Emotional Intelligence

THE Relationship Blog

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“Logic ridicules love, and love smiles knowingly at the whole foolishness of logic.” – Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Rajneesh was a smart guy but he was wrong on this one. Logic does not ridicule love any more than your mouth makes fun of your butt. Where ever one is, the other is bound to follow. So says Bhagwan Shree CoupleDumb.

Paul says: I would be a horrible Trekkie if I wrote about emotions without mentioning Mr. Spock. If you do not know who Mr. Spock is, I tell you to run, do not walk, to your nearest video store. Purchase at least one season of the original Star Trek series, the one with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Deforest Kelley. I cannot imagine a world where people do not know Star Trek. For you uninitiated, Mr. Spock is the half-Human/half-Vulcan first officer of the Enterprise. His claim to fame is that he is holding his emotional human side at bay and maintaining his logical Vulcan heritage.

Mr. Spock was the embodiment of the good 1960’s belief system that emotions are irrational and are the antonym for logic. As much as I want to be a Vulcan because nothing is cooler than Vulcan mind melds or knocking a person out by pinching them on the neck, the whole Vulcan mentality on emotions is wrong. According to our Earth scientists, feelings are part of the cognition process, not its antithesis.

Taking this from a very behaviorist framework, we react to stimuli be first feeling then reasoning. It is all part of the same continuum of cognition. Let’s take an example that every man can understand. My four year old punches me in the sack. First, I have the physiological reaction. I experience pain and double over. These are autonomic reactions that do not use the higher functioning part of my brain.

At some point after my dry heaving stops, my higher functioning brain kicks in I start to “think” about what happened and its ramifications. We start by feeling it. I feel sad that my son roshamboed me or I feel fear that it may happen again. According to researchers in linguistics, emotions always start in the past and terminate in the present. The language used for feelings are almost always in the past tense and, according to neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, starts with a previously wired image. These feelings are the first part of the overall thought process.

From the emotion of fear for my gonads, I move to the future tense cognitive part that Mr. Spock would call logic. This is the part that uses words like should and could. It is here that I make plans to save my balls. The thing is that logic doesn’t function properly without emotions.

So Mr. Spock is kind of full of shit. The logical thing would not be to ignore and repress our emotions. The most rational thing to do with emotions would be to feel them, examine them to their fullest, and take appropriate actions in response to those well-studied feelings.  Since emotions are part of our decision making process, a faulty analysis of our feelings will ultimately lead to a faulty resolution to our problems.

Now that is some logic even Mr. Spock would be excited about.

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