The Unanticipated Consequences of Unfettered Emotions

“Life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.” ― Jean Racine

The chart in the previous post showed a general trend toward very negative emotions and behaviors among those having Closed Comfort Bubbles and Control issues.  It is troubling when you see it in the chart, but apparently it doesn’t seem to affect us when we see it in real life.

Starting small and perhaps simple, let’s take some current situations and see if they show a general pattern that involves our Comfort Bubbles, Emotions and resulting Behaviors and tosses them in with earlier ideas of Missing Information and Gap Theory (acting emotionally on Incomplete Information and therefore too quickly).  I think the apparent general pattern will quickly become clear:

Conspiracy Theories

    • I choose (i.e., exercise my free will) to believe (i.e., trust in the validity and “truth” of my considered opinion and position) by faith (i.e., that the limited “facts,” observations and information I have are more than sufficient and need not be tested nor added to) that the Earth is flat. I can “prove” this by holding up a ruler at arms length and see that the surface of a pond is flat.  This is my position and Comfort Bubble.  I am so affirmed in this belief that I reject all “information” from outside this bubble in order to build up a defense against any and all ideas contrary to my position and prevent any further incursions.  And I will shout it out on my Twitter feed and Facebook page.
    • I choose to believe by faith that the US did not put a man on the moon. I can “prove” this by the anomalies in the apparent images transmitted “back to Earth from the moon’s lunar surface.” This is my position and Comfort Bubble.  I am so affirmed in this belief that I reject all “information” from outside this bubble in order to build up a defense against any and all ideas contrary to my position and prevent any further incursions.  And I will continue to shout it out on my Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Innocuous enough, perhaps, but not really convincing. After all, these Comfort Bubbles are rather harmless.  But how about this one,

  • We choose to believe by faith that vaccines are not safe. We can “prove” this by reading the anti-vaccine postings on Facebook.  This is our anti-vaccine position and Comfort Stronghold.  We are so affirmed in this belief that we reject all “information” from outside it.  We will build up a defense against any and all ideas contrary to our position and prevent any further incursions.  We are angry and will take action (Congressional Hearing Disrupted; Morals and Measles).

A bit more disconcerting, and, unfortunately, with many lives being impacted. Let’s cast a broader net,

Life in These United States, now

“Anger is an acid that does more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” – Mark Twain

Apt when he spoke it, but unfortunately, not so apt now.

    • I choose to believe by faith that immigrants are invading the United States. I can “prove” this by looking at all the immigrants in my community. This is my position and Comfort Stronghold.  I am convinced and so affirmed in this belief that I reject all “information” from outside it.  I will build up a defense against any and all ideas contrary to my position and prevent any further incursions.  “I am angry” and will take action (“I’m the shooter”, the El Paso shootings).
    • I choose to believe by faith that my Human Resources Department has discriminated against me. I can “prove” this by seeing that they did not act on my issue.  This is my position and Comfort Stronghold.  I am convinced and so affirmed in this belief that I reject all “information” from outside it.  I will build up a defense against any and all ideas contrary to my position and prevent any further incursions.  I am angry and will take action (Disgruntled Cook, but with a mass shooting prevented).
    • We choose to believe by faith that capitalism and politics are not working. We can “prove” this by seeing that the income gap between the average worker and the rich elite is increasing and that Washington does not work*.  This is our position and Comfort Stronghold.  We are convinced and so affirmed in this belief that we reject all “information” from outside it.  We will build up a defense against any and all ideas contrary to our position and prevent any further incursions.  We are angry and will take action (Why Socialism Is Back).
      (*”Washington does not work,” pathetically, currently even extends to their NFL team, here.)
    • We choose to believe by faith that conservatives (or liberals, or Democrats, or Republicans) are responsible for screwing up this country. We can “prove” this by simply reading the media reports about how they have failed to act on solving the problems we see in this country. This is our position and Comfort Stronghold.  We are convinced and so affirmed in this belief that we reject all “information” from outside it.  We will build up our Stronghold defense against them and any and all ideas contrary to our position and prevent any further incursions.  We will take action to further prevent their ruining of this country (How Everything Became the Culture War; Why the Left Is Consumed With Hate).
    • We choose to believe by faith that members with other viewpoints are responsible for screwing up our political party. We can “prove” this by simply watching how they have blocked our proposals and therefore failed to act on addressing this country’s problems.  This is our position and Comfort Stronghold.  We are convinced and so affirmed in this belief that we reject all “information” from outside it.  We will build up our defense against them and any and all ideas contrary to our position and prevent any further incursions.  Not only that but we will take action to further prevent their ruining of this party (The Five Wings Of The Republican Party; The Six Wings Of The Democratic Party).

I am reasonably certain this could go on for both sides (the Either/Or people) of current and past domestic issues (racism, sexism, police, union actions, education, Medicare-for-All, etc.) as well as global situations (climate change, the global economy, Hong Kong, Brexit, the Middle East, etc.) to say nothing about historical differences.  It’s part and parcel of a “feeler’s” tragic rapid automatic appraisal of events.  But to thinkers it is not funny.

The greater issue is, if (IF?) some of us (who think about these situations after our own rapid automatic appraisals) can see the negative results of the mixing of all of these emotional and behavioral aspects of our humanity, what are we going to do about it?

One answer might be: hope that someone else (Washington, London, Brussels, the tooth fairy) solves the issue.  This is the Fix The Blame attitude, demonstrated fairly clearly in the situations above.  If you think that, please go back and reread this blog, starting at the beginning, here.

The alternative is the Fix The Problem approach, to recognize and take up our own personal responsibility, that “thing” that precedes but is permanently attached to freedom, and step out of our own Comfort Bubbles (or Strongholds).  To help with this, here are some helpful questions,

What’s in your Comfort Stronghold?

Who else is in there with you?

Who’s really in charge of building and maintaining your Comfort Stronghold?  You?

Or someone else?

All of these thoughts, and possible revelations, about emotions and behavior make me think it is about time to look a bit deeper into the problems of our political environment and education and test them there.  Next posts.

About Jim Edmonds

I am a husband, father, mentor, who once was a chemist turned physicist turned marketer turned executive turned missionary turned professor. And survived it all.
This entry was posted in 00: Bubbles, 06: Incomplete Information, 13: Values & Self, 14: Behavior, Gap Theory, Lessons from History and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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