Ruling Emotions



“Which emotion rules over all of the rest?” The disciple had come a long way to asked this question of the teacher.

“So, you have climbed up all the way to the top of this mountain to ask me which emotion rules,” said the teacher. “Well, this must be an important question for you. The top of this mountain is also the right place to look over all the different realms of emotion.”

First, gratitude can be a very powerful emotion. Imagine a young child re-uniting with their father.

Next to gratitude is joy. Imagine the joy of a group of people who have accomplished some success together.

Of course, there is also courage. Some challenges are so intimidating that it takes great courage to even begin.


So, we can think of gratitude, joy, and courage as very powerful emotions. However, there may be emotions so powerful that they would even interrupt the momentum of any of the three emotions we mentioned so far. A complete list of powerful emotions would include emotions that completely withdraw the ability to focus on anything else.

For instance, imagine someone who was planning to be the grand marshall of an important parade with thousands of people attending to celebrate. The parade might feature hundreds of courageous young men demonstrating their fitness by running down the streets with some raging bulls.

So, as you put on the special clothes that you will wear as the grand marshall, you know that there will be a tremendous celebration soon. However, even the parade itself would stop if interrupted by a sudden, unexpected noise. The perception of the noise would lead to a reflexive emotional refocusing. The huge parade would be momentarily forgotten.

So, there are emotions even more powerful than the joy of a big parade. One of the most powerful emotions is grief.

Imagine the job of officers who go up to the door of people whose family members have just died. There is the sound of the knock on the door. The door opens and there are the solemn faces of the officers there to inform someone of a death.

To the person who answers the door, one officer asks “is this your daughter in the picture?”The parents take the picture, say nothing, and then just look at the officers until they realize what is going on. Eventually one says: “Wait, you’re not here because something happened to her, are you?”

Do you even remember the celebration parade that is about to start? You are still going there to lead everyone in the celebrations and act as the grand marshall, right? Everything is gathering for the ritual celebration and they are expecting you to lead the ceremonies.

Nevertheless, you might be curious enough to continue speaking with the officers at least briefly. “Officers, you picked a very bad day to come and bother me with news like this. Now, before I go and lead the big parade, tell me quickly what happened to the girl in the picture- you know, the one that you think might be my daughter. Well?”

The story above is ridiculous, right? Why? It is silly because no one would go and lead a parade right after being informed that their child was injured or missing or even dead. They would want to know about their child.

“How can you even think about the parade?”

“Are you crazy?”

“Those people just killed your daughter and yet you are still talking about what to WEAR to the parade? Okay, first of all, you’re not going to the parade!”

“You better listen to me and listen good. You are going to get out there and avenge your daughter before I bite off your ear, Mr. Van Gogh. I do not want to see your face again until you find whoever did this to your daughter and make it right. Oh, and you do know what I mean by ‘make it right,’ don’t you?”

So, grief is a very powerful emotion which can lead to grievances, resentments, contempt, and even rage. Those extreme emotions can even lead to rituals of human sacrifice, which are very common throughout human history. Like the ancient Hebrew scripture of Ecclesiastes says, there is a time for both love and for rage, for both peace and for war.

Some violence is passionate and brief. Other violence is systematically planned and carefully cultivated such as wars or the organized violence of court systems.


For example, think of when the famous Hebrew warlord Moses ordered the slaughter of thousands of people (as reported in the scripture called Exodus). This act of terror intimidated the civilians and made it easy to attract their loyalty and their economic support through collecting tithes or taxes or sacrifices. The ruling priesthoods have thrived for thousands of years because of the effectiveness of their involuntary protection rackets of extortion.

So, as all military leaders know, panic and terror are also powerful emotions that can interrupt emotions like courage or gratitude or joy. There is a full range of emotions including grief and rage as well. Whatever other emotions people may have, many of them diverge from their normal emotions briefly to ritually send their annual tribute to the court system that rules them.

Now, if you recall, we began this story with a disciple going up a mountain to speak to a teacher. (You did not get distracted from the story by all these other emotions, did you?)

“So,” the teacher continued, “there is only one emotion which rules over all of these others. It is humility. Humility does not rule these other emotions through a paranoid panic of repression. That would be to be ruled by fear and paranoia, which is what the new-agers think of as spiritual maturity. They are arrogant fools. Humility is not like that at all.”

“No, humility rules through respect. By respecting the full range of emotions, the ruling priesthoods can cultivate emotions for use in ruling the perceptions and behaviors of the herds over which they rule. These ruling wizards and sorcerers program the emotional reactions of the herds through the mass media, the churches, and the schools. The rulers respect emotions and they work with emotions rather than against them.”

