Rasta TimesCHAT ROOMArticles/ArchiveRaceAndHistory RootsWomen Trinicenter
Africa Speaks.com Africa Speaks HomepageAfrica Speaks.comAfrica Speaks.comAfrica Speaks.com
InteractiveLeslie VibesAyanna RootsRas TyehimbaTriniView.comGeneral Forums
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 12, 2017, 11:46:39 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
25515 Posts in 9752 Topics by 980 Members Latest Member: - Roots Dawta Most online today: 59 (July 03, 2005, 11:25:30 PM)
+  Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum
|-+  GENERAL
| |-+  Tyehimba Salandy (Moderator: Tyehimba)
| | |-+  Reason and Emotions
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 Print
Author Topic: Reason and Emotions  (Read 6345 times)
Tyehimba
Moderator
*****
Posts: 1748

RastafariSpeaks


WWW
« on: October 21, 2013, 09:01:14 PM »

i had cause today to think about reason/logic and emotions as it underlies behavior and choices.

What do people understand by these two things, and what role do they play in your life?

I will give my own views.



Logged
Belle
Newbie
*
Posts: 29


« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2013, 12:37:05 PM »

Never thought of this before.
This is a difficult question
I am not sure which one comes first: if the emotion comes first, which allows for the reason to a specific behavior, but they are definitely intertwined.

I can't seem to find an answer. Hopefully I will arrive at one soon
Logged
Nakandi
KiwNak
*
Posts: 490


« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2013, 06:25:51 PM »

to me those are concepts you can identify when seen, but are hard to echo back in your own words. let me first list what i think of when i hear those concepts and move from there.

reason/logic = mathematical, linear, scientific, objective, universal, male, masculine, superior
emotion = weakness, passivity, female, feminine, inferior

being a victim of european school of thought, i was taught from a very young age that there is such a thing as dualism. therefore reason was one thing, emotion another. reason was the pure product of a clear sane mind, well represented by white males. it was the epitome of masculine thinking. emotion was a weight that blinded people and was well seen in females or feminine males. this is the reason the scientific, logical white man was on top. he wasn't to be stopped by ''petty'' things like emotions. he could therefore rule the world and lead it into a uniform intelligent state. from this thinking, i have not yet been able to see the two as one or locate one in the other.

another thing is that i equate reason/logic thinking to coldness and individuality. being brought up in an african community, it has not appealed to me to prioritize reason/logic in my actions.

i am not able to put more words into a coherent sentence so i will stop there for now.
Logged
Iniko Ujaama
InikoUjaama
*
Posts: 528


« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2013, 01:23:59 AM »

I was reflecting on emotions in particular recently.

What I thought of was that emotions are how we establish a relationship with the "outside" world, beyond what we can perceive with our senses(or those we acknowledge as the five senses). By outside I mean anything that is not the perceiving or reflection "I". Also it is how we create meaning in the world. So emotion is that energy that expresses the relationship(or provides the bridge) between our self and whatever we can perceive(conscious or otherwise). So emotions are an indication of how we experience the world on a non-physical level.

Reason is how we make assessment of the world based on comparing or assessing information/facts etc which we analyze on an intellectual level.

I do not think the two are necessarily mutually exclusive. In fact from my experience I have found that both can be misleading or can work against someone's best interest when not adequately balanced with the other.

If we take Reason to mean pure Logic or even if we take it to refer to the assessing of information(in the form that it can be processed intellectually), Reason does not give us a sense of meaning in/of or relationship to the world from our subjective point of experience.

Emotion can be evoked through things that we are unconscious of and often persons can be manipulated because their emotions are evoked with powerful force by other persons(or events or other phenomena) interacting with aspects of themselves that they are unconscious of. This is so particularly in this time when many words, actions, symbols, gestures etc have been greatly diluted in meaning and significance.

I think Reason allows for a certain distance from the perceivable world that can be useful but itself has its own illusions. Emotion can tell you how you experience yourself at the moment and therefore help you to center yourself and be true to yourself about where you are at.

What happened with Europe I think is....not so much the invention of Reason or Logic as some would like to credit Europe for but rather stretching of this useful tool of engaging the world and ourselves, to an unhealthy extreme by devaluing emotion.

I think the Intro of this song has some useful ideas as well.

