I Feel Good; This Must Be Right Misguiding Emotions BY: Troy Murphy |December 2016
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I have no exalted claim on truth. I spent several decades exploring the human condition, gathering insights but my discoveries continue to conflict with previous findings. I am not exempt from errors, flawed premises, or misguided meanings. My understanding of life, pain, sorrow, and joy is constantly evolving. The truth is not easily identified from inaccuracies. One of my greatest discoveries is that life is full of paradoxes, truths that conflict, behaviors that are healthy but damaging, nourishment laced with toxins. Psychology is tragically flawed but wonderfully enlightening. When we stumble upon truth, it often doesn’t appear different than a falsehood. Truths are not majestically wrapped distinguishing them from misguided meanings. As individuals, we must develop enough wisdom to discern what is worthy of acceptance and what we should reject. Sadly, some of this wisdom cones at the heals of painful miscalculations.
Judgments the facts are deficient often lean on underlying feelings. Unlike wisdom, underlying currents of emotion act quite certain of the actions we should take and which tales we should accept. If it feels good, we accept it. If it feels bad, then we don’t. These emotionally driven judgments are flawed, influenced by bias, filling the gaps of knowledge. In areas of expertise, feelings may be effective, our extensive exposure to corresponding events conditions emotional responses, perhaps giving emotions greater wisdom then conscious knowledge. Past encounters from previous painstakingly examinations of cause and effect, fine tunes biases, feelings become accurate tools of discernment. Hidden knowledge from years of contact frees cognitive load from the demands of reflection and consideration. An all-pro running back doesn’t need to carefully analyze the movement of a linebacker before bouncing to the outside; he instinctively knows, moves and evades the tackle.
But even with expertise, hidden biases still intrude. Experts with strong investments stubbornly resist opposing evidence, carrying faulty premises to their grave. New information confronting cherished beliefs doesn’t feel right because it challenges a life’s work.
Many courageous revolutionaries died confronting generally accepted beliefs supported by other intelligent persons. The truth rocked stability, shaking the foundations of power, and creating pockets of doubt; truth is threatening. Newness creates confusion, inviting chaos by disturbing meaning. A truth doesn’t simply displace a falsehood, but tumbles all meaning assembled on that falsehood. Our beliefs create order with the unknown. When truth disrupts that order, it’s seldom welcomed.
"Judgments the facts are deficient often lean on underlying feelings. Unlike wisdom, underlying currents of emotion act quite certain of the actions we should take and which tales we should accept. If it feels good, we accept it. If it feels bad, then we don’t. These emotionally driven judgments are flawed, influenced by bias, filling the gaps of knowledge. "
We create order in our perceived world with beliefs; but beliefs are words simplifying ungraspable complexities. Calming delusions infiltrate these perceptions to create security and dull the ravages of anxiety. Our fragile selves seek protection from the dangers of reality. When a truth illuminates the protecting delusion, we take arms and ferociously defend our falsehood. The blindness feels right while wisdom feels stupid, so we condemn insight.
Our lives are beautiful at times—ugly at times. We possess many gifts. We must accept life—our life--for its beauty, even through the flaws and struggles. I desire my thoughts, writings, and efforts to encourage closer inspection of commonly accepted beliefs, not to cause disruption, but to encourage growth where we may have stagnated. This purpose is accomplished by occasionally sharing thoughts that disturb. Discomfort isn’t reason to reject but a reminder to skeptically examine—take a closer look and the proposed premise and our conflicting belief. I am pleased when a post unearths emotion, not hatred, but the gentle pushes from inside a reader to look again at their preconceived notions of the way things are.