Poly Lingua

Getting Rid of Emotions?

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Is it possible for a human to completely rid themselves of emotion?

I'm not talking about controlling emotion and its expression, but the actual expulsion of feeling emotions.

 

Vulcans from Star Trek have violent emotions that run even deeper than human emotions, yet through the teachings of Surak they have found ways to conceal or even rid their emotions, replacing them with logic. According to the teachings of Surak their are different levels to this (numbered in degree of difficulty):

 

1.) A control level of one implies that a person is capable of controlling the facial expressions normally exhibited due to an emotion the majority of the time, but still feels the emotion.

2.) Level two implies a person can control all expressions of emotion the majority of the time, but still feels the emotion.

3.) Level three is where emotion is there, but not expressed, or even felt. It has no influence, the majority of the time.

4.) Mastery level four is complete mastery. In this state, the emotion is completely cast out, and is no longer a part of you. This state is also referred to as "Kolinahr".

 

So do you think it would be possible for a human to achieve Kolinahr or come close to it? And would it even be logical or beneficial for a human to attempt this? Without emotions, one would not be able to laugh, to happily smile, etc., which could make socializing very difficult and could affect their relationships, possibly career, and other aspects of their life. Human society expect us to have emotions to some extant despite how they can sometimes make us reckless and impulsive, much different from Vulcan society where it is expected to have no emotions and being emotionless is considered 'normal'.

 

So what do you think?

 

(And I don't mean through surgically altering the brain, so lobotomy doesn't count.)

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(edited)

Perhaps. Though emotions are more than social skills. Without them, Art and Science would be very far from what they are now. They are a part of us, they participate in pretty much everything we do. Removing them is like removing one of your senses. Sure, it won't alter your choice anymore, and you will be more focused on the other 4, but you still lose a part of yourself. Whether it is good or not depend on each individual.

 

Removing the bad does not always bring the good, working on your emotions and making the best our of them would probably be a better (and safer) option.

 

I don't know if this is going to happen or not, though. Probably.

Edited by ConcorDisparate

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I don't really think that it should be possible or something that I would want to see happen.

Despite all the bad things that come from human emotions, the positives that they provide are something that I don't want to give up any time soon.

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I like emotions. Happiness, like completing that level like you were stuck on for a week, sadness, finishing a sad fanfic, anger, raging at a game, fear, playing a horror game, and a few other emotions along with certain activities are all thrilling. Why would I want to give those up? I don't want to read a REALLY good fanfic and say "I feel nothing" like a robot.

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(edited)

I can tell you a little bit from my experience with trying to have no emotions and being apathetic, as a teen, when my parents use to yell at me a lot.  I successfully repressed any feeling of wanting to cry or fear when they yelled at my face.  I no longer felt any fear or the need to cry, I just waited for them to be done with their yelling.  I still gave a slight reaction, however, of backing off and giving them a weird face when they would lunge at me, trying to get a reaction from me, giving them slight satisfaction.  They intensified their yelling and screaming cuz they were worried something was wrong with me and wanted to see me cry again.  Eventually, I did break down and cry when they did a double team of yelling and scolding me for something I did, much to their relief.

 

So, yes, it is possible to repress your emotions and feel nothing.  I could have probably continued training to feel nothing when my parents yelled at me, but I decided it wasn't worth it in the end.  They would have just gotten increasingly worried and they might have taken me to therapy, to sort it out, if I kept it up.  I can tell you that even if you were to successfully feel nothing and repress your emotions, there would be psychological consequences in the long run.

 

I'm actually a person that's not that good at expressing her emotions; expressing that I'm angry is not something that I'm good at cuz I don't want to start fights or have long talks about it (that feel more like fights to see it from my side).  I'm hesitant to express to someone that they upset me in general and it can take me a while to express it.  I usually end up brushing it off, repressing, and dismissing it, which backfires me later.  I also tend to bottle up my worries until I can no longer contain it and it spills over into some mental health disaster.

 

If I don't express my feelings in some way, my feelings of anger and being upset with someone turns into resentment, or even worse thoughts that they're some kind of emotional bully, when the reality is that I haven't expressed my feelings to them for them to re-assess their behavior.  My worries, as I said, spill over into mental health issues; I experience horrible, intrusive thought OCD and those thoughts eventually lead me to depression and not being able to function properly.

 

You shouldn't express your emotions in a destructive way that it would hurt and anger everyone, but you shouldn't repress them and brush them off either.  The key is to have good emotional intelligence; you should be aware of your feelings, acknowledge them, express them in a way that's not harmful, and then let go of them.