Erykah Badu - Love

Logged
Tyehimba
Moderator
*****
Posts: 1748

RastafariSpeaks


WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2013, 05:03:29 AM »

I think Reason allows for a certain distance from the perceivable world that can be useful but itself has its own illusions.


What do you mean here by reason having its own illusion?
Logged
Iniko Ujaama
InikoUjaama
*
Posts: 528


« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2013, 12:06:49 PM »

I think reason is based on perceivable "facts" as in experiences and perceptions are viewed as their own separate entity. Or alternatively they are seen as things in and of themselves. So this tends to deemphasize our relationship to them(therefore creating some distance or separation between us and these experiences), which is what gives us our subjective experience. Driven to extreme it can cause you deny your own existence and experiences giving one the impression of being separate from the things we perceive and experience in the world. This way of relating to the world can be useful but driven to extreme or without the balancing and mediating element of our emotion or awareness of our own subjective experience, it can be somewhat misleading.

I read an article recently [Algebra? – No. Let’s stop teaching math like an abstraction and start teaching it as a human practice. by ROCHELLE GUTIÉRREZ] http://blackstarjournal.org/?p=3489 in which the writer raised the issue of the emphasis on algebra in teaching of Mathematics and how this may impact how we relate to and interact with the world. She wrote:

Quote
"Being intellectual in our society often requires ignoring context and considering things in general terms. But when you ignore context and specifics, you may also fail to recognize important things: humanity, emotions, individual cases, and values. When you establish a universal standard for math education, you can elevate one truth as the superior way of doing things, and define some cultures and people as deviant or primitive. In this context, the requirement to learn algebra in school can be seen as a form of micro-aggression in that it teaches people to shut down a natural disposition towards seeing humanity in the world and acknowledging different perspectives."


For Africans and other people who have been dominated by Europeans and for Black women in particular there is the denial of or downplaying of the significance of their subjective experiences which often is expressed through their emotional responses to things which affect them. The appeal to a supposedly valueless logic or reason is often used to dismiss these experiences as irrelevant. Because it ignores the fact that the use of reason developed among different peoples under specific circumstances and that differences in levels of power in the world exist today between peoples, it can perpetuate oppression even while giving both perpetrators and victim the idea that this is not what is happening by mystifying the oppression. In a more general sense I think it can cause people to think "They" KNOW(in a subjective sense) when they actually do not.
Logged
Makini
Makini
*
Posts: 428


« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2013, 08:43:54 PM »

I think that society has separated emotion from logic. Society or different cultures have tried to dissect them into two distinct entities, but they shouldn’t be so distinct (mutually exclusive) or viewed as male versus female, strong versus weak, better versus worse. A reasoned position, moving to greater clarity on an action or a choice can be very emotional (warming), freeing and stimulating. Emotion should not necessarily be seen as blinding or something that results in assigning a definition of weak, stupid or irrational onto the person who makes decisions based on emotions.

People often use wrong logic, inappropriate information(misinformation) or reasoning to make a decision, thus unreasoning. On the other hand there are many instances where people go by their gut feeling without evidence, facts or statistics to back them and they may turn out to be in the right because they are searching for truth. As I have learnt in reasoning with others, it also means that one’s actions could be viewed in certain contexts as being "above fault" even if it may not be the best option so long as they see it as the best option at that point in time. The person is moving to truer things, moving towards truth…evolving.

People can take any piece of information and decide that that is the “reason” they will get into a relationship, buy something or go somewhere, but that reason could be steeped in bias or racism. So in the same sense as Europeans/colonisers, they had many “reasons” for thinking that minorities or nations they intended to colonized were inferior but they were all based on superior versus inferior ideas and a lot of corruption, misinformation and unreasoning. Thus, reasoning (well not true or the real essence of reasoning) can be very blinding, and effectively weakening, leading to spiritual decay if not done from a position of honesty and integrity.

While in many many cases, emotion is just the negative things people assign to it, this is when it is layered in corruption. Where you are socialised or conditioned to believe one emotion should lead to a type of reaction or decision. Pocahontas should fall in love with the blond haired white violent oppressor. The female slave should have feelings of gratitude to her master because he does not beat her and has sex with her thus loves her. The male that tells the female, if you love me you will have sex with me. The emotion, the "love", the behaviour/choice is not an honest choice, it is not pure, it is not love if it’s not done from a position of freedom.

