history—past and future—of world music.

Emotion always feels more or less the same; an anxious, heavy, hollow or restricted wanting or not-wanting sensation, sucking in the pit of the stomach, brittling across the chest, tightening the neck or weighing down the skull.

The mind gives this experience various names, depending on the kind of heaviness, hollowness or unease, and on the particular wanted or not-wanted object or situation that the emotion is directed towards. These names include guilt, boredom, depression, doubt, anxiety, impatience, frustration, anger, discontent, despair, loneliness, sadness, fear, excitement and exultation; each of which is focused on a different object (person, prize or loss), but all of which describe more or less intense versions of exactly the same inner experience.

It is, however, impossible for ego to admit that all emotions are the same; partly because this would unmask their common cause—ego itself—which is why the self relentlessly focuses on external causes, reacting violently to any suggestion that a) ‘up’ emotions (such as excitement) are basically the [oppo]same as ‘down’ emotions b) there is a state of being in which absence of ups and downs is not registered as ‘boring’, ‘blissful’ or ‘cold’ or c) I am being emotional, right now.

The main reason that ego cannot understand the cause of emotion however, or that emotion is radically different to feeling, is that ego is emotion. It can no more perceive itself than an eye can see itself, which means that, although the emotional ego reflects off and generates crude surface thought, it is immune to the efforts of mind to feel better, or to any kind of reason or apt intelligence. All it knows how to do is expand—by feeling more emotion, up or down—and to defend itself—by savagely attacking any threat.

Emotion is the cause of all addiction, all insanity, all violence, all unhappiness and all despair, yet is universally defended, excused or ignored. Insanity is redefined as a mental ‘illness’ caused by genes or other biomedical-religious entities (glossing context, society, epigenetics, etc), addiction likewise, unhappiness is always ‘their fault’, moods are ‘me’…  and on and on; anything but see emotion as it actually is, which is to say, anything but being that which can see it.

Can 1) you 2) feel 3) emotion? in your body? Right now? The twitchy restlessness? The irritability? The sucking slough? The hollow unlife? If you can feel it, then there is 1) you (the ‘you-flavoured’ witnessing consciousness) blending into 2) the feeling (the conscious multi-hued ‘apperceptive’ inner-sense and context-connected sensation of the body) which surrounds 3) the emotion (the hardness, stiffness, coldness, bleakness and tightness in your belly, chest, neck, jaw or what-have-you). You are now intelligent, and will remain so until you leave this experience and wander off again into thinking, wanting and not-wanting.

Stay in the garden.

(adapted from The Apocalypedia. See also A Very, Very Brief History of Philosophy).