Are we rational or emotional beings? Both — but we are predominantly emotional beings. So, how do these mental “compartments” function? How do we operate with our two rational systems? Strangely, both of our two rational systems have similar roles. Both provide us with information about what is happening in our world.
The Role of Emotion — One of Our Two Rational Systems
Emotions jump into action first. They always provide us with an initial emotional response (a feeling) to what we see or hear or sense with any of our physical senses.
We see a flower or a sunset and our emotions respond with an evaluation of its color, form, brightness, beauty or appeal. “Oh look!” we exclaim. A large wild animal suddenly appears and our emotions spring into action with the response of fear, or with an accompanying urge to search for escape routes or the best safe actions to take. It could even be a sense of awe at the animal’s magnificence.
That information provides us with our first understanding of what we are sensing. So emotions evaluate our world for us. But we are left to either confirm the correctness of their evaluation or change it. If we need further rational evaluation of what we are sensing, we then engage our analytical system and start thinking about it.
Our Rational Faculties Refine Our Emotional Evaluations
So, emotions serve us, but we often refine the initial emotions as we bring our rational faculties into play. Reason supplies us with our second means of understanding and evaluating our world.
Suppose someone is angry with us and after our initial emotional reaction (which could be intense or not), we think of what is the best action to take. Reason further evaluates the situation and, together with emotion, provides insight and meaning to our world.
Emotion is fast. Reason takes time. But both evaluate what is happening in our world by filling out our knowledge and understanding to enable us to make intelligent decisions. Both have a goal to reach and both act in our interests.
Next: How to Make the Best Use of These Systems
Let’s think through our beneficial use of both emotion and reason, how we can best make use of them, and what they offer us. See you again soon.
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URGENT! IT’S TIME TO EVALUATE AND RESPOND
Technology has advanced faster than our understanding of how much or in what way it may help or hurt our physical and mental human systems. Though conclusions are tentative at the moment, they are not without some indication of what the effects may be on our minds and brains.
Wonder and Benefits of Technology
Although its benefits have been many (such as enabling meetings to take place over the internet, improving the speed and scope of communications, and its remarkable processing of large amounts of data, etc.) and have made us marvel at its abilities, technology is not without its warnings. The race to keep expanding its reaches into all our human connections (and at times not so apparent needs) has formed new industries and stretched the imagination. However, the research into its effects on our bodies, brains, and minds has not kept pace.
What of the “Other” Effects?
The influence of social media has revolutionized society. With its emphasis on the individual, a single person is given far-reaching power (with both good and not-so-good results) that has even led to the need on the part of social media providers to censor free speech in favor of their own ideological and personal values. Is that an advance for society? And are values and moral standards anywhere to be found as a concern in the advance of technology? What happens to a society that has abandoned the need for moral standards? History has spoken on that issue!
The need for rational arguments has been replaced with unreasoned and unbalanced arguments. Facts no longer hold importance over opinions. The importance of facts and truth was once a proud measure of a society’s health. Could it be that instead of bettering communication, it can be said that communication has degraded to a lower level of thoughtfulness? Therefore we must ask, while we can’t avoid utilizing technology, should we embrace it thoughtlessly? Please don’t.
What Is the Effect on the Body, Mind, and Our Society?
Is it a factor that affects our children in body, mind, and exaggerated self-aggrandizement that is beyond their ability to handle wisely? And is the demoting of wisdom a concern? Is the unplanned, amoral invasion of all areas of life creating a new set of values? That seems obvious. How will the availability of the internet’s influence on all and anything, whether damaging or not, affect young minds? When affected in formative years, it is very hard to undo the effects in adulthood. I have seen first hand the problems that result.
Final question: How are we individually going to respond to this “warfare” on social standards and the amoral acceptance of anything that, in particular, parents and children are subjected to?