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Don't Trust Your Feelings, Luke!

Posted by twayneking on Thursday, August 17, 2017

like this

This is is not politics, nor religion. Call it philosophy or education or philosophy of education. Whatever!  I keep getting called ugly names by people who don't know me because of my political orientation. If I had an alternative sexual orientation I'd have been alright. The persons in question would, in fact, have defended me for that, but because my "label" makes them feel uncomfortable. It can't be right.

I blame George Lucas and the Romantic Poets. For many generations now we have been telling kids that feelings were important. The romantic poets started it off with the inane idea of courtly love - 90% emotion and 10% stupidity. George Lucas finished it off by having Obi Wan Kenobi give Luke Skywalker the second most inane idea "Trust your feelings, Luke."

Feelings cannot be trusted unless properly trained. Let me 'splain.

You want to learn to hit a baseball but you've never done it before. You take a swing. It feels awkward. You swing again, your brain working feverishly to try and adjust the trajectory of the bat by making adjustments to your finger pressure on the handle at the opposite end of the bat from the end you are trying to hit the ball with. It's a difficult task and at first it appears awkward.

But after repeating the process over and over and over again, eventually you get good at connecting with the ball. When you do finally get it right, when you swing correctly it just feels right. It's actually a positive emotional response that lets you know more quickly that you're doing it right. It saves your brain time by building thicker neuron pathways that trigger proper bat swinging. It skips the upper brain pretty much altogether and goes straight to the brain stem. After that, you swing the bat almost without thinking. When you feel good about the bat and ball coming together, you're probably swinging the bat correctly and way more likely to connect with a solid hit.

We train all our emotional responses that way. Even responses to labels, political opinions, religious beliefs if processed repeatedly come to feel "right".  The more we reinforce our belief systems, the more emotionally attached to them we become and anything that challenges those belief systems provokes a visceral response. The more firmly held the belief, the more powerful the response.

So what we have now are people who feel first and then think and often they never quite get to the bit about thinking.

This is how holocausts happen.

© 2017 by Tom King

7 comments on “Don't Trust Your Feelings, Luke!”

twayneking Says:
Friday, August 25, 2017 @12:35:04 AM

Whoa, whoa, whoa feeeeeeeelin's....

frailin Says:
Thursday, August 31, 2017 @7:05:38 AM

Love this. Brightened my day. Thanks twayne!

twayneking Says:
Thursday, August 31, 2017 @7:30:02 PM

I live to brighten people's days Craig.


frailin Says:
Friday, September 1, 2017 @7:09:44 AM

And you do it well, Tom. :)

JedMarum Says:
Friday, September 1, 2017 @7:25:34 AM

Trust your feelings? I trust my feelings, but I sure don't let them cloud my judgement!!

twayneking Says:
Friday, September 1, 2017 @11:42:44 AM

Good for you. Did you also know that if we didn't have the ability to train our feelings, we could never ever learn to do a bumpy roll and retain the skill. When you get it right, it feels "right" when you're doing it right. As Vince Lomardi once said, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Only Perfect practice makes perfect."

This is something all good banjo players understand.

frailin Says:
Saturday, September 2, 2017 @5:36:56 AM

Youze guys are thinking waaay too much for me. I DO know how I feel about that. :)

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