bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

No advice column.

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intuitive, rational, emotional
bird poops on plum branch
Work is great. In addition to throwing another new site out there today (Lists of Bests... let me know if you want to try out the beta), we've recently also been delving into the world of therapy with a vengeance. I like to say that our company is like a big therapy session without a therapist. The entry point recently is the question of whether or not you experience life as a highly emotional person. Most first reactions are an emphatic (almost emotional) NO. It's funny. To say no with such passion. We really do not know ourselves do we?

Josh asked me, "Do you think thoughts come from emotions or emotions come from thoughts?" I definitely think that thoughts come first from emotions, but upon further thought I think there's a small amount of feedback between thoughts going backwards into emotion. The whole method of investigation is flawed since you need to use thoughts to determine what you think about the role of emotions... but if emotions control those thoughts, how can they be truly objective?

It's as if emotion were a mountain of snow and ice, and thought were the river of run-off streaming down. But, the stream itself carves into into the mountain, affecting emotion over time. Carving shapes into the emotions. I think that this metaphor works on a couple levels:

1) Emotion is big, distributed, and difficult to visualize. You can't visualize the shape of a three dimensional mountain, especially when most of it is covered in snow and ice and is blasting with a storm and melting and cracking and constantly changing shape. Visualizing and articulating a river is several dimensions simpler, and cleaner, because it has a direction, a source, and a destination.

2) Thought is born head first out of emotion. Hm. If there were a complete lack of emotion, I think there would eventually result a complete lack of thinking. There is no motivation or desire for thoughts unless a feeling pushes it into existence. In fact, if you pay really close attention, you can smash a thought back into its emotion. I think the experiment of saying things and noting how you feel is a good exercise illustrating this. It's really difficult to think things that you don't feel. Sometime soon, pause and note what you are thinking and also note the emotion your body is expressing. I think the emotion includes how your arms feel, and your heart rate, and your hunger level, and your level of tiredness. All of these things, I am including under the umbrella of emotions. Maybe I should've stated that earlier but this is a dumb blog post so I don't really have to I guess.

3) The level of interaction between emotion, thoughts, and back to emotion seems to be intuitively correct. There's one big movement down the mountain (emotion -> thought), and them smaller movements into the mountain (thought -> emotion). Evaporation and other ecosystem nuances are probably also there. It's probably not a simple process... so thinking of it as an ecosystem with a set of communications of varying force helps articulate that without the burden of supplying actual details. A good metaphor is better proof than real scientific results, probably for the very reason that we are ruled more by emotion than ration. Haha.

In other words, we're doomed.

But what I am not very sure about is where intuition comes in. It's pre-rational and pre-emotional. But I think it may be the jackpot... much more useful and powerful than the other two combined. It can handle even bigger and more complicated problems than the other two things. It can tell you which deck of cards is rigged long before you emotional or consciously register the differences. It tells you in two seconds whether or not you'll get along with a person, months or years before you can rationalize or justify with emotions. I think it tends to be associated more with emotions (ie. the gut feeling) but I think it's quite distinct. What do you intuit/think/feel?

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Why are we doomed? I don't get it. you just think that because you are too rational. I am going to go eat things that make my stomach hurt now. Bye.

doomed, absurd, great, and silly are all interchangeable in this context, i think.

i have a *really* good story that is a stellar example of the power of intuition. i don't know if it would relay that well within the confines of this space though.

intuition is definitely amazing. it saved my life. literally.

I vote for intuition and agree that it is distinct from emotions or thought. Intuition is in one's dna. You either have it or you don't. It can't be learned. In order to maximize the benefits of intuition, one has to have the right intuition for the right scenario. Intuition gives someone the edge because others may come to the same conclusion but it will be based on emotions and thoughts, which take a longer time to process. I went to a really cool talk the other day about pain and addiction. The scientist basically suggested that every decision we make is based on a struggle with pleasure and pain. The presence of pleasure does not mean the absence of pain but rather that pleasure is greater than pain (and vice versa). One can train rats (or humans) to make 'painful' decisions by pairing them with a greater pleasure (and I guess the reverse is also true?). What, however, is the role of intuition in all this? Is behaviour that is based on intuition resistant to 'conversion' ie. one can not make it the opposite of what it is supposed to be? Is intuition 'the truth'? Does it prevent us from becoming nothing (able to turn pleasure into pain and pain into pleasure depending on our environment)?

I think it is more like a dirt hill filled with earthworms, and the earthworms feed off the dirt, but when they die, they decompose and become the dirt. The dirt obviously being the emotions, and the earthworms being the traceable lines of thought, obviously as well. Or we could go with the icy mountain and stream deal- it's just easier for me to visualize the earthworms decomposing than the water evaporating and becoming the icy mountain again, although i guess how are you going to make sure all those worms stay on that dirt hill, whereas a river is pretty dependable. But I suppose sometimes I feel I don't think at all and maybe that's when all my worms have temporarily left my dirt pile. Something to think about anyway.
On a sidenote, I am totally keen on the positive sublimation business. What are some methods of delivery you've thought of? I don't want just the old listen while you sleep business, I want something hip and fresh.
Furthermore, though unrelated, I would like to be a BETA TESTER of this List of Bests you speak of.

i want to try out the beta. i WANT.

Mr. Benson, you absolutely must go sit a Vipassana course at some point soon! This is *exactly* the kind of thing you find out about.

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