Saturday, October 03, 2009

Paper Hangover


I am finally done with my paper! I have to read it again to make sure that I am really making sense but i have to read it another time so I can have a more different way of looking at it. I really liked the article by Frijda on Laws of Emotions because I really think that these Laws apply for me. I have also read Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy and their ideas really match. Even the book of Stephen Covey called Seven Habits of Highly Effective People essentially say almost the same thing. I like it that Frijda though she said that these laws are mechanisms for us to feel emotions, we can choose to be above them by using our imagination. This was seconded by Covey when he said that the only thing that separates us from animals is our imagination and consciousness. Our ability to react differently from what nature dictates to us is the natural reaction. Frankl also mentioned this; At the end of the day, when you are naked and humiliated, what you have left to live for is simply your future. Future of course may be in the form a sweetheart, a book waiting to be published or just freedom. Regardless, it is something that you look forward to, something you live for to experience. This brings to mind what my brother said years ago, he said, if you want to make a man unhappy, give the man all that he dreams of. It may be true, for after you get all you dream of, what else have you to live for. Perhaps this is the reason why human is programmed to keep on wanting more, most of the time to a fault. If we stop wanting, we just might have nothing to live for.

Another point that was raised is the fact that there is what is called Hedonic Asymmetry. This says that joy is not felt as long as sorrow is felt. When you feel liberty after years of captivity, the length of time that you will experience joy because of freedom is not as long as you have experienced anguish and sorrow in prison. This is a bit sad, however Frijda said, humans are not programmed to be happy but rather they are programmed for survival.

Another sad thing I got from Frijda is that we will succumb to habituation. This is the reason why love loses its magic. We get used to the feeling that it is no longer exciting anymore. Love is then taken for granted. This however, is the reason why we feel numb after being shown certain things we cannot stomach before. This was how the holocaust victims were able to survive their horrendous experiences during the war. This is, unfortunately, also the reason why the soldiers were able to nonchalantly torture and kill innocent people. This disturbed them at first but eventually, they get used to it. This is the sad way humans have been programmed so that humans may survive. Frijda, noted that we can rise above this by imagining how it was before. This however is unnatural and requires a great deal of conscious effort.

Schadenfreude was also mentioned in the paper of Frijda as an emotion. This was mentioned in Avenue Q as joy in other people's misery. Humans are also plagued by the Law of Comparison. We compare our situation with others and if they are better off we feel bad about ourselves. This seems to say that we are doomed to be unhappy species. It seems that we have been programmed to be sad.

I do not have a Psychology background. These are just some of the things that I have read. It saddens me that this is how we seemed to have been programmed. As much as I would like to say I am above these laws. I feel that most of the laws apply to me. I am not above them. Sadly too, there are moments in my life when I did not even try to rise above these laws.

I realize tonight that I am, while I have ineffable freedom, enslaved by the basic instinct of my psyche. How sad.

On the brighter side of things:

They say Pepeng already changed course and may leave earlier than predicted. *yey!* Please do leave and do not come back.

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