However, on the other hand, I think emotions can connect to one’s higher Self as much as reason, because people dismiss true attraction in place of physical, external, material attraction. They Dis-respect themSelves by putting flawed or corrupt reasons for the choices they make, the relationships they form and in attempts to be society defined successful. Two people could say the same thing, could do the same thing…but colourism and racism makes the same thing/person more attractive or less offensive or more worthy of attention, investment and love than the other. The two – reason and emotion -  therefore should be considered as complementing or completely each other and viewed through a filter that separates and addresses issues such as racism, colourism and all other biases that corrupt them both.
Logged
Nakandi
KiwNak
*
Posts: 490


« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2013, 09:38:04 PM »

does it follow that reason and emotion are on the same continuum? or are they perhaps two different aspects that can be located with each other? do we ever act purely based on one or the other?
Logged
Tyehimba
Moderator
*****
Posts: 1748

RastafariSpeaks


WWW
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2013, 10:10:55 PM »

I think many times unreason masquerades itself as being reason.

I do remember as a university student I challenged a professor who  tried to sell us the notion that European civilization and their expansion was based on them being rational. Much of the writings about the ‘European Enlightenment’ make reference to the triumph of rationality, and usually what they mean is a very narrow economic interpretation of rationality that does not connect to my deeper concept of reason. For example, European rationality might have worked out that it would be economically profitable to kidnap and enslave Africans in a plantation system. Reason could be used to work out the details of gunpower and the effects of this as a weapon of conquest. In this scheme there would be some sense of cause and effect, but it would be a very low level of reason given the limitation there in measuring the effect in terms of monetary benefits and not considering general and wider effects on subordinated peoples, or even the deeper effects on themselves. In this sense, it is quite possible to employ reason in a limited and narrow context  but the overall trajectory be towards  unreason.

Although Europeans have masqueraded their narrow interests , motivations and agendas as being based upon reason this does not dismiss the power of reason nor does it give credence to racist and sexist dualities. The evolution  of reasoning capabilities in our earliest ancestors were an important part of human evolution and allowed them to understand worldly realities as a basis to navigate the world to ensure their survival. Beyond mere survival reason also allowed them to observe nature and extract  principles and values that provided a basis for communities and aspects of development and social relations in such communities. In this context,  behaviors and culture could develop with a general consideration of  what was in the best interest of the community.

When I talk about reason my concept is something that is more than just an intellectual endeavor. I see reason in the highest sense as being an evolving movement towards higher truth based on better information, location of self within a wider social and universal context, continual self refinement and a consideration of what is in the best interest of different parties/peoples. Such a movement could well involve walking through our emotional states and reflecting on our emotional investments as a means of gauging what we value, beyond what we think/say we value.

While there could be a basis for dividing things or making distinctions to understand the contributions of individual aspects I agree with the posters who highlight the interlinking of reason and emotion.  Emotions are influenced by our cognitions and interpretations of the world. With better information and self refinement people can evolve better emotion connections and states. Outside of this, I see emotion just serving to bond people to corruption and perpetuation of the ills mentioned by Makini. Of course, the same can be said of ‘reason’, as outside of this work it will just be unreason masquerading as reason.

This does not mean that reason has illusions or is flawed, it just means that people are holding on to illusions about the reality of their choices. I see reason, (inclusive of the process of reasoning) as being a fundamental part of improving my conduct. In this sense people can work towards  removing the veil of illusions and uncovering the subconscious influences that underlie choices.

I can think of times when I made a reasoned assessment of something, based on where I was at that point in time, and my emotional state invoked  a sense caution despite my ‘reasoning’. Alternatively, I can also think of times in which I had a very emotional reaction to a situation and used reason to pull me back to a balanced state where I could have made a better decision.

I think that sometimes the articulation of some experiences are dismissed as emotional. Does this have to do with how emotions are sometimes viewed and the dismissival of subjective experiences?
Logged
Kurious Rose
Newbie
*
Posts: 14


« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2013, 11:04:58 PM »

This is an interesting discussion.

