Sonntag, 18. März 2018
The Subtlety of Emotions, Aaron Ben-Ze'ev, 2001:
"One of the typical characteristics of emotions is their relative great intensity. Emotions are intense reactions. In emotions the mental system has not yet adapted to the given change, and owing to its significance the change requires the mobilization of many resources. No wonder that emotions are associated with urgency and heat. One basic evolutionary function of emotions is indeed that of immediate mobilization. This function enables us to regulate the timing and locus of investment in the sense of allocating resources away from situations where they would be wasted, and toward those where investment will yield a significant payoff.
Low intensity of the feeling dimension, as well as of other mental components, usually expresses neutral or indifferent states of the mental system. Emotions are the opposite of such states. Accordingly, it is preferable to consider low-intensity states as nonemotional or nontypical. Although it is impossible to delineate the precise borderlines of emotional intensity, we can say that typical emotions have such an intensity which influences our normal functioning but not in a way that disables us completely—as is the case in affective disorders.
In the emotional domain there is no such thing as a minor concern; if the concern is minor, it is not emotional. A typical characteristic of emotions is their magnifying nature: everything looms larger when we are emotional. The fact that our colleague earns 2 percent more than we do is not a minor issue in the eyes of envious people: it is perceived to reflect the undeserved inferior position in which we are now situated. Similarly, the slightly smaller size of a woman's breast is not considered a minor imperfection by the many women who undergo breast implants. Every emotional concern is perceived to be a profound one.
The above considerations may explain why it is easy to evoke emotions although they express our most profound values. We do not need a profound argument to generate emotions; on the contrary, what seem to be very superficial matters easily induce emotional reactions. An external observer may evaluate such matters to be superficial, but for the person experiencing the emotions, these matters are perceived to be very profound, hence eliciting an intense emotional reaction. Another reason for the ease of evoking emotions is that because of their depth, emotional values are comprehensive and relate to many events in our life."