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LoBagola

Emotions and symbols

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I'd like to explore the link between emotion and intelligence. What I mean by intelligence is the ability to retain, integrate and recall information when required. The more information that is extracted from the background data of noise the higher the intelligence.

 

When I think about certain words, for example: vitriolic, I’ll mostly just recall the definition and have a few far-removed examples of sentences of its use. I don’t feel anything thinking about it. Much the same can be said for other words. So then when I would sit with a girlfriend and say to her “yeah, well if we ever decide that we’re sick of each other’s adventures then we’re on different paths and we can just separate” and she reacts with horror – I would be confused. To me that sentence is simple reasoning. But wait… there’s so much in there that I’m omitting and ignoring it’s scary. I’m pretty sure when *some* particular kinds of people (definitely not all!) criticize me for being “black and white” or “conceptualizing” too much. What they’re talking about is my subconscious proclivity towards the construction of rationalistic castles.

 

Now here’s what I notice with these people (e.g. the aforementioned horrified girlfriend). Their emotional astuteness is combined with ability to paint descriptively with words and a knack for choosing them felicitously.  So while I can spend a few minutes hemming and hawing, trying to figure out how best to express what it is I want or am thinking, someone else might just talk for 3 minutes straight and it all flows so well and makes sense. So it got me thinking…

 

When you think of words do you feel anything? What do you think about when I say “anger”? What do you feel? I just think "arghhh" or literally just the words "when someone pisses me off", and don't feel much at all.

 

Do you think the ability to recall concepts, retain words and speak with an elegant fluidity is inversely correlated with emotionally repressive tendencies?

 

How about the impact on learning? I know when I study maths for example I will very quickly forget abstract theories or concepts unless I in some way connect them to me through metaphor. And if I can make it emotionally significant that’s even better (although unfortunately difficult and unlikely).

Edited by LoBagola

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Individual words usually don't have much of an emotional impact on me.

 

When they do, it usually because of a broader context.

 

This one struck me as a little humorous this week.

By itself, it's not even really a word. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

 

It started as an earworm. Over and over the tune along with just this one phrase kept hovering in the background.

 

Now it's one thing to get a earworm from the last song you heard, or find yourself absently musing over a particular tune, but this one was different.

 

I first noticed it last week, I think on Wednesday and Thursday. I keyed in again on it Saturday. Hmmm. After watching 27 Years A Slave, it went away, but this is observed in retrospect.

On Sunday, I found myself with it once again. What's going on here?

 

It finally connected on Sunday. I had been working on the sonnet I just posted this evening. In the evenings during the week, and during portions of the day on the weekend.

A sonnet consists of 14 lines with various rhyming patterns, and each line, in this case, being of 14 syllables.

 

In seeking the rhyming terms, creating verses that convey the main thoughts - reading and re-reading them while counting the beats with my fingers until the quantity and rhythm met, I applied this method to the little ditty. Low and behold - I started to chuckle. The meter of the ditty just happened to correlate with the more repetitive aspect of what I had been working on. Causal? Not enough samplings for me to derive that. Humorous - none the less.

 

Emotions are a response. In common vernacular, we still call them 'an emotional response'. A response to what? This, Miss Rand orchestrates, not so much in one concise location, but interspersed throughout her works.

 

One key tenant is from The Romantic Manifesto, Chapter 2, pg. 26:

To the extent to which a man is mentally active, i.e., motivated by the desire to know, to understand, his mind works as the programmer of his emotional computer—and his sense of life develops into a bright counterpart of a rational philosophy. To the extent to which a man evades, the programming of his emotional computer is done by chance influences; by random impressions, associations, imitations, by undigested snatches of environmental bromides, by cultural osmosis: If evasion or lethargy is a man's predominant method of mental functioning, the result is a sense of life dominated by fear—a soul like a shapeless piece of clay stamped by footprints going in all directions.

 

Another, in The Virtue of Selfishness, The Objectivist Ethics, pg. 30:

Man is born with an emotional mechanism, just as he is born with a cognitive mechanism; but, at birth, both are "tabula rasa." It is man's cognitive faculty, his mind, that determines the content of both. Man's emotional mechanism is like an electronic computer, which his mind has to pro-gram—and the programming consists of the values his mind chooses.

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"I'd like to explore the link between emotion and intelligence. What I mean by intelligence is the ability to retain, integrate and recall information when required."

 

All thought and memory engages the emotional systems of the brain (generically know as the limbic system).  We are constantly evaluating "Is this good for me?"  "Is this bad for me?".   "Did I like this restaurant?"  "Did that thorn prick cause my finger to swell and cause pain?"  "Did this plant make me sick?"  "Is a mama bear with cubs going to attack me if I get to close?"

 

Good and Bad is a form of measurement every bit as real as length, width, height, weight, etc. 

 

Knowledge that is "retained, integrated and recalled" has an emotional component.  Unless you are a psychopath or suffer from brain damage.
 

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Aristotle and Hume, among others, wrote that emotive behavior is to a great extent learned. In other words, our society teaches us love, fear, and anger along with language. So from this pov alone, it's rather obvious that the ability to write poetry employs both systems.

 

Of course, the emotive physical capacity is as much a part of us as our learning areas, the cerebral cortex.

