I’ve always thought that emotions are what make us human and that you need them to survive. If we couldn’t feel, how could we communicate and develop relationships? But what if you could live without expressing emotions? My questions on the ties between emotion and life have developed a lot during our metaphysical discussions, particularly when speaking about Heidegger’s theory of being vs. Being. From that topic came this question:
Does expressing emotion mean you are Being?
Before we can try and answer this question, we need to attempt to answer the following questions.
What is Being as opposed to being?
Martin Heidegger says that the difference between Being and being is how you live your life. He says that Being is having complete awareness of your Being while being is merely being a physical thing on the planet. In other words, being is existing while Being is truly living. Also, when you are Being, you are considered to be living an authentic life, while you are not if you are just being.
What is an emotion?
Merriam-Webster defines emotion as:
“the affective aspect of consciousness”
“a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body”
This may be the literary definition, but science makes this seemingly simple human action a lot more convoluted, as described in this article. This article depicts the difference between Paul Ekman’s universality theory and Lisa Feldman Barrett’s natural-kind view. The article describes these two theories and many more that fit in the middle of this psychological spectrum in much more detail, but in a nutshell, the universality theory says that all human’s express and observe emotions in the same way while the natural-kind view says that emotions aren’t biologically basic and aren’t interpreted and expressed in the same way. It well may be that emotions are just something we can’t explain or have a definitive answer on, which makes this whole concept a little more difficult.
How do emotions happen/how are they expressed?
To answer this question, it would make it a lot easier if we could know if emotions are a biological thing or not, but we can attempt to answer this from things we already know.
*Note: I am not in psychology so this is not going to be a scientific explanation at all*
We can all basically agree that emotions are triggered things that happen in your daily life. Happiness from being with friends, sadness from hearing bad news, fear from watching a horror movie, and so on. Even though emotions can also be triggered from memories, it all happened in real life at some point. But what about things that happen in your dreams or just in your imagination? They can make you happy or scared or confused on their own. This then opens the question on reality and if the things that “happened” in your life are really just made up by your mind. As mentioned in the article, human’s have a special power. We have the power to create our own reality on agreeing on things like currency roads and possibly emotions. But did we create the reality or was it created for us?
Where to next?
This is a giant situation chalk full of unknowns. The next thing that should be explored is different definitions of reality and how they connect to the expression of emotions. This would then help us to discover the link between the expression of emotions and being.