talking about emotions, since they are largely a human phenomenon, obviously tends to raise questions of ethics: good and bad, right and wrong, justice and injustice. anthropomorphism stalks the wings. we seek our reflection in the lonely mirror of the world, and the haunting phase-shift we get back from that -- the unsynchronized echo, the blurred edges, the subtly imperfect mapping of concept to Other -- fuels both the longing for community and for jihad.
if we were to transpose the discussion into, say, a meteorological key, I suspect there would be far less trouble with lightning, hurricane, avalanche, tornado, forest fire and tsunami. these forces rage without anger, kill without malice, yet they are violent beyond imagining. they also reshuffle the boring entropic deck of climax ecology as nothing else quite can.
as above, so below.
but cartesian dualism remains a problem. do we participate in this kind of elemental power? or is it just too raw, too unreconstructed in our own image to suit what has come to pass for civilized taste? cyber-salvation from the body, from the blood-and-guts world, looks mighty tempting from a certain angle. but that angle is too far up the brainstem to remember the ground it's rooted in -- not enough medulla oblongata, not enough limbic juice. let me climb out on that limb far enough to say I've always had a gut feeling many women are much closer to getting past this schizoid dualism than most men (or maybe it's just that the women I've gone after have tended to verge on the dangerous in this respect). but whether any of that's so or not, such a synthesis isn't something one understands in the same way one frames a mathematical theorem. we were talking about emotions and learning, right? but learning what? the decision as to what's worth understanding is primary. it is a value judgment.
nowhere in this is there any notion of justice, notice -- nor of a world that is just a shit-happens kind of place. a community without warriors to defend the perimeter is merely history. could it be we are projecting the dream of what's already lost into the future and calling it utopia? if so, our children will thank us for their servitude to masters far less kind.
compassion without pain is a strip-mall vision of human being, a New Age DisneyWorld of the spirit. I canceled my subscription. poetry, on the other hand, has death written all over it. where do I sign?
plunge me in the cleansing violence of the elements, dear god.