If emotions are constructed from limited data rather than direct perception, similar to the way vision and memory are constructed , then, as with perception and memory, there must be circumstances when the way the mind fills in gaps in the data results in your “getting it wrong.” The result would be “emotional illusions” that are analogous to optical and memory illusions.
For example, suppose you experience the physiological symptoms of emotional arousal for no apparent reason. The logical response would be to think, Wow, my body is experiencing unexplained physiological changes for no apparent reason! What’s going on? But suppose further that when you experience those sensations they occur in a context that encourages you to interpret your reaction as due to some emotion—say, fear, anger, happiness, or sexual attraction—even though there is no actual cause for that emotion. In that sense your experience would be an emotional illusion.
To demonstrate this phenomenon, Schachter and Singer created two different artificial emotional contexts—one “happy,” one “angry” —and studied the physiologic aroused volunteers who were placed in those situations. The researchers’ goal was to see whether those scenarios could be used to “trick” the volunteers into having an emotion that the psychologists themselves had chosen.
Subliminal, How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior
Leonard Mlodinow 2012
Cribb Comment: Several experiments have been performed to explore and examine the validity of this theory. The results have strongly suggested that most people are not perceptive or engaged enough with reality to even accurately understand the root cause of their emotions. In other words, they make shit up that fits into the “reality” that they prefer to believe or that happens to be pervasive in the herd so that they can comfortably conform. It further logically follows that this psychological maneuver is the linchpin enabler of withdrawal and withdrawal is the primary means of avoiding auto-corrective objective reality to maintain persistent excusable or justifiable delusion.
I suggest that the highly aware who also most often happen to be the non-conforming, feel alone in the presence of the herd because the herd demands conformity (consciously and/or subconsciously) and obliteration of such individual awareness. The aware non-conformist seeks union and true socialization (genuine engagement and interaction with others), but the herd only pretends to participate in such behavior. The non-conformist wants to participate in a genuine and meaningful conversation or experience, while the herd seems to be in a continuous process of attempting to out-mundane one another in meaningless banter and base amusement. Trying to genuinely interact with the thespians of the herd while being the sole outlier entrapped within their production of overwhelming pretend and artificial behavior produces an unresolvable skism in the psyche of alienation, disappointment, confusion, and the feeling of being an unrelatable abomination to the rule/norm, even if that rule/norm isn’t anything more than some empty pervasive drama. The false feeling and perception of not enjoying “the company of others” which often confounds the nonconforming outlier is in actually the feeling of being frustrated by having to endure intolerable hollow, superficial, and meaningless interaction of this no sustenance “pep rally play” with those others. And despite the obvious nature of all of this waste of sharing reality and negation of commingling sustenance, the supreme sin remains only the act of letting your poker face and poker posture fail to maintain and enable the illusion of your joyous participation in that damned “pep rally play.”
When the highly aware are alone or in a true pack of stability and acceptance, aka a pack founded on non-delusional respect, they spread their wings and they soar, individually and collectively, in embracing the graces and wonders of existence that are meant to be celebrated by all of us on a continuous basis. Genuine union and transcendence with others is the key as opposed to the pretend/fake pseudo-union with others that most prop up as being the supreme manifestation of our social engagement and expression of brotherly love.
To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colors. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink or a cup of coffee, disguised as a triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still—just at that moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naive or a prig—the hint will come. It will be the hint of something, which is not quite in accordance with the technical rules of fair play, something that the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand. Something which even the outsiders in your own profession are not apt to make a fuss about, but something, says your new friend, which “we”—and at the word “we” you try not to blush for mere pleasure—something “we always do.” And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man’s face—that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face—turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude; it may end in millions, a peerage and giving prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.
