2019.06.10 Regarding My Amygdala

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Being a human is often surprisingly difficult for no other reason than we experience the world largely through a filter of emotional response.

Senses do their level best to report what's going on. Similarly, our rational minds make the best of what they can manage to lift with their few dedicated neurons. But it's all really a bit much, so evolution made the pragmatic venture into applied heuristics by not needing us to have either a clear sensing of things nor a complete understanding of anything for us to get some sort of directional suggestion. These suggested interpretations of reality, let's call them "feelings", are legitimate members of reality themselves by virtue of a Descartesian flourish - I think I feel, therefore I'm sad.

One of the lessons I've learned reasonably well is to not to try to deny feelings. That just makes them angry, and cruelly manipulative. But even as we acknowledge our feelings, that doesn't mean that we need to let them control us. Having a thought or a feeling is not what we're responsible for, those are just things that happen. What we are responsible for is our actions, so what we do with those thoughts and feelings is what really matters.

Today my feelings conspired to make it a multiply-difficult day for me. Vaguely negative feelings about my career started early on, which set the stage for my vulnerable and hurt feelings about the confusion that is my marriage-like relationship with S. Finally this was capped off with feelings summoned by a sad song on my commute home that reminded me that I still miss my dad.

Sometimes the only thing we can do with our sad feelings is to have a good cry.