Emotional Ugliness

La Voz de Galicia – August 28, 2020 →

Cristina PatoIs it just me, or are we all a little more sensitive than usual? There is no specific event that can corroborate my theory, but in the seldom (or almost null) social life that I am having these days, I am constantly finding myself in brief, uncomfortable moments, filled with irascibility, unnecessary moments leading nowhere nothing more than the product of a cluster of negative emotions. With those emotions, we infect each other inadvertently and so cause a chain reaction that, in the end, makes us all angry.

A few years ago, the philosopher and neuroscientist Antonio Damasio mentioned in a magazine that «rather than being a luxury, emotions are a very intelligent way of driving an organism toward certain outcomes.» And I have always asked myself what we are doing, as a society, to educate (or simply to understand) that part of ourselves that is so powerful and that can take us so far: emotion. If, on top of a moment like this, a moment of complete individual and collective uncertainty, we allow ourselves to be carried away by this kind of emotional ugliness that surrounds us, then it is clear that the results towards which we are moving will not be good. There are things that we cannot solve, but if we lose our patience and understanding (and manners!) then there truly is no hope.

Emotions are as contagious as the Coronavirus, and in these time when we all feel some kind of fear, I simply wish to be able to remember these words from Damasion each time that fear paralyzes me and makes me forget empathy: «Love, compassion and gratitude are emotions and are forces for the good. Only negative emotions such as anger, hate or contempt are destructive. Blaming emotions for our social ills misses that critical distinction…»

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