To this extent, basic neurosci amply demonstrates the huge number of connections between the two systems, even to the extent that many in the field choose to see one discreetly 'real' system.

 

BH

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But how could other people 'teach' you love, if emotions aren't part of what it means to be human, if they(emotions) aren't already 'there' to sense or experience, how do other people 'put it in you '?

 

Isn't the capacity to experience emotion just as much part of being human as is the capacity for sight? Isn't the integrated whole of these and other 'systems' the discrete 'self'? Describing them as systems separate from the whole , doesn't make it so.

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We are born with a capacity to love; the object of love is given by socially acquired values. That's why Soctates defined love as pena kai pora: need and means of acquisition. 

 

Yes, in a sense what we choose to see is as important as what we choose to love. Both, together, make for selfhood, or the univocality of being, per Duns Scotus.

 

The crisis point of achieving a state of dissatisfaction of either love or vision was called 'delirium' by Kantin The 3rd Critique.

 

Deleuze, my philosophical object of affection, called it 'Bodies without organs'--becoming dis-organized from within, so to speak...

 

BH

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I'd like to explore the link between emotion and intelligence. . .

Do you think the ability to recall concepts, retain words and speak with an elegant fluidity is inversely correlated with emotionally repressive tendencies?

Well in retaining, recalling and using words, what you seem to be trying to refer to is conceptualization.  Everything you've mentioned boils down to your mind's capacity to use ideas (in all of the various ways they can be used).

Words themselves don't make me feel much of anything.  If you say "anger" I'll think of its referent, but not much else.  However, I feel very strongly about all sorts of ideas, themselves.  And if I think about those ideas for long enough it will, sooner or later, begin to affect my psyche.

 

Incidentally, I've been trying to avoid politics in my own thought processes as much as possible for that very reason; if I think about collectivism long enough and often enough, I make myself rather cranky.

 

How about the impact on learning?

There's an enormous connection between how you feel about a concept, and how well you can learn about and retain it.  Absolutely.

 

Do you remember the dates of the French and Indian war, or what transitive verbs are?

How about your first romance?

---

 

So all in all there's definitely a causal relation at work, there.  I don't think it's inverse, though; I think that emotional force and cognitive capacities (for any given subject) directly correlate.

That would be why it's easier for you and I to remember things if we can find something meaningful about them.

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We are born with a capacity to love; the object of love is given by socially acquired values.

Wow.

If you can't see what's so horrifically wrong with that, try telling the object of your affection that you only like them because society told you to.  Seriously.

 

Wow.  Just wow.

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Wow.

If you can't see what's so horrifically wrong with that, try telling the object of your affection that you only like them because society told you to.  Seriously.

 

Wow.  Just wow.

Wow. if you can't see that there's a difference between expressing feelings for your particular object of affection and what, in the abstract, feelings represent and their origin, then you're a hopeless solipsist.

 

In other words, consenting adults whose minds mature beyond that of the average 13 year old gurl, do occasionally discuss the social and psychological basis of love. And who knows? maybe even the Socratic pena kai pora as cited! Wow, indeed!

 

That you obviously haven't speaks volumes; perhaps it's a lack of spinal column?

 

BH

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In other words, consenting adults whose minds mature beyond that of the average 13 year old gurl, do occasionally discuss the social and psychological basis of love.

Look at my profile picture.  I love my wife, not because "society" or "culture" or my family or friends or anyone else in the world thinks I should; I love her because, of all of the women I have ever met before, she is the only one capable of challenging me on an intellectual level.  I love her because of my own values; selfishly.

Now, speaking of thirteen year old girls, which of us mates according to popular vote?

 

That you obviously haven't speaks volumes; perhaps it's a lack of spinal column?

I'm glad you caught that.  Good job!  :thumbsup:   You've put together a rather crushing string of words!

Give yourself a hug.

---

 

Is there anything else Plato, Socrates or Immanuel Kant have to say about my sex or my spine?  Come on; I'm having an off day and simply dying to know what all of your people thought. . .

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LoBagola

 

 

Words in and of themselves do not elicit emotions generally primarily because a contextless word is nearly meaningless.  "Anger" could mean your anger towards abuse of power or a child's anger towards a square peg not fitting in a round hole.  Without the context you do not and cannot know whether to fume or to laugh.

 

Statements however and conceptualization are not merely word play or games of the mind they are in reference to reality.  Being a fully integrated and alive person means that your concepts and your thinking are not divorced from reality, they are connected to it, and more importantly to your own personal life. 

 

Concretization is an important part of chewing on any concept or idea or chain of thinking.  If you get in the exercise of making it real (as to opposed to disconnected by way of some false dichotomy) your emotions and your intelligence will be more in synch and integrated.

 

There is no abstract thought "If I get in a terrible accident and lose both arms" as apart from the concrete realization from b4lls to bone of what it would be like and how you would feel to experience that accident and also live the rest of your life.  The mere "fact" of losing the arms is necessarily tied by causation to how it would affect you and to "think" about the fact while ignoring causal consequences, the real personal ones, is some kind of failure of integration and concretization.

 

So if you have the inclination, try to indulge in fully concretizing ideas when you can. 

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