Why do we have emotions?

Why do we have emotions?

e·mo·tion  əˈmōSH(ə)n/  noun

  1. A natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

synonyms:       feeling, sentiment, reaction, response, passion, strength of feeling, warmth of feeling

  1. Instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.

synonyms:       instinct, intuition, gut feeling, insight, sentiment, the heart

With this essay I am concerned with the first part of the definition.

Emotions from most primitive to higher:
  1. Base or Root Chakra Imbalance–FEAR – NO BREATH
  2. Sacral Chakra Imbalance–SORROW – STRONG INHALATION
  3. Solar Plexus Chakra Imbalance–ANGER – STRONG EXHALATION

Whenever I am feeling out of balance I try to remember to check my breathing.

Negative Emotion:  Win-Lose Situations

Fear, sorrow, and anger; with all possible combinations; the SOS (saving of self) emotions concerned with self-preservation: These grew out of humankind’s life and death struggles. These are the triggers to the fight-or-flight response.

Positive Emotion: Win-Win Situations

Love and all higher emotions which are concerned with relationships to others: These grew out of humankind’s realizing that by cooperating with others we are more joyful and secure.

Misuse of Emotion:

Don’t use a negative emotion in what should be a win-win relationship building situation. If you are not presented with a life and death struggle negative emotions are not reasonable responses.

An example might be a debilitating fear of public speaking. The situation is clearly not a life and death struggle, but to let fear disable us is not reasonable.

Flow: No Emotion; Total Absorption

According to positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, there is a state known as flow, a state of complete immersion in an activity.

He describes the mental state of flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

Pleasure vs Gratification (self vs outside of self)

There is a principle referred to in Dr. Martin Seligman’s book “Authentic Happiness”; the difference between “pleasure” and “gratification.”

In summary, Pleasure is an immediate and momentary bodily delight (like chocolate) whereas Gratification is engaging, intellectual pursuits wherein we get long term enjoyment (like raising children, doing good for others, and hobbies). Following pleasure leads us in circles, always seeking more pleasure. Following gratification leads us to enrichment and well-being.

Origin and Etymology of gratify – Middle French gratifier, from Latin gratificari to show kindness to, from gratus + -ificari, passive of -ificare –ify.  First Known Use: 1539. Both “gratitude” and “congratulate” trace back to the Latin root “gratus,” meaning “pleasing, agreeable, thankful.” We also find “gratus” in the roots of “grateful” and “agree.”

Pleasures (self):

Pleasures involve more of a passive enjoyment of the bodily senses.  Listening to birds.  Enjoying a good meal.  Appreciating music.  It can be more active:  bicycle riding, gardening, and hiking through a beautiful forest.  But its best done slowly, savoring, and stretching to maximize the pleasure.

Gratifications (outside of self):

A gratification is something you enjoy doing, but it challenges you.  You get totally engaged in the activity.  You have to use your physical, spiritual, and or intellectual “muscles” to do the activity with excellence.  It leaves you feeling very satisfied, competent, and accomplished but you might not feel any emotion while it is going on because you are so “in the zone”(see Flow above).

Appreciation and Gratitude:

These magnify positive experiences and give them greater influence in our lives.

Rewrite your negative experiences by envisioning (imagining) the experience in more positive terms.

Acceptance of emotions:

This means examining your emotions as they happen and owning them.

Some Psychologists tell us that the ratio of positive to negative emotions should be 2:1. Anything less than 2:1 will lead to depression.

Pessimism (negative):

Pessimists are 8 times more likely to become depressed than optimists.

Compulsive self-absorption leads to depression.

“Learned helplessness, in psychology, a mental state in which an organism forced to bear aversive stimuli, or stimuli that are painful or otherwise unpleasant, becomes unable or unwilling to avoid subsequent encounters with those stimuli, even if they are “escapable,” presumably because it has learned that it cannot.” Google search

Optimism (positive):

“Learned optimism is the idea in positive psychology that a talent for joy, like any other, can be cultivated. It is contrasted with learned helplessness. Learning optimism is done by consciously challenging any negative self-talk.” Google search

Attitudes about situations we are in can lead to pessimism or optimism:

You need to learn to consciously question your attitude about a situation and if it is negative argue against it to yourself.