This statement is my version or evolution of an original quote by Robert Bly. His original quote reads “Our parents rejected who we were before we could talk.” The quote is made in reference to the “shadow” aspect of our divided soul/psyche. A short quote from A Little Book on the Human Shadow (1988) reads:
The drama is this. We came as infants “trailing clouds of glory,” arriving from the farthest reaches of the universe, bringing with us appetites well preserved from our mammal inheritance, spontaneities wonderfully preserved from our 150,000 years of tree life, angers well preserved from our 5,000 years of tribal life—in short, with our 360-degree radiance—and we offered this gift to our parents. They didn’t want it. They wanted a “nice girl or a nice boy.” That’s the first act of the drama.
In a crude, boyish way, he had begun to get the hang of this money-business. At an earlier age than most people he grasped that all modern commerce is a swindle. Curiously enough, it was the advertisements in the Underground stations that first brought it home to him. He little knew, as the biographers say, that he himself would one day have a job in an advertising firm. But there was more to it than the mere fact that business is a swindle. What he realized, and more clearly as time went on, was that money-worship has been elevated into a religion. Perhaps it is the only real religion—the only really felt religion—that is left to us. Money is what God used to be. Good and evil have no meaning any longer except failure and success. Hence the profoundly significant phrase, to make good. The decalogue has been reduced to two commandments. One for the employers—the elect, the money-priest-hood as it were—”Thou shalt make money”; the other for the employed—the slaves and underlings—”Thou shalt not lose thy job.” It was about this time that he came across The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and read about the starving carpenter who pawns everything but sticks to his aspidistra. The aspidistra became a sort of symbol for Gordon after that. The aspidistra, flower of England! It ought to be on our coat of arms instead of the lion and the unicorn. There will be no revolution in England while there are aspidistras in the windows.
It bears repeating that we are not attributing any particular nobility or, for that matter, ignobility to foragers. Some behaviors that seem normal to contemporary people would quickly destroy many small-scale foraging societies, rendering them dysfunctional. Unrestrained self-interest in particular, whether expressed as food-hoarding or excessive sexual possessiveness, is a direct threat to group cohesion and is therefore considered shameful and ridiculous.
Is there any doubt that societies can reshape such impulses?
Right now, girl’s necks are being elongated ring by brass ring in parts of Thailand and Burma to make them more appealing to men. Clitorises are being cut away and labia sewn together in villages all over North Africa to dampen female desire, while in glamorous California, reduction labioplasty and other cosmetic vaginal surgeries have recently become a booming business. Elsewhere, the penises of boys are being circumcised or split open in ritualistic subincision. You get the point.
From savoring saliva beer or cow blood milkshakes to wearing socks with sandals, there is little doubt that people are willing to think, feel, wear, do, and believe pretty much anything if their society assures them it’s normal.
Social forces that convince people to stretch their necks beyond the breaking point, schmush the heads of their infants, or sell their daughters into sacred prostitution are quite capable of reshaping or neutralizing sexual jealousy by rendering it silly and ridiculous. By rendering it abnormal.
What replaces the sense of natural community in The Crucible, as perhaps in Nazi Germany and, on a different scale, 1950’s America, is a sense of participating in a ritual, of conformity to a ruling orthodoxy and hence a hostility to those who threaten it.The purity of one’s religious principles is confirmed by collaborating, at least by proxy, in the punishment of those who reject them. Racial identity is reinforced by eliminating those who might “contaminate” it, as one’s Americanness is underscored by identifying those who could be said to be un-American. In the film version of his play, Miller, free now to expand and deepen the social context of the drama, chose to emphasize the illusory sense of community: “The CROWD’s urging rises to angry crescendo. HANGMAN pulls a crude lever and the trap drops and the two fall. THE CROWD is delirious with joyful, gratifying unity.”
Alexis de Tocqueville identified the pressure toward conformity even in the early years of the Republic. It was a pressure acknowledged equally by Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson, and Thoreau. When Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt abandons his momentary rebellion to return to his conformist society, he is described as being “almost tearful with joy.” Miller’s alarm, then is not his alone, nor is his sense of the potentially tyrannical power of shared myths that appear to offer absolution to those who accept them. If his faith in individual conscience as a corrective is also not unique, it is, perhaps, harder to sustain in the second half of a century that has seen collective myths exercising a coercive power, in America and Europe.