 

Instead of letting your feelings control you and hurting someone with it, you express it through ways like writing it down, using art, and talking it out with someone.  If you're angry or upset with someone, you need to talk it out because writing or using art won't usually be enough in that case.  For me, using writing and art can help with worries, but I still need to talk it out with someone sometimes so I know I'm not all alone with these feelings.

 

I feel that with Vulcans, because they supposedly feel stronger emotions than humans, they would have greater psychological problems.  Not only for their stronger emotions but also because they go to great lengths to suppress their emotions.

 

I bet Vulcans would absolutely drive our psychologists mad because they would refuse to acknowledge any psychological issues they have from suppressing their emotions.

Edited by StoryTail

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Get rid of emotions and life would become merely existence, nothing more than a period of time between birth and death.

 

Emotion is what drives us to create, to improve, to become better than we are.

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I guess it could be possible with some sort of intense therapy.

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(edited)

Perhaps. Though emotions are more than social skills. Without them, Art and Science would be very far from what they are now. They are a part of us, they participate in pretty much everything we do. Removing them is like removing one of your senses. Sure, it won't alter your choice anymore, and you will be more focused on the other 4, but you still lose a part of yourself. Whether it is good or not depend on each individual.

 

Removing the bad does not always bring the good, working on your emotions and making the best our of them would probably be a better (and safer) option.

 

I don't know if this is going to happen or not, though. Probably.

 

 

Get rid of emotions and life would become merely existence, nothing more than a period of time between birth and death.

 

Emotion is what drives us to create, to improve, to become better than we are.

 

I'd like to disagree. With Vulcans, for example, they rid themselves of emotion, yet they base their existence around logic and gaining knowledge off which they can base their logic. The reason we have emotions in the first place is because their an adaptation that allowed us as a species to survive and procreate through the natural use of chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, norepinephrine, etc.; you feel lonely when your alone because you're more likely to survive (and have sex) in a large group, you feel happy when you succeed because it will make you want to succeed again, you feel attached or 'in love' with someone because it makes you more likely to reproduce and protect your young and mate, etc. But we've also developed logic and the ability to think rationally and not rely entirely on our instincts to survive.

 

I think ridding ourselves of emotions would allow for more rational thinking, greater cooperation, and problems would be solved much faster. One could argue, why would we solve problems if we have no emotional motivation to do so? Well, logically our biological duty as a species is to procreate and prolong our species for as long as possible, and in order to do that we would need to further our knowledge and understanding of the universe, and to solve any major problems that would arise and possibly harm our species or kill us. Having emotions makes people reckless, they can get offended and become irrational and fueled by anger, or they can become euphoric and do something they may regret when they are in a more rational state of mind. Those are the extremes of course, but even on a mild level emotions can become a nuisance and cloud our rational thought.

 

So yes, the arts would probably cease to exist as art often plays on one's emotions. I also think that religion would cease to exist if we were to expel all emotions, as religion also plays on one's emotions and ego. However, science would probably flourish, we would be able to work together, to debate logically and create logical solutions to problems, and who knows what else. Do we really need emotions to live? Well, as an individual living in our current human society, probably. But as a species? Probably not.

 

But is it even possible for an individual human being to accomplish expelling their emotions (if he/she wanted to)? Or is it too deeply ingrained into our brains as a species for one to ever gain true liberation from their emotions?

 

(And I'm not saying emotions are good or bad, I'm simply saying they often lead to irrational thoughts and impede on logic. Some of our emotions feel "good" to us on purpose because our bodies evolved that way, and some feel "bad". I think it's kind of like an easy, automatic way of determining whether something is good or bad for you; does it feel good? Yes, it must be good. Or no, it must be bad. Logic, on the other hand, goes above this, it takes in and assesses more objective information and asks more questions based outside of ourselves than simply this primitive, subjective question of "does it feel good".)

Edited by Poly Lingua

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You have to be kidding me. If we get rid of emotion we would have to get rid of everything we find pleasurable, everything funny, everything NSFW, literally everything we as a race like. That would be literally insane and we would have to get rid of anyone who ever tried to show emotion. I find this idea to be very stupid.

 

Maybe it is possible but if it happened I wouldn't want to live in that world, it would be too boring for me  :okiedokieloki:

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Well how "much" one can completely rid themselves of emotion is debatable. It's not a new concept at all. The Greek stoic philosophers attempted to turn this into a lifestyle and world view. Of course, the lifestyle was meant to result in "happiness" so it's not really removing emotion entirely it's simply not acting on them. While Taoism isn't perfectly akin to Greek Stoicism, it does hold a similar view that one should not act with rashness or in passion. 

