A more practical guide to living

Those who consider people “social animals,” by distorting Aristotle’s view, jump stage two and improperly form relationships. Their relationships for the sake of relationships, based on selfless dependence on a partner, either do not last long or are a thoroughly painful experience through which they patiently live their whole wretched lives. People who are merely bodies by themselves but relationships when with others miss a crucial component: consciousness.

A human being needs to have a developing consciousness, that is, a developing mind and soul, to be a complete human being and not regress toward animals they believe themselves to be, or as merely a cogwheel in a grey mass. But just as there should not be blind faith in a materialist science, so should there be no lame beliefs in a singularity of consciousness (of stage two) or the fragmenting reduction of relationships into independent entities. There would not be consciousness without relationships, for relationships are fundamental to the formation of consciousness.[1] Relationships are human context.

How do we apply theory of relations to life?

You can live for yourself and others, but not necessarily at the same time. For example, when you are at home by yourself you may be living for yourself, when at work–for others. Your self-interest at work is implicit–you love providing services that make others (and thus yourself) happy. You would not tell your client that you won’t serve them unless you are paid first. Your interests are served in the long run; the client’s–in the short run. And this applies to anything in life.

Everything is contextual, that is, spatiotemporal. When you are with friends, your interests are stimulated at one time and your friends’ at another. But when your interests are shared, that is called a relationship. A relationship with mental and emotional coherence is called a friendship or a partnership. The integrated way to perceive others is especially evident in how we perceive our friends mentally as well as emotionally.

Connections constitute relationships. These relationships can be strong, such as intracommunal bonds in social capital, or weak, such as intercommunal bridges between individuals in different communities. A connection is initiated by one’s free will. It starts with an emotional perception of another (through one’s heart and soul) and feeling the other’s response to your action. Once the emotional connection is established, the mental connection is underway to find whether your thought patterns cohere. Once coherence is found in both emotional and mental connections, a full relationship is established. Thus, relationships are both emotional and mental.

Emotions are automatic when they are directed at anything without consciousness.[2] For example, you may like watching particular movies, and your emotions are automatically positive with these movies and negative with others. However, whenever another conscious person is involved, there may be an overlap of emotions because emotions are, through relational connections, reflected upon each constituent member of a collective, whether it’s a friendship, family, community, or the entire society. The more emotional connections there are, the more difficult to define emotions as automatic. For example, if a good friend wants to watch a movie with you–even a movie that you hate–you might actually get positive emotions from that movie while watching it with your friend.

The same perception applies to other people. You may like a particularly handsome person and do not like another with some other characteristic (e.g., sexually speaking), but if some handsome person is cold and ignores you or is even negative to you, whereas a less attractive person is happy and you like the emotions that they express, you would get more positive emotions from the latter. Whenever people enter the equation of “emotions are automatic from mind,” things get a lot more interesting than originally thought.

The problem with materialists who believe in bodily relationships and believe in emotions being purely mental is that they feed matter with their consciousness and thus lose themselves. They may also become easily lost in a behavior directed at some physical object. Whenever a lot of emotional and mental energy is spent on mindless objects (e.g., when obsessively caring for cars, collecting books, etc.), you build an unconscious relationship with those objects and have them enthrall your feelings and diminish your consciousness (as happened to the fictional character Chick from Froth on the Daydream).

Another caustic tendency is trying to break or throw away the already formed identity of self that is potentially corrupted by faulty habits. But however badly you conceive of yourself, I do not recommend replacing your identity with an unformed one. What needs to be done instead is getting involved in relationships with others in order to straighten the relationship to your own self. And this is the healing power of emotional bonds built by relationships. In these bonds lay our souls that help us see.

What is emotional perception?

Some believe that when we look at others, we only perceive them in our mental states. So, for example, when a person is smiling, we register the motion as a smile associated with our concept of smile in our minds. This applies to all facial or nonverbal expressions. The issue here is that these are merely expressions and not necessarily the expressions of actual emotions–in fact, there may be a total lack of emotions beneath a smile. Some of us with a more developed emotional faculty (i.e., soul or sense of life), can see differences between genuine and fake smiles. And in real life contact this is done not merely through the image of eyes. There is a depth of emotional connotations that we can feel in people, especially our close ones and friends.

When a relationship is healthy, we can sometimes understand our loved ones without words. We can get facts about their emotional states by simply connecting with our loved ones through emotions. When our relationship is pathological, the emotional component breaks down and we feel abandoned, fragmented, and not in sync. You can perceive whether your connections are weakening and react appropriately towards the end of one’s perception. And if you don’t love people as they are–you won’t understand how their strengths and weaknesses affect you.

As I have shown in the previous post, the components of consciousness are soul and mind, and they are developing simultaneously. These are our emotional and cognitive faculties, respectively–they are inseparable but distinct. In this post I elaborated on how we use our oft ignored emotional faculty. Now with the complete comprehension of the concept of self in mind, the new ethical oath should be: “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will always live for my own sake.” And as Aristotle correctly believed, ethics indeed follows into politics, as you shall see later.

[1] To summarize what I wrote in my previous post, note that in order to form the concept of “self,” one needs the word, its definition referring to one’s body and thus building a relationship to it, and the observance of conscious relationships of others (the facts of “third-person” consciousness). Conceptually relating to others is fundamental to relating to one’s self.

[2] When thinking about emotions, consider this definition: Emotion is a change in heart-rate that is embodied in a pulsation of the blood tissue, which is a part of the circulatory system regulated by the heart.

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