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[Photo: Interpretation: Emotions by kwerfeldein]

I just had a conversation with a friend, and something he said disturbed me. I realized that his words had bothered me because I couldn't decide if there was any truth in what he said. So, I thought I would ask for you opinions and thoughts on the matter.

In a nutshell, he said that "emotions" are uselss because they are not real, and are dynamic and fleeting. He said that "emotions" are tricks that your mind plays on you. In his opinion, "feelings" and "emotions" are not one in the same as "feelings" are more permanent and can be turned into actions while "emotions" can't -- he coined "emotions" as mental noise.

What bothers me about his views is that it seems that a person with no emotions is much like a brick wall -- unable to empathize and relate, lacking in dynamic energy. I do believe that emotions can reach an unhealthy level if we are not able throw some reason into the mix and view them objectively. However, it seems to me that emotions are what make us human. And I truly don't understand his differentiation between feelings and emotions -- seems to me they are the same.

What is your opinion? Are emotions useless? How do you define a feeling and an emotion? Can they be differentiated from one another? Are humans just robots without emotions? Can a person that does not feel emotions relate to and empathize with others? Is a person who wants to deny emotions only running away from them?

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Yeah, I don't think I fully understand the difference either.. what words does he attach to 'emotion' that aren't attached to 'feelings' or vice versa?

Is there a different use of each that isn't coming across? Is it about "having feelings" for something vs physical feelings? (which .. aren't .. that different either..)

I dunno.. I'll have to think about it more, I spose. Can't think of a way I'd define them differently enough from each other to be able to claim that one is entirely useless, but the other perfectly fine (if manageable?).


But, of those that -can- differentiate, and moreover those that have some sort of ability to "turn off" their emotions, to face situations objectively(?), I'm certainly jealous. I'm not sure we always pick the best options in the heat of the moment.. and always always feel like there would've been a better thing to do, or better thing to say, the next day when our minds are clearer. To be able to do that mid-whatever at will would be nice. :)

Do they miss out on the flip side though, too? It's fine to put away your emotions when they're the bad kind, but haven't you shelved the rest too? Is it realistic to be able to bring just those out when things are going well?

What I don't understand is how feelings and emotions are different.

Consider the many different feelings. What about that sinking "feeling" (aka being nervous) in your stomach before a big performance? Is that long lasting? Of course not. It's gone by the time the performance is over (aka relief).

Think of emotions even. Do we not cry when we're sad? Do we not lash out when we're angry? Do we not feel a sense of pride when we do something right?

Either way, both emotions and feelings are a sense of drive. Feelings alone do not make us take actions. How many times have we acted rashly in response to strong emotion?

Because emotions and feelings affect our drive, they in fact create who we are. They gives us a sense of individuality, since no one would respond exactly the same way to different emotions. I doubt we react similarly to all the things we face.

I think what your friend is saying or rather, should be saying, is that you shouldn't let your emotions take advantage of you. Sometimes you have to fight it and think above it. There will always be times when your feelings are not relevant to the matter at hand, and thus you should consider what's best for you and the people you're with.

Either that or your friend likes to live as a blob of human flesh. That must fascinating.

Emotion is pure energy moving through us without obstruction-not the vital energy that allows to run, walk, work, etc, but the feeling energy that moves us to pursure these activities. Emotions and feelings are just forms of energy, they are one and the same, seperate but equal. We take are emotions to seriously. What's the point just be happy. Be happy for no reason at all. Dont aprecciate the good emotions and forget about the bad ones. Aprecciate them both and let them go because emotions are like passing weather they come and then they go. We should never hide form the bad emotions and only look at the good ones, because they are the same. Accept and love all forms of emotional energy. Emotional energy can lead to feeling energy, but the feeling energy can not lead to emotional energy. With that said they are different, but the same at the same time. There is no difference and all the difference. IF emotions and feeligns are truly the same, then that means emotional denial and the feeling of denial are also the same. Well cant you feel emotional denial, but still have a clear undersatnding of your feelings?

It may well be that we each have varying degrees of attachment between the two... It really is very hard for me to differentiate them in a describable way..

From m-w:

FEELING denotes any partly mental, partly physical response marked by pleasure, pain, attraction, or repulsion; it may suggest the mere existence of a response but imply nothing about the nature or intensity of it {the feelings that once moved me are gone}. EMOTION carries a strong implication of excitement or agitation but, like FEELING, encompasses both positive and negative responses {the drama portrays the emotions of adolescence}. AFFECTION applies to feelings that are also inclinations or likings {a memoir of childhood filled with affection for her family}. SENTIMENT often implies an emotion inspired by an idea {her feminist sentiments are well known}. PASSION suggests a very powerful or controlling emotion {revenge became his ruling passion}.


I'm not sure this helped me understand, personally.. heh.. :) It does suggest that feelings are things you physically experience, vs emotions being less so... but speaking for myself, that's not altogether true; they're absolutely mixed up together for me.

In my view they are not the same thing. However I am not brave enough to elaborate!

Feelings - physical sensations on a concious level.

Emotions - a concious mental reaction brought on by physiological and behavioral changes.

Translation on my part. Feelings are pysically felt no matter what it is. Pain, sadness, laughter, depression, etc. When your body feels these sensations, chemically (physiologically) it changes and as it changes it spawns a behavioral change which is the emotion.

Ex: ball hits head = ouch or feeling. You are mad and you yell = emotion.

I thought this may shed some more light on the topic. I hope everyone has a wonderful night. Don't fall out of bed tonight or you may experience an "ouch" (feeling) and get "mad" (emotion).

Take care all!

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts on the matter. It is clear that there are unasked questions regarding my friend's view point. It is also clear that there are many opinoins and interpretations on the matter! I guess it should be obvious to me that something so subjective and never be definitively explained! Thanks again for your help!

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