[VIDEO] Systems Thinking and Emotions

In this video Joel Mark Witt explains what he meant in his last video about emotions. There are no positive or negative emotions – only useful or useless emotions. He also breaks down why he says “no one can make you feel any emotion.”

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  • Laura
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    Hi Joel,

    I like this idea you have explained of the emergence of emotions from complex systems.

    Reflecting on this video and the podcast Episode 0138, my thoughts are that a person can still add certain stimuli to the mix and if they know you well and how you have behaved in certain situations in the past, then they might be pretty confident that if they add certain stimuli, you will feel a certain way. This is all probabilistic. They can’t be certain, and the person they are trying to manipulate may have some unexpected narratives up their sleeve.

    I think it is incredibly empowering that we can change the narratives and exercise control over different nodes that are feeding into the complex system that allows a certain emotional response to emerge. At the same time, this is not always easy to do, especially if we have particularly strong narratives at play. I am kind of thinking of this similar to if I wanted to win a gold medal in the Olympics for the 100m sprint. To do so I would have to train very hard, watch my diet, get someone to coach me. It might be easier if I had grown up in an athletic family and trained as a kid, allowing those narratives to build up that might help me reach my eventual goal.

    Similarly, if I want to change an emotional habit, this will require a lot of effort. It may be easier if as a child my parents encouraged me to talk about emotions a lot, etc.

    In summary I see our ability to control our own emotions as incredibly empowering. Though I think maybe we do not always know how to control them, and there are a lot of things that influence what we feel. There could be a chemical imbalance in our brain, or we might have incredibly strong narratives that will take an immense amount of time and effort to shift. Nevertheless gaining a good amount of control over our emotions is something to aspire to.

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