Like KiwNak, when first hearing about the terms ‘reason’/ ‘logic’ and ‘emotion’ they were western philosophical concepts which described different eras of European civilization be it the ‘Romantic Age’ or ‘The Age of Reason’ or other. Later on, I took more notice of the genderization of these concepts which feminized emotion and masculinized reason and logic. While females have been conditioned to express a kind of (negative) emotion and males a kind of (un) reason and vice versa, both exhibit these qualities to certain degrees and both have the potential to use these aspects for their betterment.

In terms of associating genders with these states of being, an argument can be made just as how some Egyptian/ KMT-ian gods were depicted with animal heads or bodies to signify the dominant character of their being. But given how many people’s ideas of emotion and reason are ill-conceived and further how ideas of what characterizes a male and a female have been misconstrued, connecting a state of being with a gender may often be off base.

I don’t see emotion and reason as being stagnant definitions but I will share one way that I look at them:

Emotion, for want of a better term, is instinctual. Given its raw nature, it is essential for survival (on a terrestrial level). One can experience an ‘honest’, gut-feeling which is used to quickly formulate basic perception. It is a reflexive trait and usually conditioned by prior experiences within one’s lifetime or can be embedded in one’s DNA by the experiences of our ancestors.
 
Reason or logic, on the other hand, follows emotion. After experiencing that initial visceral feeling, reason can be used to put emotion into perspective. One’s initial emotion could be right or it could be un/misinformed but one can react properly (often improperly) using tools for reflection and interpretation. People engage the two in different ways to navigate everyday situations and to varying degrees. I would not venture to say that one is better than the other.  Different scenarios can be analysed in various ways and application of the terms are often misused anyway.

Based on the example that KiwNak discussed, the violent conduct that European males displayed to colonize different places was not one furnished with reason but rather (negative) emotion and unreason. Certainly, the world is not a better, logical, ordered place as a result of their actions but quite the opposite. (The blame does not fall solely on their shoulders either).  Moreover, emotion does not necessarily equate fear but that is for another discussion.

On a very physical, day to day level, most exist within the realm of what I would call ‘low emotion’. For ‘positive emotion’ to override and to automate, this would take years of accumulated experiences and the ability to develop better qualities though ‘high reason’. From there people can expand upon their emotions to gain reason-ability and react appropriately to given situations.

Kurious Rose.
Logged
Belle
Newbie
*
Posts: 29


« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2013, 11:05:26 PM »

What I have understood thus far, is once there is a balance use of both reasoning and emotions than there will be a more informed and better behavior. But like KiwNak pointed out, emotions are strongly identified as being a feminine trait.
 
Which of the two will you all consider to be more detrimental to an individual in the decision making process.

Logged
Iniko Ujaama
InikoUjaama
*
Posts: 528


« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2013, 02:22:19 AM »

does it follow that reason and emotion are on the same continuum? or are they perhaps two different aspects that can be located with each other? do we ever act purely based on one or the other?

I would say they are two different ways of interacting with the world. They came to play a dominant role in our existence at different times based on our collective experiences. Emotion allowed us to make judgments in the world beyond direct physical contact or depending on the physical senses by themselves. They gave meaning to the world in a sense allowing us to make decisions based by connecting immediate or impending experience with memory(individual and collective) as someone pointed to earlier.

Tyehimba said:
Quote
The evolution  of reasoning capabilities in our earliest ancestors were an important part of human evolution and allowed them to understand worldly realities as a basis to navigate the world to ensure their survival. Beyond mere survival reason also allowed them to observe nature and extract  principles and values that provided a basis for communities and aspects of development and social relations in such communities.

True. Very good point there. Its seems quite obvious now that reason been around for a long time as our early ancestors had to make decisions about these "principles and values" that would shape social relations. What also becomes apparent is that things reasoned at a certain time based on certain circumstances could become less useful or burdensome or detrimental under changed circumstances.

Kurious Rose said
Quote
Emotion, for want of a better term, is instinctual. Given its raw nature, it is essential for survival (on a terrestrial level). One can experience an ‘honest’, gut-feeling which is used to quickly formulate basic perception. It is a reflexive trait and usually conditioned by prior experiences within one’s lifetime or can be embedded in one’s DNA by the experiences of our ancestors.

