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Verbiage: The difference between emotions and feelings

Chacham (981) writes | about 10 years ago

User Journal 2

van der Hoop in Types of Concious Orientation (considerably cheaper here) in chapter 5 "Feeling And The Feeling Types" (starting on page 70) lists four differences between "emotions" and "feelings".

van der Hoop in Types of Concious Orientation (considerably cheaper here) in chapter 5 "Feeling And The Feeling Types" (starting on page 70) lists four differences between "emotions" and "feelings".

The following are direct quotes. The ellipses are added by me meaning that i am skipping. Strangely enough, the first one is listed before he makes his list (page 69), and thus doesn't make it part of the list.

  • intuition is able to grasp certain manifestations on the part of another individual as a whole, the image of these being later labelled as the concept of a certain emotion (e.g. fear or anger). When these same emotions are experienced in ourselves, they appear quite different. When we feel fear or anger we may not ourselves be aware of the part this is playing in our experience,1 but it is expressed in that experience and in our actions. We are, it is true, aware of something, but supposing, when the emotion had passed, someone enquires, "Why were you so cross?", or, "Why were you afraid?", it becomes evident that the emotion as experienced at the time, and the subsequent awareness of it, which enables us to attach a label to it, are two quite different forms of conscious experience. Recognition and classification take place in quite a different mental sphere from that of the experience itself.
  • If we compare ... anger with idnignation, we note that in the two latter cases there is a much more definite structure. ... anger may be expressed in very various forms, while ... indignation aim much more at a definite form of expression. Thus feeling is more plastic than emotion.
  • feeling possesses a much closer association with its object. It is possible to vent one's wrath on another person or on to an animal, but indignation cannot so easily be displaced ... Feeling seeks a certain plastic relationship with a certain object. ... A feeling may thus be expressed in many kinds of emotion. " When a man has acquired the sentiment of love for a person or other object, he is apt to experience tender emotion in its presence, fear or anxiety when it is in danger, anger when it is threatened, sorrow when it is lost, joy when the object prospers or is restored to him, gratitude towards him who does good to it, and so on."1
  • In an emotional state the ego is passive; we are carried away by an emotional manifestation, but in feeling we take a much more active part. ... the influence of the object on feeling was a certain desired relationship; that of the ego is, on the other hand, a certain attitude developing under the influence of feeling. This does not mean that we need be consciously aware, when experiencing a feeling, of that attitude or of that relationship in a discursive way, as separate entities; ... Awareness of these factors reinforces the attitude of the ego, and in this way
    an emotional manifestation may be transformed into a feeling. A short example may illustrate this. A boy may, in his rough play, hurt his younger brother in his violence. His mother tells him he is naughty, and points out what he has done. On another occasion
    when beginning to play in a similar way, he may become aware that this means being "naughty". This implies that he is seeing his behaviour intuitively as a whole, involving a certain kind of behaviour towards his environment; and if in spite of this he persists, he will also become more or less aware of a certain attitude towards this environment. It is possible that this attitude was already there, unconsciously, but the fact of becoming conscious of it makes a great difference, because his ego is now involved.
  • Feeling expresses something of more or less constant worth to us... From the many forms of contact with the world, our feeling selects those which have a certain personal significance for us, and seeks to guard and elaborate them. Feelings are not only emotional attitudes, but attitudes to which we cling, and which we cultivate. ... Suppose that a young man is hurrying along a busy street, and somebody gets in his way: his first emotional reaction may be that of vexation; but if he perceives that the object of his annoyance is a child, or someone very frail, an instinctual reaction of sympathy may be aroused. These opposing emotions may then fuse to form an attitude of feeling, prompting him to guide the helpless creature before him to a safer place. This attitude of wanting to help and guide may then express itself in action; if not, the inclination may give rise to a fantasy of such an action. Feelings have value for us, because they combine various inclinations in a form which renders it possible to express them, devoid of inner contradiction.

1 To become aware of an emotion may mean that its activity is intensified or diminished, according to what is happening at the moment in the other spheres of mental activity.

1 A. F. Shand, The Foundation of Character

So Feeling

  • the person can be aware of during the experience
  • has a definite structure
  • is associated with an object
  • uses an active ego
  • expresses something of constant worth

As Spock would say "fascinating".

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That's pretty interesting... (1)

LinuxParanoid (64467) | about 10 years ago | (#10078262)

I hadn't appreciated the distinction between emotions and feelings that the author elaborates on... but I think there's some merit to it. I've become a student of my emotions the last five years so its an interesting topic for me. Thanks for passing it on!

--LP

Re:That's pretty interesting... (1)

Chacham (981) | about 10 years ago | (#10082641)

Sure, glad i could be of service. :)

He has much more to say on the topic of Feelings, but those are the differences he lists.

Jung has a slightly different bent, which he disagrees with. I think he misunderstood Jung (both here, and by N being unconcious). I think they are both correct, just different vantage points.

And studying emotions gets easier when you are studying a feeling. The ego allows it to be done, and being an "insider" on feelings, but not emotions, certainly helps.
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