Emotional “Static”

Emotional Static

When emotions overwhelm us, we can’t think straight. The presence of feelings fog the mind like emotional static and  push our thoughts around in our heads. NTs know this all too well and this is why they downplay emotions in favor of reason.  Is this wise? Is it emotional intelligence? Or is it a form of emotional avoidance to downplay emotions in favor of reason? When we attempt to suppress our emotions, do we think more clearly? Different viewpoints on this issue are a major reason for conflict between the NF and the NT in particular.  And it is so to a lesser degree between the Fs and the Ts of all temperaments. Let’s examine the issue of emotional “static” on the mind’s rational communication lines and how reason and emotion are meant to compliment each other.

Emotion In Memory

Our memory is located in the emotional center of the brain, not in the area that controls reasoning. If there is too much emotional static on the communication lines, the analytical processes of the brain that want the memory to feed them the facts without distortion don’t receive what they perceive as clear messages. Are messages passed from the memory to the executive functions of the brain without some kind of emotional coloring? No. Our perception of the facts is always colored by some kind of emotion. Certainly, we know that our memories are stashed away complete with the emotions and all the sensory data that was relevant at the time.

All Facts Are Colored by Some Emotion

The T temperaments perceive that analysis and reason depend upon an  “accurate” (read “unemotional”) interpretation of the facts. But since all facts have some emotional coloring, where do we draw the line between too much emotional interpretation and an acceptable emotional coloring of the facts? Both Ts and Fs have their own answers to this question. For the T, we must not confuse the communication by any emotion.  But for the F, emotions are a necessary coloring of the facts in order to represent the facts accurately. Both perceive and interpret facts and emotions differently.  And one is not more correct than the other. However, it does make for disagreements.

Emotional Static Differs with the Individual

Also consider that for one person, strong emotions can saturate the facts stored in our memory. But a memory of the same event for another person may have little emotional significance. Is it good for us to be designed this way? Yes!

If everyone saw the world and remembered it in the same emotional colors, it would be a dull world and provide little reason for discussion and interpretation. The infinite ways we look at the same event inspire creative thinking. So, in the world of memory we should view our different emotional content and colors as an ingenious design to propel the imagination and reason on the path to creativity. We want the insights of an infinite variety of impressions, and emotion provides this.

Using Both Brains Sorts Out the Static

Emotions can find their way quickly through a maze of seemingly conflicting facts and assess the big picture. Reason, on the other hand, is slow to process the same data. But once our emotional insights or judgments give direction, our reason can wade through the details, aided by a sense of where they lead.

Reason Needs Emotion

Dr. Antonio Damasio, a neurologist from the University of Iowa, has arrived at the conclusion from his studies that both brains, the emotional and the rational, are equally active in all our decisions. Without emotion and its interpretations about life, reason alone can be led up the path of what seems to make sense (the logical route) without all the relevant facts.  So emotion is not just “emotional static”.

Emotion Needs Reason

Remember, emotion needs reason as well to steady its surges and calm its off-course decisions. The first impressions of our emotional judgments can miss some details and reason. Even given that emotions are logically perfect, they can still err for want of all the facts or a misinterpretation of the facts. Both emotion and reason can be wrong.  But emotion knows that it must subject its fast judgments to a more careful analysis.

A Balanced Perception of the Facts

Emotional intelligence is better achieved when the Fs understand their need of reason’s analysis and the Ts understand their need of emotional insights. Just as two eyes add a dimension to sight that one eye cannot provide (depth perception), so both brains complete our perception of the facts and the meaning of life to us. Together, they position us in our relationships and guide our lives.

We would all like to know just how our emotions and rational thoughts partner in the dance of decision-making and what their moves are. However, we still have a lot to learn about the interaction of the executive functions of the brain and the limbic system, especially the “hot” amygdala and its interface and contiguity with reason.

Emotion and Reason Are Indispensable Partners

We should not experience emotions as fighting our rational thoughts or vice versa.  Rather, as being indispensable partners. So, let’s add to our understanding of the relationship of emotion and reason this insight: we find mental health and agility of mind only in the subtle impact each has on the other.

Understanding of Self and Others Removes Emotional Static that Causes Conflict

It is not easy to achieve the balance of reason and emotion in a family of Ts and Fs. Respect for how we process decisions differently is what leads to family harmony and understanding. Many families whose members know only their own way of mental processing encounter continuous conflict. Ts hold tenaciously to the god of reason.  And Fs find their allegiance to the goddess of emotion hard to break. Neither should have to forsake their thoughts or feelings. Both should learn a healthy respect for the other’s way of seeing things. The rational and emotional brains must align, motivated by understanding and respect.

The Secret to Satisfactory Solutions

Remember, all decisions are motivated by some emotion.  And reason should equally inform them. Bringing both emotion and reason to the table of decision is not necessarily going to solve the issue, however. The secret to satisfactory solutions is to find a mutual emotion that will guide both Ts and Fs to a common goal. Emotions must be satisfied if agreement is to lead to mutually acceptable action.



Intelligently Emotional Book CoverMy hope is that this book will lead you, as its content has led many others, to be intelligently emotional. If it helps you to develop the intelligent use of your emotions and a rewarding lifestyle, my labor will not have been in vain.  You can access it HERE.  If you are subscribed to our weekly updates, our next issue will provide a link to purchase it with a 15% discount and free shipping.





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