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The most a human cooed do is repress emotions and I have a feeling some people can do that extremely well. Get rid of them entirely? Not unless they have some kind of brain damage that actually hinders them entirely. Emotions are ingrained into our subconscious so getting rid of them would probably be near impossible. I don't know why anyone would want to either.

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Without emotions we would still be in the stoneage or extinct. It's emotions that makes us create inventions.

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If emotions didn't exist, we definitely would not be where we are now. 

 

But on a smaller scale, I have cut myself off of emotions for short periods of time multiple times in my life. I normally do it in order to protect myself from something or other. How I do it? Years of practice.

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The very need and act of shrugging or draining emotion off you in itself is an emotion if you think about it.

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While it would be useful to control negative emotions, it wouldn't be beneficial to remove all emotion in all circumstances. Emotions are part of what put humanity in the world. Any machine can exist, but it takes a soul to feel. That's something the world shouldn't be without. Emotions, even negative ones, are some of the tools we use to govern our lives. We learn from all of them and make decisions based on what we know of both sides, positive and negative. We feel pain and regret because we need them to teach us to become better people. We need happiness to give us a benchmark to shoot for and to make life livable. 

And after all is said and done, a life without emotion would be boring. I wouldn't want to be a machine.  :pout:

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Getting rid of emotions sounds horribly like something that came out from an Orwellian dystopia. To rid the power of expression and emotion, you need to get rid of the capability to think and the total destruction of unorthodox thought. At that level, since only one thought is orthodox, there is no need to think, and therefore no need to feel or have any personal relationships.

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i agree with everyone who believed getting rid of "bad" emotions is really hard. it takes a long time for people to get over that trauma. such as getting consultation from grief counselors

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Can you get rid of emotion? No. You can suppress them but never without consequence. The Vulcans you mentioned suppress their emotions which is why it rebounds on them badly when they either enter mating season or get old. The suddenly start feeling emotion again but feel it in such extremes that they can't control it and practically view it as a mental breakdown.

 

This is what happens to soldiers with PTSD. While they fight in battle they can suppress their fear and horror with the adrenaline and the instinct to survive pushing it down. But the instant they are back in civilian life. Their brain finally starts to process months, even years of blood and combat in one big lump and all the emotions they kept in check just smash right though there mental barriers to the point they remember it all both awake and when they sleep.

 

They say you can only over come your fears by facing them. Well the same can be said of any emotion if you think about it. But running from them is futile. They will get you in the end. 

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I'd like to disagree. With Vulcans, for example, they rid themselves of emotion, yet they base their existence around logic and gaining knowledge off which they can base their logic.

 

I'm sure I don't need to point out that basing your argument on the accomplishments of a fictional race doesn't really add much to your case.  By that rationale, I could argue that the Romulans, who are the result of a schism within Vulcan society of people who refused to suppress their emotions, are a far greater power in the galaxy than the Vulcans are.

 

You say that science would flourish, I disagree.  Without passion the drive would not be there, with no enjoyment in ones work, and aspirations, people would feel no compulsion to excel and would just wander listlessly from one act of mediocrity to the next, feeling the need only to satisfy their basic physiological requirements.

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Can you get rid of emotion? No. You can suppress them but never without consequence. The Vulcans you mentioned suppress their emotions which is why it rebounds on them badly when they either enter mating season or get old. The suddenly start feeling emotion again but feel it in such extremes that they can't control it and practically view it as a mental breakdown.

 

This is what happens to soldiers with PTSD. While they fight in battle they can suppress their fear and horror with the adrenaline and the instinct to survive pushing it down. But the instant they are back in civilian life. Their brain finally starts to process months, even years of blood and combat in one big lump and all the emotions they kept in check just smash right though there mental barriers to the point they remember it all both awake and when they sleep.

 

They say you can only over come your fears by facing them. Well the same can be said of any emotion if you think about it. But running from them is futile. They will get you in the end. 

 

Ah, yes, Pon-farr. That's true. I guess not even Vulcans can achieve Kolinahr or the total elimination of their emotions.

 

I think you may be right. Even myself, I tend to suppress or disregard emotions, sometimes coming off as callous or rude on accident. I don't like my emotions and I ironically feel embarrassed when they do show themselves. On the rare chance they do show, if it's negative, it's like an atomic bomb going off and it can often lead to disaster. And if it's positive, then I can overreact and get too excited, possibly doing something very reckless on impulse.

 

I'm sure I don't need to point out that basing your argument on the accomplishments of a fictional race doesn't really add much to your case.  By that rationale, I could argue that the Romulans, who are the result of a schism within Vulcan society of people who refused to suppress their emotions, are a far greater power in the galaxy than the Vulcans are.

