The Potency of Passions

Once again this is a short essay on a more personal thought, but I'd like to share it all the same.

As is stated in the About Me page I am an INTP. While I know that Myers-Briggs personality indicators are not 100% conclusive I believe I tend to follow the description of an INTP pretty closely. I like to analyze things and the idea of an objective method of examining one's own traits by the means of a test was exceptionally intriguing to me. I suppose I give tests like this a little more credence than they may be due. Still one aspect of an INTP is a tendency to be very reserved with their emotions. We like to rationalize away our hopes and fears in an effort to understand our underlying motivations. This does not mean that I am without emotion. I may be rather good at sounding like I don't, and I may even appear to operate without them sometimes. Yet, despite this I do feel. I sometimes drown in my emotions.

I think of emotion as a different kind of worldly experience. One has little control over them, at least as far as I have been able to determine. They are an enigma of experience. We have words of great diversity that attempt to describe the vague, fierce, relentless sensations that we experience internally. Yet despite the vast range of emotion I find language pitifully lacking. Emotion is an experience of isolation, no word can succeed in driving itself into another's being. Should I fall to the ground in tears shaking with the agony of my emotional distress, it would not matter what you called the experience. You cannot share it with a word alone. Two people cannot communicate such an experience between one another unless the emotion has been felt in (at least a) similar intensity by both. That doesn't mean that the experience necessarily meant the same thing to both people. If one of them was able to restrain their outward expression of the emotion, it might be passed off as almost nothing. That does not mean that the internal experience is wanting in its ferocity.

I've heard it said before that we as a society tend to use words with little concern for what they actually mean. Two words in particular are subject to this overuse: love and hate. Both of these words are meant to convey a pairing of the greatest emotional extremes. They are used to describe a person's feelings for the most mundane circumstances or objects. I suppose that I may simply be out of touch with reality if I find the notion of someone declaring that they 'love french fries,' is simply absurd. Or on the opposing side, that someone genuinely 'hates spiders.' I personally have never had a french fry evoke such strong convictions of personal attachment, nor have I heard of any person embarking upon a genocidal quest to eliminate the order of the Araneae. Yeah, french fries taste pretty good, and arachnophobia is one of the most(if not the most) common phobias there is. I don't think that this is enough to qualify either of these notions as being reasonable. This is why I try to be careful with my use of words like these. I want people to understand when I am experiencing something that I can barely put to words. Truly when I have come to experience something that I would qualify as love, I found the word to feel weak upon my tongue. Searching for a better descriptor is futile though, because I realize that the best I can do is rely on this age old word. I can only hope that those I say it to understand when that little word slips out.

Emotions like this defy objectivity, at least to a certain extent. You can try to observe them from outside and get an idea of what the emotion inflicts upon a person. You can watch physiological changes, but I would have to say that this is an exceptionally inadequate means of understanding the experience of emotion. When someone experiences emotions to such intensity it is bound to affect their ability to see themselves clearly. Even if we come to the point where the whole of the brain is mapped and every hormone can be measured down to every individual molecule, it will not provide a deeper understanding of emotional experience. As terrifying as it is, there is no way to know passion without personal experience.

While I may attempt to circumvent my own emotions, to try and see why they appear, it does not mean that I go without feeling then. I intentionally take time just to appreciate the internal complexities of  emotion. Sometimes, its best just to let the mystery remain.

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