Emotions? - Part II
Can we consider fantasies are nothing more than simplified hallucinations?
The category of emotions covers a disputed territory, but clear examples include fear, anger, joy, pride, sadness, disgust, shame, contempt and the like. Such states are commonly thought of as antithetical to reason, disorienting and distorting practical thought. However, there is also a sense in which emotions are factors in practical reasoning, understood broadly as reasoning that issues in action. At the very least emotions can function as ‘enabling’ causes of rational decision-making (despite the many cases in which they are disabling) insofar as they direct attention toward certain objects of thought and away from others. They serve to heighten memory and to limit the set of salient practical options to a manageable set, suitable for ‘quick-and-dirty’ decision-making.
(Greenspan 2002, p. 206)
Does being rational mean we are perfectionists? Absolutely not! Being rational does not mean you spend time in evaluating every idea that across your mind. Fantasies can give you a sense of achievement fueling what your mind wants you to believe. Too much of this can leave you in a state of deception.
Rationality is a habit. Which in a nutshell means it works in accordance to the facts and the reality! The alternative to this remains acting by the spur of the moment. Which will result in a domino effect causing undesired consequences though the consistency remains vital here. Actions that are based on belief systems in particular effect relationships. This however will not occur if the relationship remains invalid. Does being rational mean we are perfectionists? Absolutely not! Being rational does not mean you spend time in evaluating every idea that across your mind. It does not mean you learn every subject in consideration to the core of being an expert. It only means you act in accordance with reasons. Accepting and believing only that which you have a reason for. A valid reason! It means using logic to ween away any contradictory thoughts or beliefs. When you are in a situation where you need to accept another individual’s judgement, go ahead and use your mind to evaluate if you should believe in their judgement.
People in general tend to fantasize. Somewhere one needs to understand how far they can. Problems arise when the individual starts to live in a world of fantasy and forgets to come down to reality. Take into consideration the following extract from a real life extract.
Here is an individual who feels unsatisfied in the current relationship. Let’s call this character X. X is not satisfied with life! Bored, feels low and is left yearning for some excitement and adventure in life and the present relationship with the partner is exhaustive. Admitting to a friend that there is no bonding, or emotional attachments as they both feel closed. Like they have a locked a cupboard and threw the key away. An invisible wall! (We all go through this phase in our life! Where we refuse to snap out of an old experience and continue to expect that in the present!) The sense of detachments. X also admits that the slightest problem in the relationship will break them apart more and neither would look at mending it. Saying this they also say, “I wish! I only wish there was some amount of spice in our lives! Remember my partner 2 years ago? That! That spice!” Saying this X sense’s that this thought bothers the mind leaving X to wonder why they are not able to accept reality? Why is there so much attachment over a relationship from the past! They have not heard from this person in a very long time. The relationship was one where the other was deeply involved and held what is called a stormy relationship. But still, fact remains that the relationship would have lasted a month if tied in with a wedding knot. X misses the same passion from the past relationship with the current partner.
Food for thought! Why do we live fantasizing about something so much that we refuse to accept reality? Fantasizing about something blocks our mind to a point where we start believe what our mind hallucinates. Hallucinations can feel very real! Is fantasy a kind of hallucination? Love is distinguished in many ways. Healthy, Unhealthy, Mature, Immature, Infatuation, Romantic, Rational! X here believes in romantic love, and not finding it in her current relationship, X is denying the chance to find a healthier, longer lasting rational love with her partner. Continuing to relate to the fantasy of her past relationship and perpetually denying the present tends to push X into a state of depression.
Our thought process is a direct link to our emotional levels which can lead us to the heights of Depression or Fantasy. When one is lead into the zone of peak fantasies, expectations from real life tend to get hijacked. So can we say that positive fantasies can lead to depression somewhere down the line leading to an irrational thought process?
Food for thought! Why do we live fantasizing about something so much that we refuse to accept reality?
Let me take you through a simple everyday occurrence. I am going to draw your attention to the simple fun game FarmVille. This game has quite a few followers. My study revolved around the mindset of that segment of the population that relates to these games. During the course of my study, I interviewed and analyzed 60 people who were practically addicted to the game. Most among the 60 under observation were people whom we would call unsuccessful middle aged and a few among them were people who wanted to achieve a lot and kept fantasizing. These individuals derived pleasure in seeing virtual money in dollars accumulate in the game. It gave them a sense of achievement and fueled their fantasy of reaching heights economically. A recent study also proved that most of these individuals who play online games end up in depression a few years down the line. Not saying that is a fact. But it definitely is an analysis that can’t go unnoticed.
A couple of years ago, my curiosity to understand why emotions can play hard on our rational decision making capability opened up an avenue to conduct a social experiment. A group of 40 College going kids supported by a leading business school from Hyderabad were given a questionnaire to fill and maintain daily diaries, recording their feelings at a specific time every day. The questionnaire captured their thought process and how they handled situations.
The result from this exercise gave me a great perspective on the subject we are talking about now. I will capture the results in my next blog. Hoping to see you back again.
Say Cheers and Stay Happy.