Reason 101 - Pillar 9: Passion

This pillar of reason was originally entitled "emotion," but I wanted to suggest the relation between mind and body was such that zeal for life is logically connected to reason.

Our feelings are how we experience the world.  An emotion is "the psychosomatic form in which man experiences some estimate of reality in relation to himself."  These feelings can be consistent with our conclusions or, sometimes, inconsistent.

Unfortunately, most people have not fully evolved to natural reason, so conflicts are common.  For example, you run into a young woman who appeals to you and who likes you, but she has a different religion and your mother has told you you cannot fall in love with someone outside your faith.  You have a conflict between desire (in this case quite consistent with reason) and what the authority in your head tells you.

You can turn that example around, too:  You are excited by a woman who your family tells you, with justification, is a floozie.  But your feelings are not consistent with that.

It’s no secret that love and sex are where most emotional conflicts occur.

In the history of philosophy, a conflict called the mind-body dichotomy has been central to religion.  Formal Catholicism, say, tends to instill in its adherents the idea that the flesh is weak and sinful.  Nevertheless, the flesh you are aware of is full of excitement, the most intense pleasure.

Correspondingly, religion instills the notion that self-denial and pure acts of self-sacrifice in something wholly nonphysical are the highest goals man can attain.  Like listening to Bach.  [hey, I like Bach!  - Ed.]  Yet these activities fill us with no joy whatsoever.

The body/physical we enjoy but it’s sinful, the mind/spiritual we don’t enjoy but it’s virtuous.

There are other ways people can suffer conflict between reason and emotion.  Psychotherapy may be required to sort out what our minds tell us we should feel and what we actually do feel.  The integration of reason and emotion is something that makes true happiness possible.

Are we good to go or not?  If we are, then we have a real passion for engaging in creative, loving behavior.  And a real passion for justice, as well., Reason 101

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