There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours." . . Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

Emotions and similar feelings are designed for self preservation and enhancement. They evaluate objects, people and situations. They are the foundation of values.

Emotions motivate us to understand experiences. They attach emotional values to each experience. Without emotions, experiences are barely noticed or remembered.

There is too much happening to attend to everything at once but emotional centers in the brain prioritize experiences by associating feelings and emotions with them which registers their importance and also what kind of Importance. We attend to and remember the ones that matter.

Without emotions individual experiences and thoughts are not prioritised. Instead they collect into an unorganised list of trivia rather than organising themselves into concepts. Logic requires emotion.

Thoughts and emotions share so many pathways and locations in the body that they can't be understood separately. Emotions colour thoughts and thoughts comment on emotions. And one sets off the other.

Emotions are essential for survival. They imprint vivid memories of life threatening events that arouse us to respond instantly to anything similar that comes our way.

Health, career and relationships depend on the guidance of emotions.

Emotions guide and motivate us through the maze of every day events by showing us what we like and what we don't. They alert us to the importance of incidents and memories. They detect and place a value on each opportunity and danger and prepare the body and the mind to respond. Both optimism and pessimism are life saving in the right place and time but lethal if misplaced.

Personal, administrative, political and legal decisions are emotional no matter how cleverly rationalised. Each element of a decision is based on feelings in the body in line with a decision maker’s needs and values.

Words are the vehicle to convey feelings. Their meaning is in the emotions they evoke. Even communicating bare facts evokes some feelings that colour the data communicated.

Without the colouring of emotion (or a similar sensation) thoughts pass by without attracting enough attention to be remembered and not interesting or dangerous enough to explore further. Not memorable and almost meaningless.

If thoughts are worrying it is because of emotions or sensations associated with them.

At first glance our picture of our environment is visual or auditory but look closer and it is coloured by memories of emotions and feelings. Things, places and events have feelings associated with them. Images need to trigger feelings to attract attention The meaningful and intelligible part of an idea or an image lies in the underlying feelings.

Even in industrial societies emotions are the foundation of communication. They are hypnotic and irresistibly infectious (even between species) They take over the body like yawning or laughing.

social regulation
Love, fear, rage, satisfaction, yearning, shame, humiliation and rejection shape relationships and regulate obligations, rights and intimacy.

Each society cultivates awareness of just a few of the countless possible shades and combinations of emotional states and ignore others, which go unrecorded without words or stories for them. This selection is the unique signature of a community - its temperament – its values - the lens through which it views the world.

In most cultures some emotions are vigorously suppressed. The consequences of expressing them include exile, death, imprisonment and medical or psychiatric treatment.

Communities break down when negative emotions, threats, violence and punishment replace the empathy, sharing and cooperation that result from shared common values.

Emotions are less noticeable in societies regulated by money and laws and where intellect predominates

Prolonged rage, coldness, despair or suffering signals that emotions are exhausted, stuck, numb, shut down or frozen up (however you like to think of it) by past events. When emotions are dulled we lose track of the importance to us of thoughts and events.

Many drugs and meditations and relaxation exercises dull uncomfortable emotions but also obscure the emotional intelligence that tells us what is going on, motivates us to change and gets us out of the path of oncoming danger.

Underlying any fear is the fear of those feelings of fear themselves arising in us.
Once this is noticed then challenges can be faced easier.

Mind and body can let go of unnecessary self-defeating feelings when they notice them. The exercises and links on the mind, stress and body intelligence pages show how to relax and how to expand the vocabulary of sensations and emotions and tap into their knowledge and intelligence.