 

You say that science would flourish, I disagree.  Without passion the drive would not be there, with no enjoyment in ones work, and aspirations, people would feel no compulsion to excel and would just wander listlessly from one act of mediocrity to the next, feeling the need only to satisfy their basic physiological requirements.

 

You are correct that basing my argument on a fictional race is pointless. However, there is most likely no experimental evidence to support any argument as to what would happen if we had no emotions. In the end they are just speculations and more or less subjective opinions. It's very probable that I'm wrong, and life without emotions would lead to no advancement or growth as a race, maybe even self-destruction. Competition, the feeling of success and accomplishment, the persistent curiosity of asking "why?", yes, emotions can and often lead to accomplishment and discovery. But they also can contradict it; the security of having faith to easily answer complex why's, the anger one can feel in an argument causing them to discredit any evidence brought forth, uneasiness from the unknown... Emotions can also get in the way of experimentation and gaining knowledge.

 

I think that perhaps without emotions, if people could come up with some other "drive", some kind of philosophy or reason, to base their lives on and live by, then it could work. And living without emotions would be neither "good" or "bad", you wouldn't feel happy or sad about it since you wouldn't feel at all; so just as there would be no enjoyment or compulsiveness in one's work and life, there also would be no displeasure or frustration in one's work. But then again, a life without emotion would probably be different depending on the individual; a person who relies on their emotions a lot would probably have a more difficult time living without them, versus someone who is less emotional and relies more on rational thought.

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I think you are confusing reasons and purpose. Emotions might have been created to help us survive, that doesn't mean that we hold on to them to do so. They brought more than what they were supposed to. The reason for their existence is survival, their purpose is much more than that.

 

 

 

 

The reason we have emotions in the first place is because their an adaptation that allowed us as a species to survive and procreate through the natural use of chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, norepinephrine, etc.

 

See above.

 

 

 

you feel lonely when your alone because you're more likely to survive (and have sex) in a large group, you feel happy when you succeed because it will make you want to succeed again, you feel attached or 'in love' with someone because it makes you more likely to reproduce and protect your young and mate, etc. But we've also developed logic and the ability to think rationally and not rely entirely on our instincts to survive.

 

I think you are analysing things waaay too fast. Emotions and the way they work was a philosophical topic for millenia. People spent their life studying them, and they still didn't understand them that well, you can't claim things that easily.

 

However, if you use the past tense in your sentence, I understand what you are talking about, though you are still confusing reasons and purpose.

We have grown and evolved through evolution. Though, you can't consider a human like a mere animal. It is a sentient animal. Thus, possessing the ability to think and create its own reasons for its acts, he can alter what he is meant to be, creating purpose when there would only be reasons.

 

Happiness was meant to create continuity in our acts, thus species. Now, acts are meant to bring continuity to our happiness.

As such, because we are able to change, alter, destroy, create the original reasons for our acts, the study of ourselves became a whole universe in itself. And nobody will ever grasp the vastness and finesse of this universe in one lifetime. Pretending it is good or bad is but an opinion, and no one will ever know the answer. Because of that, we can't conclude upon things like emotions. We are limited in time, space and thinking, we can't answer that ourselves. Thus, I accept your way of reasoning, since I am not able to conclude about it myself, but I hope to bring a new point of view to your thoughts, so that you may access more information, and make an opinion you wouldn't regret later. :)

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I think it's possible, yeah. Something happens to us when we feel. Something is triggered in order for emotions to take place. Remove that trigger and there will be no emotion to feel.

 

I would gladly rid myself of my emotions, honestly. I was very prone to emotional outbursts as a child. It rarely happens now as i have great control over them. Nearly every bad decision i made in life was due to emotions, but i suppose that in part i owe to emotions my current state of mind.

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Technically speaking just the frontal and prefrontal cortex are not really that emotional. Instinct was more primitive than emotion, and now consciousness and logic are more advanced than emotion and more recent evolutionarily. After millions of years of selective breeding we would still have emotions probably.

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Emotions stem from the evolution of communication, from a time before we could speak and write and it is hardwired into our brains to a certain extent. For example, babies that are born blind still frown when they are upset, even though their is no way they could see that behaviour to learn it.

 

Also, removing emotions from yourself, even negative ones, would likely end with you dead. Without fear or anger you would never flee from danger or rise up to face it. Without sadness you'd have nothing to measure happiness against. To lose all emotion is to literally become less than an animal as even they feel emotions.

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By sacrificing emotion, I'd argue that we'd be sacrificing the very thing that makes us what we are and that it's evolved with us for a reason.

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