Permanence (time):

Is my attitude Permanent or Temporary?

Optimistic people believe bad events to be temporary and bounce back quickly from failure, whereas pessimists may take longer periods to recover or may never recover. Optimistic people believe good things happen for reasons that are permanent, rather than seeing the transient nature of positive events. Optimists point to temporary causes for negative events; pessimists point to permanent causes.

Pervasiveness (space):

Is my attitude Specific or Universal?

Optimistic people compartmentalize helplessness (specific), whereas pessimistic people assume that failure in one area of life means failure in life as a whole (universal). Optimistic people also allow good events to brighten every area of their lives rather than just the specific area in which the event occurred.

Personalization (self):

Is my attitude Personal or Non-personal?

Optimists blame bad events on causes outside of themselves, whereas pessimists blame themselves for events that occur. Optimists are therefore generally more confident. Optimists also quickly internalize positive events while pessimists externalize them.

Happening + Value = Experience

Experience noun /ɪkˈspɪər·i·əns/

(The process of getting) knowledge or skill that is obtained from doing, seeing, or feeling things, or something that is happening; which has an effect on you:

The value in a lot of experiences is emotional.

Crying occurs with both positive and negative emotions.

Crying can be a good indicator of strong emotions.

There can be the crying of deep sorrow; which might point to working through the sorrow.

There can be the crying of deep awe or rapture; which might point to increasing appreciation and gratitude.


I have given you a lot to think about and hopefully some ways you can improve your well-being.

Dr. Martin Seligman’s book “Authentic Happiness” and Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s concept of “Flow” have been great inspirations in my life.




Corporations will save us?

Corporations will save us?

Two American (?) (Multi-National) Corporations are advertising to do the following two things:

  1. Capture Carbon
  2. Filter Earth’s Water


Capture carbon

For life to get where it is today, the earth has had to remove excessive carbon from the ecosystem.

Ways of carbon capture:

  1. Coal, gas, and oil deposits

It took a great many years for the earth to capture these and we are releasing them in only a few hundred years.

  1. Vegetation

10 Billion Acres http://www.10ba.org/

Plant life of all sorts (land and sea) is required to capture carbon and release oxygen. Man can go for a month without food, weeks without water, but only minutes without air.

  1. Soil Erosion

Do a Google search on “soil erosion”.

Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years.

While erosion is a natural process, human activities have increased by 10-40 times the rate at which erosion is occurring globally.

The organic matter in the earth’s remaining soil is extremely depleted.

In the Great Plains of the US it is estimated that areas that once had 12 feet of topsoil now have 12 inches!

I guess my question is “Do you believe corporations or nature would be better at carbon capture?”

Filter Earth’s Water

For life to get where it is today, the earth has had to remove excessive naturally occurring chemicals from the ecosystem.

All of this vegetation, soil, and mantle were earth’s great filtering system.

With erosion increasing by 10-40 times the rate of water run-off has increased dramatically. Naturally occurring chemicals exposed by removal of vegetation and mining are again returning to the ecosystems in massive amounts.

Add to this the purposeful release of man-created chemicals to earth’s ecosystem and we really have a recipe for disaster.

I guess my question is “Do you believe corporations or nature would be better at filtering earth’s water?”

Caretakers of the Earth

For life to stay where it is today, large numbers of people need to become Caretakers of the Earth.

Careful Taking – in taking we give back more than we take.

We give appreciation, gratitude, and thanks to all those things that are necessary to extend our life.

We consider our next generations and what we are leaving them as we take only what we need.


These are not only a physical choices, but also spiritual choices. This is practicing oneness with all things. Meditate on the fact that your body has as many bacteria in it as cells; the next time your ego tells you that you are separate.

We need to return to loving the earth and honoring all the gifts that the whole universe gives to us. Meditate on understanding the world around you. Learn to go into the place inside you; where all things can be known and understood. Ask for guidance and anything that exists can give you your answers.

I am not one who is anti-technology, but one who believes in a very careful use of technology.

Our industrial processes need to be great examples of recycling. We don’t just take massive amounts of raw materials, use them, and dump the residue as waste; poisoning generations to come.