Real and fake emotions

Some time ago I saw an online article by a man who’s cat died. He said that some time previously he was incapacitated and laid on a couch for much of the day. The cat would sit with him. He became very attached to the cat which was his only companion and was always there to give comfort. When the cat died he was devastated. He said it hit him harder than when his father died.

The responses to his article were split: most were sympathetic, and as someone who lost a cat that was my companion I could empathise with him. However, a large minority condemned him as being heartless. How could someone miss a cat more that their own father?

I’ve seen similar responses to articles where the writer expressed empathy to an animal above people.

Emotions are not logical. If they were they wouldn’t be emotions. What we feel often doesn’t align with what we would expect to feel or what others think we should feel. In this politically correct world we are told what we should feel. For instance, we should be indignant about racism and accepting of transgendered people. I’m not arguing with people who feel one way or the other, I’m simply remarking that people should acknowledge their own feelings and not suppress them to comply with someone else’s agenda.

One of the results of this intellectualisation of the emotions is that real emotions become secondary to fake emotions. Someone who can express anger over racism or can cry over a perceived injustice done to a transgendered person is lauded. If a business is accused of racism there is no sympathy and probably no way to defend itself. Often (in fact I would say usually), the people who shout the loudest about how people should feel are those who have no real contact with their true emotions. This is true on an individual level and is true in politics.

Politicians know how to use this for their own ends. Whenever a politician talks about feelings or empathising with a certain group, or how the government should be compassionate, you can be sure that this is said only as a cynical way to entice people who are uncertain, and possibly guilty, about their own emotions. A government can’t be compassionate. Compassion is a feeling. A government can’t feel — it can only do. Similarly, society can’t feel or have opinions. When politicians talk about the feelings of society they are talking about their representation of how they think the people in society feel. Even polls don’t elicit a true picture. The fact that the media refer disparagingly to ‘populist’ parties who have the popular vote shows that they are happy to disregard the real opinions of people when their emotionally driven opinions go against politically correct views.

By Philip Braham on .



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