“Imagine the frustration of the one who attempts to use logic to reason with the loyal worshipers of a religion of powerful emotions. It might be easier to talk a drug addict out of their addiction.


“Well then, master,” asked the disciple,” how will we be safe from the herds and their emotions of raging hormones?”

The master answered, “That is a very practical question. We can be careful to precisely measure indicators of danger rather than ever blindly presuming safety. If relevant, we can also train specialists to indoctrinate the masses and cripple them emotionally, neurologically, nutritionally, and even physically. We can train mercenaries to intimidate and bully the masses. We can program the masses to slowly erupt in to raging protests and incite them in to well-organized riots that are easy to subdue. Then, the riots that we program them to perform can justify our next waves of intervention.”

“But master, we do not have that kind of power,” said the disciple. “I learned in school that there is only one effective way to produce the changes that we desperately need. That specific method is through voting for a new political savior and… hey, wait a minute… So what you are saying is that what I learned in school was to program my perception in ways which would benefit the people who created the school system?”

The master winked and said, “No, of course not. Don’t be silly. You must have misunderstood me. I only said that humor is the most powerful emotion of all. Therefore, people who are sincere rather than humble are weak. They lack a sense of humor. They are easy to emotionally trigger.”

“Wait, was it humility or was it humor?” asked the disciple.

“Yes, that is exactly what I said,” answered the master. “Anyway, what’s the difference anyway? Humor and humility are basically the same thing. They rule over the other emotions, and those other emotions rule over all the rest of human experience: emotions rule perception and perceptions rule interpretations, then interpretations rule behavioral responses, and behavioral responses to programmed interpretations are what rule results.”

“Most people are terrified of their own emotions and of the emotions of others. So, they live in the emotion of terror, as in paranoia or hell. In contrast, only those who have respect for emotions can rule the herds (by ruling the emotions of the herds). The rulers can experience all emotions powerfully rather than resisting any emotion in particular paranoias.”

“Slowly, one by one, the masses relax from their programmed paranoias and they climb up this mountain all the way to the top to respectfully ask me which emotion is the most powerful. They are humble. They are open. They also realize that the herds are foolish and dangerous.”

“The disciple will look down with me on the herds in the valleys. Some herds are raging and rioting. Other herds are training to respond to the riots and the rage. Others are parading and campaigning in a public celebration of their loyalty to the various court systems that we set up to rule them.”

Then the disciple said, “Master, this is very interesting. I now understand that what you say fits perfectly with the experience that I have had all of my life. I feel a sense of relief that I am not alone in my perceptions and my experience. However, I know that I have been programmed to use patterns of language which were inconsistent with my actual experience. I have been trained be so afraid that I used language to pretend that my experience was quite different than what it really has been.”

“I am grateful now for all of my emotions. For instance, frustration and even rage are what have led me to take new actions- even at some risk to myself. The new actions developed my own courage and power and clarity. I had to withdraw from the herds to come to the mountain then climb up to the peak to look down on the patterns of the social herds below. Now that I have withdrawn from the emotional momentums and paranoias, I can respect all emotions rather than explode in to a panic of arrogant condemnations toward particular emotions or particular people. I feel like I have recovered my humanity.”

“Yes,” said the master, ”humanity is also the same as humility and humor. These words in English all all derived from the same word in Latin. Those words all refer to what is called ‘being down to earth.’ When you accept your own humanity, rather than reject it and repress it in a panic of terror, then you can be humble toward others and have a sense of humor about yourself. This allows you to rule the herds.”

“In fact, you will find that the herds begin to come to you with their tangled emotions because they hunger for someone who has the power to completely accept their humanity. If you do have that power now, then they will come to you for you to give them respect and leadership. They may not come in parades, but people do not get to the top of this mountain in a parade. There are no parades celebrating humility. That is not the function of parades. If you value humility, then sit here with me a while on the top of this mountain and… oh, look… there is another disciple coming up the mountain to talk to a master. I will go hide now in a bush so they can talk to you!”

“Wait,” said the disciple. “What will I say to them? What if I get scared?”

“Right,” said the Master,” and what if it is the Grand Marshall of the parade seeking your fashion advice on what to wear to the parade? Listen, just relax and be humble, then really listen to their question. They want you to help them relax. So, you relax first. Just talk with them until you have answered the question that is most important to them- which may be underneath the words that they actually use. Speak directly to what is important to them. Anyway, they are getting close now, so congratulations on respecting the glorious perfection of your own humanity.”

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