A Philosophy of Emotions

Colors & Emotions: I presented at Innovations conference, Boston University, 2002. Ashley Wilkie in a UK university blog, promoted the Emotional Chart.

I came into this lifetime with two learning goals: 1.To understand being a woman — I was a man in most past lives, and 2.To understand the emotional mind — I accomplished an intellectual mind as a Roman historian/philosopher in a recent past life. And of course, there are some delightful connections between womanhood and emotional experiences.:smile:

From a very young age and throughout my life I studied my experiences, which was the best learning methodology better than any formal education. Jun Wu, Art of a Medium Article, says, “A personal essay… provides personal experience of the writer.“ @Shelby Marie, The System of Experiences, “Architecture investigates the physical, philosophy grapples with the seemingly invisible. The first experience was the amazing skills the hands could develop — how every finger and muscle was involved, pushing fabric in creating, draping, sewing and engineering fashion clothing. The hands are to the emotional mind (touching, gestures) what language is to the rational mind (speaking, hearing, writing). Before language, primitive man communicated through hand gestures and touching. Today the blind use touching braille to communicate and the deaf use hand gestures. By college I studied what I was studying, especially what I saw and experienced — and became a teacher as well as a known fashion designer. As a teacher I became an empath, studying emotional reactions in my students, and then studying my own emotional reactions within to their reactions. I learned as much from students as they learned from me.

My mother died in 1963 and I was thrown in a mental institution, because I was too emotional about my mother, a psychiatrist said. There’s no memory, everyone at that time was given ECT (Electric Shock Treatments) to rid one of intense emotions. After 20 years studying my anger at psychiatry and the mental health system, and practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM), I became aware of an inner reality and studied the play of emotions within the unconscious. After an intense weekend of TM in 1975 I experienced what I later knew as a spiritual awakening. My family said mental illness, and hospitalized me again with a label of manic-depression.

In John E. Kelly’s Manic-Depression, Illness or Awakening, 1995, he says, “[It is] a psychological process, well documented by Carl Jung, which needs completion to ‘re-set’ the psyche. … The Mental Health system together with Pharmaceutical companies have built a multibillion dollar empire by creating mental illnesses that do not exist”.

At the end of the 19thC and continued into the 20thC, art expressed intense emotions — as in Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. Art leads in the importance of emotions, even with advancing science and technology. John Naisbitt, Hi-Tech Hi-Touch 1982, theorized, “In a world of technology people long for personal human contact”. Mariana Lenharo says, “Depression is still mystifying to researchers”. I replied, “… because drugs are not the answer. Studying our inner mind is the answer.” Elitsa Dermendzhiyska in Sanity of Illusions, says, “The depressed may see things more objectively than the rest of us.”

Emotions are increasingly gaining importance as Daniel Goleman says in Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ, 1995. He explains, “Emotions are impulses to act”. I go further and say E-motion is energy in motion in the inner reality. Goleman also states, “Self-Awareness is attention to one’s inner states”, with a brilliant description: “Emotionally self-aware is recognizing and naming own emotions; understanding the cause of feelings; and recognizing the difference between feelings and actions.” In the 1980s after my awakening, I was intensely involved with self-awareness and my emotions within. Mental research prompted me to design the Institute for Channeling Emotions (ICE) and I put it on my mother’s gravestone. Relatives and friends considered it crazy. It was far ahead of its time. However, a phrase I coined to live by was successfully received. I had learned how to say what to whom.

Awareness is the key to living well — Loving all you see sustains it.

In the 1990s I won some engineering design grants from the National Science Foundation. My intellectual mind came forward. However, it was my creative emotional mind that enabled me to see the world of business, engineering and technology in a compelling different way — beyond those in academia. Feelings are the connective mechanism for things in the mind and memory, including science, technology and business. My friends in a technology group often asked, “How did you connect those things?”

That question remained unanswered until recently studying the philosophy of emotions. How are feelings a connective mechanism? A good example is the experience of a close one’s death, and the sad feelings that remind or connect us to past experiences of deaths with the same feelings. Another example that most people will agree on, is a certain melody that impulse the same feelings when it was played in the past — and sometimes connects events related to it. Amy Grant, a singer, when asked about reactions to her music, says, “I can’t see it but I feel it”. Difficulty arises when describing those feelings. We have great words for describing events that cause the feelings, but little or no words to describe the feelings.

In engineering of fashion patterns, there are often many triangles formed to achieve the curvatures of a woman’s body and clothing — which became a delightful indelible tool in my mind. Everything I did in fashion engineering and production was self-learned from exploration and studying my own mind: feelings of a lift of delight at a successful technical solution or a falling feeling within if the process is not right yet, combined with an inner drive to persist. These feelings are far more complex and varied, and difficult to describe. What I do know it was the same feelings that impulse my creativity forward into successful digital triangulation of 3-D and 4-D technologies in my field.

The same feelings is the energy behind recall, but gets lost when the recall involves the physical senses of vision, sound and actions. I hope that future researchers in emotions may discover the words to communicate to other people what those powerful emotional energies — especially when the same feelings — connect to outer thoughts, events, visions, sounds, etc. in our internal world.

Lets look into what Steven Gambardella says, quoting Kant in A Philosophy that doesn’t need thought: “Time and space are themselves subjective and located in the human mind, not out there in the universe. …We know the world through a ‘synthesis’ of both world and mind”

Deepak Chopra, Discovering the Reality of Consciousness, writes, “Physicists in the quantum world, far beyond the senses, accept such seemingly bizarre notions as reverse causation, creation from nothingness, and 11-dimensional string theory, which reduces all matter and energy to invisible vibrations in a domain that has no time, space, matter, or energy and therefore can be described only through pure mathematics. … Purely physical principles do not explain the human mind. … Far more credible is the notion that consciousness underlies the physical universe, and its unfolding into forms and structures, including life on Earth, has been a conscious evolution. … Waking up is a metaphor for the conscious life, and the conscious life is what wisdom leads to. … Humans are self-created because we are self-aware.”

There are so many events that increasingly show attention to feelings and emotions. Deep breathing has wonderful results in awareness of, and improving good feelings, and is used in some meditation practices. Dr. John Pearson at Boston HubWeek, 2019, presented an inventive spirometer that measures how deeply people can breathe. Annette Whitehead-Pleaux, from Berklee, presented “Muser”, a music-based therapy in treating [emotional] conditions such as anxiety. ”We live in a pill-driven society where we are looking for those fixes, and we are seeing more and more that’s not the way to go”, she said.

Communication to others of emotional feelings is often in facial and hand gestures, of which there is much research, unlike research on feelings themselves. When you know your own feelings in your inner mind, and then mirror the facial expressions of another yourself, you know what they are feeling. The first photo of Trump is clear that he is angry. However, with more study and emulating it, his face is also showing pain. The second one is expressing guilt and fear. It is a photo of a priest convicted of child abuse. Try looking at actors’ faces in a TV movie, sound off, emulating them and discovering the emotions.

Intense emotional expressions

Quotes in green are from Medium writers in which I see connections to my study of emotions, my inner mind and experiences — and to whom I have responded on their articles. I love Medium for its great ability to have conversations, which is the best way of learning and sharing knowledge. I hope my article will inspire many more conversations on emotions, the inner mind and outer experiences. Thank you for reading and I hope for many more conversations with many more Medium writers.



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Shirley Willett

Shirley Willett


Book: “Past, Present, Future: Fashion Memoir, 70 Years, Design, Engineering, Education, Manufacturing & Technology” shirley@pastpresentfuturebook.com