So emotion is useful/critical for survival and in acting based on your subjective situation although as Makini pointed out it can be subject to corruption and caused to act on a very low level. The need to attend to one's subjective reality does not become obsolete and therefore emotions remain relevant even as we developed reason. I am not sure about putting them on a continuum. Indeed in our material existence they evolved in a certain order but outside of the order in which they develop, how would you order them?
For the order in which they came does not mean a superiority of one over the other as Europeans came to believe. I think reason may permit us to see beyond just our subjective experience more so than emotion in a specific context. In humanity's early development where we grew into families, clans, ethnic groups I think our subjective self was growing out of this wider collective experience and therefore the heavy emphasis on reason in the way we see now would not have been as necessary to move beyond the subjective experience. The individual was part of a collective, empathy and connection easier to develop etc. I also think these various ways of seeing the world weave into and out of each other in various situations so again I have reservations about putting them in a continuum.

Kurious Rose, you said:
Quote
On a very physical, day to day level, most exist within the realm of what I would call ‘low emotion’. For ‘positive emotion’ to override and to automate, this would take years of accumulated experiences and the ability to develop better qualities though ‘high reason’. From there people can expand upon their emotions to gain reason-ability and react appropriately to given situations.

At first when I read this I took the first sentence referring to low emotion as referring to some kind of apathy or the lack of any emotional connection to evoke a motive force for action. But upon reading it again I see it is something very different that you are referring to here.

This is a very timely discussion for me. Appreciating the reasoning.


Logged
Belle
Newbie
*
Posts: 29


« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2013, 03:55:15 AM »


"...it is essential for survival (on a terrestrial level)."

Kurious Rose can you elaborate on this please



Logged
Kurious Rose
Newbie
*
Posts: 14


« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2013, 02:29:08 PM »

Iniko Ujaama,

I am not entirely sure about the point you are making regarding your reservations about putting the two – reason and emotion – on a 'continuum'. But if I am interpreting you correctly, let me answer by saying that there is an order to which they function: emotion, then reason. There is a certain hierarchy attached as a result rating reason more highly, but it does not inferiorize or invalidate emotion. Let me use a crude example here: although primordial ancestors were not technologically evolved, without their efforts, we would have nothing to build upon to become so adept in the field of science today.  So it would be illogical to dismiss one because it was from this that the other could be developed.

Even with this hierarchy, emotion and reason can both be evolved or de-evolved. To briefly explain, a person with much experience and a history of making better choices would be in a better position to trust their initial, instinctual feelings. They can then use reason to assess levels of rightness or wrongness (or whatever else have you) of their emotion and act accordingly. Or, in situations that require quick responses act on their emotion and (often) be right. Conversely, a person who lacks experience and/or integrity cannot bank on their emotions to guide them to act properly in cases where prompt action is required. They may act in one way or the other and feel the immediate effects of poor action or may feel triumphant without understanding the negative implications of their action. It is this that feeds unreason, which is a 'thinking' position and thus often misconstrued as 'reason' or 'logic' or 'higher ability'.

Belle asked, "...it is essential for survival (on a terrestrial level)."

I am referring to what occurs on this material plane of existence.  An earth being may envisage existence in life and death terms (or life in body and loss of body terms). Therefore, as in the case of animal/earth being existence, emotion/instinct is a necessary tool to furnish the innate desire to protect the body and to maintain earthy being. Outside the earth body, these concepts that we are discussing would be quite different.
Logged
Nakandi
KiwNak
*
Posts: 490


« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2013, 05:16:55 PM »

On a very physical, day to day level, most exist within the realm of what I would call ‘low emotion’. For ‘positive emotion’ to override and to automate, this would take years of accumulated experiences and the ability to develop better qualities though ‘high reason’. From there people can expand upon their emotions to gain reason-ability and react appropriately to given situations.



Kurious Rose, what do you mean with low 'emotion' and 'positive' emotion? Also, I agree with you here (if I am interpreting Iniko Ujaama correctly as well) ''there is an order to which they function: emotion, then reason.'' To me, whatever decision is made there is either some degree of attachment or value to the situation we are assessing. Whatever relation it is we have to it, I see it as a result of emotion. Hence, emotion first, then reason.

I might be missing points here so I am going to ask for some elucidation from those who have commented so far - is reason to rationality and emotion to irrationality?

Also found this rather intriguing; ''Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?'' http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/magazine/can-emotional-intelligence-be-taught.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
Copyright © 2001-2005 AfricaSpeaks.com and RastafariSpeaks.com
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!