Can We Ever Know Anything Purely Through Emotion? How Do Emotions Interact with Reason, Sense Perception and Language? Essay
In my opinion I do not think that we can know anything purely through emotion because emotions are “reactions or responses related to sense perceptions, internal states, thoughts or beliefs about things or people, real or imagined. ” (Emotion as a WOK, Mondelli) Also emotions without the other three areas of knowledge emotions would have no way of expression because to be able to recognize what you feel you have to have logic and reason.
To be able to feel your emotions you have to have your sense perception.
To be able to say what you feel to yourself and other people around you have to know the correct language and be able to communicate those feelings and emotions. However some people may argue that you can know things purely through emotion if you believe that emotion and instinct are one and the same.
For example we know that animals have instincts they follow based on something they feel inside that has been inlaid into their subconscious by the generations before them and experiences they have had.
Now some people say that those instincts are emotions that are at the very core primal that there is no explanation of how they know to flee before they can see a predator, there is just something deep inside their brain that says to flee. That instinct to flee is an emotion without reason, sense perception, or language they just know.
Also people have these emotions, instincts but due to civilization and progress in the world the primal instincts that used to rule our ancestors the nomads millions of years ago no longer are as innate and prominent in people as they are in animals and because of that people base our knowledge of emotions on reason, sense perception, and language. Emotions interact with reason in the way that reason and logic allow us to recognize and understand what our emotions are. “Reasoning allows us to judge whether a reaction “makes sense” in its’ context. (Emotion as a WOK, Mondelli) I know that when I am working on a really hard math problem I get frustrated very easily but when I reason with myself and get my emotions under control I can take that frustration and turn it into productive emotions to work my hardest to understand the problem; “Reasoning clearly is to be able to potentially exercise control and restraint to our actions. ” (Emotion as a WOK, Mondelli) So reason plays a major part in how we decipher our emotions and also how we cope with our emotions as well.
Without reason being involved in our emotions people’s emotions would just run rampant and wild; unchecked and uncontrolled like this quote says; “Emotions can cause irrational behavior. ” (Emotion as a WOK, Mondelli) However some people say that there is no reason to emotion what so ever because emotions are feelings that are spontaneous that cannot be controlled no matter how you think of them no matter what you do to try to control them you cannot.
Also some people say reason is superior to emotion and not involved in any way what so ever; “There is often an implicit assumption that emotion and reasoning are opposed to each other. Western philosophers say that reason is superior to emotion. ” (Emotion as a WOK, Mondelli) Emotions interact with language in the way that in order to be able to say what you feel to yourself and other people around you have to know the correct language and be able to communicate those feelings and emotions. The ability to give names to emotions and speak of them with others indicates an emotional life shared with others and understood in terms of the classification given by our own particular language. Language and perception together contributes to our understanding. ” (Emotion as a WOK, Mondelli) An example of how language influences emotion is in the case of the Jim Jones followers. Whenever Jones spoke to his followers he used charismatic and persuasive language to draw them in and convince them of his views.
When he would leave Jonestown he would play recordings of his speeches over the loud speaker at the compound all day every day. When they were sleeping, working, talking to friends, relaxing and even when they would go to the bathroom. The effectiveness of playing those recordings with the carefully chosen words and phrases in them to bring together his ideals eventually lead to Jim Jones having full control over his congregation; so much so that he was able to convince almost near one thousand of his followers to commit mass suicide.
The Emotions that his language invoked in his followers gave him power beyond belief. Language plays a very important role in how we interpret, understand and control our emotions or in the case of the Jonestown people relinquish control of their emotions due to the use of persuasive language. Also another example of how language plays a major role in emotion is in literature, more specifically poetry. In John Donne’s poem A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning the language that he uses creates a very light and open feeling inside of me when I read it.
It sounds very elegant and beautiful to read and makes me feel very happy inside. “Our two souls therefore, which are one, Though I must go, endure not yet A breach, but an expansion, Like gold to aery thinness beat. If they be two, they are two so 2 As stiff twin compasses are two ; Thy soul, the fix’d foot, makes no show To move, but doth, if th’ other do. And though it in the centre sit, Yet, when the other far doth roam, It leans, and hearkens after it, And grows erect, as that comes home. Such wilt thou be to me, who must, Like th’ other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just, And makes me end where I begun. ” (Donne, 21-36) The language and word choice invokes emotions of love and happiness in the reader because the way he says that no matter where we are, no matter how far the distance our love will stretch across the distance and will always be there no matter what happens makes it seem much more romantic than how I just said it. Sense perception is also very important when it comes to emotion because without sense perception we would not be able to feel our emotions. Senses allow us to gather sensations from outside and inside our bodies, and to observe both our own physical responses and behavior of others. Admittedly it is not obvious. We cannot see “sadness” like the color red, but through body language we can perceive emotions. ” (Emotion as a WOK, Mondelli) I know that I am nervous when my throat gets dry, my ears start to ring, and my eyes keep darting around the room. My senses alert me that I am nervous, they give me all of these signs which allow me to interpret that I am in fact nervous and not angry or sad.
I know that my feelings are something that I cannot see like a color but with sense perception it is easier to understand what your emotions are because your senses provide with different sensations for you different emotions like being able to tell when you are nervous. I do not think that you can know something purely by emotion because you have to be able to know what your emotions are and in order to be able to understand your emotions you have to know how to interpret your emotions using sense perception, language, and logic and reason.
However there are other opinions such as emotions being instincts, primal instincts that are just known and are something that cannot be learned. Altogether it is a matter of opinion that can only be made based on your idea of emotion and what you feel, sense, and reason to be true. Word Count: 1, 329 Works Cited Mondelli. “Emotion as a Way of Knowing. ” Theory of Knowledge. Campbell High School, Smyrna. 23 Feb. 2012. Lecture. “John Donne – Poems. ” Poemhunter. com. The World’s Poetry Archive, 2004. Web. 16 Mar. 2012.