Sunday, May 08, 2016

Pico Iyer redux

from Krista Tippett's interview with Pico Iyer (I recommend you listen to the whole thing):

These areas seemed particularly worth pointing out.

1. Failure of intellect.  Sounds harsh, but despite everything that rational knowledge has brought to benefit life for humans, it seems what really counts is beyond technical analysis; for example, Love.
I think that everything important in my life has not come through my mind, but through my spirit or my being or my heart. Everything I trust, whether it's the people I love or the values I cherish or the places that have moved me, have come at some much deeper level than the mind. And I sometimes think the mind makes lots of complications over what is a much more beautiful and transparent encounter with the world. So I suppose I've tried to run away from everything I associate with the intellect.

a map of emotions

When the Dalai Lama makes a move, people pay attention:  An atlas of emotions,  part of a wider effort to understand emotions and use that understanding to reduce suffering in the world.

Certainly it is an honorable goal, to reduce suffering, but among the tools and studies of emotion, Lisa Barrett has done some importantt work developing alternative interpretations to Ekman's work:

More study is needed on the entire topic of emotion, and alternative approaches are more important than ever.

Ekman's atlas shows five major moods:  Fear, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, and Enjoyment.   Among these categories, it is tragic that only one of them (20%) is a happy one.  I wonder if this is reflection of our times, or of humanity in general?  The atlas maps out certain ideas, and is described as a tool to finding inner peace, but I'm not sure how it applies to me individually, nor how I can use it to find my own inner peace.

Perhaps what is needed is not so much a map, as a better understanding of what emotions are,  how individuals experience it, and how emotions affect our behavior and our internal happiness.