Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Poise vs. Repression

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

The excellent Captain Awkward, in reply to someone dumped when she thought an engagement might be in the offing, gives her advice on recovering and on how to maintain poise in the meantime. This comes with the following memorable passage on dealing with what I think of as "emotional lag":

golden_retriever.jpg
Image courtesy of Pixabay.
It's okay to still be in love. Love is -- as this hideous wedding-cake topper excruciatingly reminds us -- patient, it is kind, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. So there you are, all shaggy and embarrassing bounding toward your person wagging your tail and doing that adorable thing you do where you pretend that you're not going to hand over the ball you're carrying in your mouth and your person doesn't even want your stupid ball and then the leash of reality yanks you back. That part of you is the purest and best and truest part of you, and you can't really turn it off. It's just going to love for a while.

I say this because it's really fucking frustrating to try to talk yourself out of having a feeling or beat yourself up for having a feeling at the same time you're having the feeling. So just have the feeling. Just be the Golden Retriever of Love. You're not stupid for feeling it, you're not a bad person, you didn't do anything wrong. You just feel what you feel, and you'll feel until one day you stop, and you can't decide when that is, so don't even try. [bold in original]
This is an excellent illustration of the nature of emotions, as identified by Ayn Rand:
Your subconscious is like a computer -- more complex a computer than men can build -- and its main function is the integration of your ideas. Who programs it? Your conscious mind. If you default, if you don't reach any firm convictions, your subconscious is programmed by chance -- and you deliver yourself into the power of ideas you do not know you have accepted. But one way or the other, your computer gives you print-outs, daily and hourly, in the form of emotions -- which are lightning-like estimates of the things around you, calculated according to your values. [bold added]
In abstract terms, the letter-writer, who was mistaken about the man she loved, valued him highly and had woven him into her life and hopes. This happened over time, and correcting the mistake will also take time. The resulting emotions will take time to catch up with the intellect, simply by the nature of how they work: Lots of subconscious associations are still there to be altered or supplanted by new ones.

I note this not as some attempt to improve on Captain Awkward's advice to her writer. She said exactly the right thing, and in just the right way. Rather, I go to the level of the abstract because it can help show the advice to be more generally applicable. False hopes of marriage are hardly the only way to meet visceral, disorienting levels of emotional pain, and it can be comforting to know this. Why? Because the mechanism of recovery will be the same. One can do similar types of things to aid that recovery. And one can know that despite an unpredictable time course, there can be certainty of a recovery.

-- CAV

Link to Original

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×