FEELINGS AND FACTS, OR: OTHELLO FIGURES IT OUT

Image result for othello in despair in renaissance painting

Feelings, such as jealousy and fear, are extremely common, and those who say all sorts of negative feelings don’t exist in their heart from time to time are lying.

There has been a tendency in our day to give subjective feelings a great deal more importance than they deserve. 1. We sometimes get so worked up about our feelings about feelings, we make them more important than actual crime—slander, for instance. 2. We work up such a hatred for negative feelings, which are nonetheless very common, we often mistake negative feelings for negative actions; we mistakenly believe feelings permanently mark someone’s character—they do not.

Feelings are ephemeral—they only have the potential to influence our actions; and negative feelings are common; they belong to everyone. So why do we assume feelings are more important than they are? Ironically, if you believe the falsehood that negative feelings are highly influential and corrupt, you give feelings more influence, just with your belief.

But here’s the truth.

Laws—rules which govern and punish negative actions—form the essence of a fair and just society.

And laws are based on facts, not feelings.

Hard evidence is necessary to convict.

If you hate X, this is not proof that you have harmed X.

Negative feelings—let’s take the most obvious one—hate:

Hate is not only common feeling, but it may reflect a good: as when we hate what is bad or disgusting.

Let’s look at a typical example using a negative emotion: jealousy. We are all jealous, and, depending on information, vague or otherwise, which may come our way, we all can be very jealous from time to time. Feelings of jealousy, however, like hate, or other negative feelings, are just feelings. It is not a crime to feel jealousy, and, if you have jealous feelings, this does not mean that you are a “jealous person.” Someone may be making you jealous. The only thing which feeling jealous means, is that you are having jealous feelings. It does not mean you will harm or attack or stalk or harass anyone.

And further, if anyone accuses you of harassment, simply because you express feelings of jealousy, the feelings of jealousy which you express are not proof of anything.

The accusation of harassment, however, is actually something far worse—it is a crime. Slander.

Laws—based on actions, hard evidence, investigated and proven—have nothing to do with feelings. The phrase, “cold-blooded killer” comes to mind. In a just society ruled by “laws, not men,” facts are observed, and arguments are based on facts; feelings have little importance. A jealous lover can make an accusation, and the jealousy of the accuser is not the issue; only the facts surrounding the accusation matter. And if the accused is jealous? This doesn’t matter, either. In the law, subjective feelings do not count.

Ideologies which pre-judge—feminism, for example—increase the tendency to radically over-estimate feelings as signs of truth. Men who happen to have negative feelings for a certain amount of time are tagged negatively forever, as the ideology “proves” its case, as generalized, unexamined slander expands and grows. Another example (gaslighting) would be if a man were cheating on his wife and he made her feel like a jealous person, simply because she had jealous feelings.

Feelings can be very powerful things. When people begin to believe that having a few jealous thoughts is proof that one is a permanently “jealous person,” one can easily see the potential for mass psychological harm.

 

 

 

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