Author Topic: The Logical and Emotional Models in Brief  (Read 4376 times)


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The Logical and Emotional Models in Brief
« on: January 06, 2012, 06:40:50 PM »
You have two models of reality operating simultaneously: the logical and the emotional. While they are actually distinctly separate, they are so well-connected as to give the illusion of a single "emotional-cognitive" experience.

  • The job of the emotional model is to produce neurochemical changes in the brain and body in response to sensory stimuli.
  • The job of the logical model is to assign meaning to those emotional events to link them in an ongoing chronological narrative or "story".

The responses occurring in the emotional model are extremely basic and instinctual. They are basic biological responses such as "arousal" or "rest".

However, the logical can assign complex meanings to these basic responses based on the context in which they occur.

The resulting chain of events looks like this:

stimuli -> emotional response -> meaning

The meaning assigned is stored in a pattern-match system in the brain so that when the stimuli is next encountered, the meaning will "helpfully" replay, and you will get the emotional response immediately without further experience or analysis required. This early-warning system saved your ancestors from fighting bears too many times, and so forth, and now you're stuck with it, despite hardly needing it at all in the modern world.


The meaning assigned in the logical model is sometimes fairly accurate. The more basic the interpretation, the more likely it is to be accurate. E.g. for the hunger response, the logical will almost always get it right, and assign the meaning "I am hungry".

However, the logical model is frequently wrong (on an almost scary basis, once you realize the extent of its capacity for error). You have all no doubt experienced the phenomenon such as turning on a light switch, and simultaneously hearing a loud bang outside, and for a moment believing that the light switch caused the bang.

On a more fundamental level, misassignment of meaning to essentially arbitrary sensory-emotional experiences is the root of just about all irrationalities of the mind such as fears, hates, prejudices, judgments and so forth.

Logical misidentification of meaning can occur at any stage in the "stimuli -> emotional response -> meaning" chain. This misidentification is the cause of all cognitive dissonance, and all "second dart" suffering. ("Second dart" suffering refers to the Buddhist metaphor whereby an unpleasant event is the "first dart" (being like the pinprick of a dart hitting you), and causes a small amount of suffering, but the reflection and incorrect meaning assigned via cognition after-the-fact, which causes the majority of human suffering, is called the "second dart"). The second dart suffering arises because of the assumption of chronology which is an integral part of the logical model. This assumption of chronology means that you think: "X happened once because of Y, so X will happen again if Y happens again. Therefore stop (or start) X happening again." If the consequences of Y trigger another consequence in the logical model, Z, which in turn triggers further consequences, you can easily see how it is you end up in thought chains of projected realities which often last minutes at a time.

Even more horrifically, the logical model is so keen to assign meaning to essentially arbitrary emotional events, that when an obvious meaning is lacking, it will simply create meaning. Thus, we end up with nasty, horrible things such as religion, which attempt to explain biological responses in ways which are acceptable to most people's somewhat underdeveloped logical models.

The misassignment of meaning can also occur during the "emotional response" phase of the chain. The consequence of this is that similar base biological responses all end up getting the same meanings assigned to them, regardless of the stimulus. So fear, excitement and sexual arousal can all get lumped under one heading, such as "fear". No wonder we have so many anxious people in the world -- they are misassigning meaning based on similar biological responses. In the next section, we will see how language plays its roll here.


We have something called language which forms a bridge between the logical and emotional models. It assigns labels to the emotions so we can vaguely communicate to each other what we are feeling.

These labels however are a combination of the workings of the emotional model (the biological response itself) and the logical model (the meaning). You only have to consider a label such as "jealousy" to see that there is not only a response contained in the label (stimulation), but meaning as well ("I am feeling this because..."). Therefore, most of the labels we use to describe emotions are actually composites of response and implicit or explicit meaning.

Most of these labels are therefore often incredibly vague and are to blame for assigning (or creating) incorrect meaning as a consequence of emotional response. This can lead to people walking around thinking all kinds of things about their own emotional responses which simply aren't true.

An example of this is the biological neurochemical response of "arousal". Some people love the thrill of roller coasters. Some people are too scared of them to go near one. The biological response is the same (arousal), but different meanings have been assigned: "excitement" and "fear", respectively.

What now?

The good news in all of this is that, using the meditative methods I have been teaching in my recent posts on emotional flow, we can learn to tear off the labels from our current emotions, and learn to experience the biochemical responses directly without assigning incorrect or vague meanings to them. This can end most second-dart suffering, and actually most first-dart suffering as well, since without meaning, basic biological responses feel neither good nor bad.

We can literally learn to live in a state of emotion without meaning. This is what I have meant when I've talked about moving from an intellectual experience to a sensory one.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 07:31:07 PM by Illuminatus »


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Re: The Logical and Emotional Models in Brief
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2012, 12:44:53 PM »
This is fucking sick.

And I mean that in a good way.