After having published the previous post, I learned that I inadequately examined one of my leading assumptions. My assumption was that you cannot feel fear and love at the same time. That is, you cannot feel them as emotions. This led me on a journey to understand how people see emotions.
I’ve conducted a Marxist experiment, among others, to determine how people view the emotions of fear and love when those are mixed together. Out of 31 individuals I interviewed, only 4 answered on the question like I did, that love and fear, as emotions, cannot be experienced simultaneously. That’s a whopping 13%, and I believe there are even less of us in the general population. I am writing this post to try to explain the differences in our views.
Early on, people started to confuse divine love for fear of God also known as reverence or awe. Even while Apostle John wrote that love is fearless and knowledge (or understanding) and love are closely related through us and within us to God, people continued their ambivalent mix of emotions toward each other and God. But listen to John here: “God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. . . . God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! . . . There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.” (See for more 1 John 4:7-21, “The Message”.) There he also said that, “We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.” Notice that John lived at the time before the early Enlightenment when Rene Descartes successfully (as people take this now for granted without being aware of what truly happened) reduced our understanding of soul to mind. Our emotions were subsequently reduced to thoughts alone.
Basing myself on the Gospel of John, I don’t understand just loving in words (or thoughts). But you might think that such divine love as described by John is not possible for us, imperfect humans, right? And when you come home to your spouse and kids and tell them that you “love them” and live with them happily ever after, you think it is emotional love, but it’s really not. I am talking about a real situation that involves a dynamic relationship. The key words are “situation” and “dynamic.” I don’t care how you feel about your spouse or job in the long run, unless it produces emotions in the short run, like, right now. It works by causal relationships of you to reality and back.
Now let’s take an idealized heavenly state of love and bring it down to this earth. What happens with people is that they confuse emotions with their subjective thoughts. For example, taking physical, sexual arousement for love (considering that you want this kind of love) is so much more realistic than merely considering thoughts of lust and sexual fantasies alone before their enactment as emotions (of excitement). After all, such thoughts may not affect your physical state, and then they should not be considered emotions.
The key question to ask in the situations mentioned is this: How does it affect your immediate emotions/relationship with your spouse? If there is no effect, it is not an emotion. Emotions are change, motion, energy, dynamism. Emotions are not stability, predictability, automatism, boredom.
The subjective “modes,” or moods, are indeed complex but only because they are metaphysical and hence illusionary. I am looking for physical emotions, not the imaginary metaphysical ones people are (merely) talking about (such as what sadists might like). When I love, I should not say that “I love.” Loving is showing your love, experiencing it, not merely reflecting or remarking on it in any way. A remark (or an initiation of thought about it) can kill the flow of experiencing true love. Words can kill emotions, if words replace emotions or get emotions reduced to them. However, words can also generate emotions, if you have none at the moment. I hope you are feeling something when you are reading this.
HeartMath’s response about emotions
I’ve asked Dr. Rollin McCraty, the director of research at HeartMath Institute, about this topic and received an interesting reply in a private conversation with him (shared here with his permission). He mentioned that, “In the more pure or higher vibrational states of love, fear or other depleting emotions are not present, but in the level of consciousness that currently exists on earth, they can indeed both be present at the same time.”
I understand this that, as I argued in the post on the cyclical nature of our history since the times of Judaism, the chaos of our history materialized in the way people feel emotions. By merging opposite emotions, we really only lose our sense of life and ourselves as discreet identities in an inseparable and dynamic relation to the world. The subjective states in our minds are not always reflected upon our hearts, and it also makes them difficult to measure.
Dr. McCraty explained that “we do not yet know how well physiological measures will be able to discriminate discrete states or mixtures of emotional states. We are hoping to look at this very issue much deeper in the near future.” His excitement in this new, developing research venue is reinforced by the explicit expression of his belief: “I believe that in the future the technology to measure ones energetic state will become available, and this is what will make possible much more refined measures of emotions.”
Love in context
Now let’s return to the difficult topic at hand. Most of us want to feel emotions but not understand them. There is an expression of many walking right now on the streets, driving in a transport, meeting with their loved ones, and all with the same desire – to smile as if it is only a skin reflex, not even a reaction, just a reflex of something given, taken for granted, and uncontested. Maybe we do not pay attention to our emotions inside and pay too much attention to the wishes on the outside. What are, then, emotions? Perhaps you believe that the desire to feel an emotion is the emotion? If you want it enough, then there is no need, or is this itself the need – the desire to feel? The desire outruns and then conquers experience; desires is everything that is required of us by our bodies.
Experiencing the lives of others in works of art, we appropriate to ourselves what does not belong to us spiritually, and that which was only material remains material. And we live with hope for real emotions, for soul, which is lacking or even missing. With belief that leads to a sweet and irrevocable oblivion, with no emotions and none of their understanding, there is only Nirvana; nothing is sacred but only desire, hope, and belief… in inhuman love, which can never be adequately represented (unless by pure reason alone). Of course, such of us who may believe only in divine emotions or not even believe in human love may still all believe that it is possible to simultaneously feel both fear and love. However, everything that they feel is a semblance of emotion, a mentally projected image of it without an inner experience. It’s a representation, an empty shell, lacking meaning and substance beyond its function, like a hologram. And so, feeling fear, we think that we also love, imagining ourselves as others or escaping from our own miseries.
But how and is this in any way related to our concepts of God? We shall see to it later.
 His own words were, “You are ahead of your time!”