As I sit here in my humble office surrounded by my partner’s colourful collection of cinematic art – with The Creature of The Black Lagoon intently looking over my right shoulder – I think about several questions that to most, seem to demand very profound and sought-after answers. Questions to which I have afforded intense effort, but not because I feel them important in me, but because they are, as I said just a few sentences earlier, imperative for the regular psyche to achieve at least a semblance of order. To me, the popular pondering on the meaning of life is banal, it is wasteful; it diverts mental energy from the actually valid question: how do we make life meaningful? Life, as it is, has never had a particular meaning, or rather, it has never needed one other than what I would impose upon it… a value that seems to change and gather splendor as I grow. This is a challenging concept for others to grasp as the confusion between meaning and purpose obscures what is essentially a clear matter.
I have also shared in the impetus to know what makes humans “tick”, what makes people do what they do. And though I have never asked this question of myself, as having always (at least since I can remember) known what drives me has made it easy to know where I need to go to get it, I have seen the importance of methodical answer as a means to influencing those to whom it is personally important.
Influence is still at the core of my personal enterprise, it is one of those ideas that move me. My potential contribution to the collective illusion of control is arousing like only a small number of notions are. I have always wanted to get the most out of people, and in that artifice of mine, the best of me. This is practical, it makes more sense than spending time philosophising on the whereabouts of ego or the constitution of my own emotional dispositions, which while being scarce, do help me understand why others must define their reality through gratuitous suffering.
I see most emotions as hindrances to logically productive lives. Even within the vice of subjectivity, all we need to thrive as a society are what I used to call (and may get into the habit again) the Essential Two: Love and Desire. Love as I see it requires us to “desire” the best for ourselves and those around us, and if that desire is nurtured with reason, and kept pragmatic, it will only arrive at communally beneficial outcomes. All other emotions are to be treated like the cognitive functions that they are and when studied, they should be scrutinized only to be fixed and be kept from inhibiting the intricately wonderful processes of the human mind.
This clearly cannot mean that we must ignore them; on the contrary we need to pay different attention to them. We must learn to control them to prevent them from taking control of our experience and our behaviour. Emotions must always be something that happens to us, not the other way around. I have done my work with them; experimented on myself for several years; saw them from all angles available to me, and allowed others see them in me. This endeavour was time-consuming and at times uncomfortable. I will admit that the reasons for my investigation were less than noble, but the findings quite rewarding. Today I may [still] be unable to feel as others can, but I understand emotions better (than they do) – this has inevitably brought me closer to knowing why people do the things they do, and it is how I build my most enduring of constructs: empathy.