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william clegg


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Feelings, we all have them, but who is responsible for them?

I have opined in other Ted links and else where that my feelings are my own. That they are derived from the total of my life experiences. That the origins of a particular feeling may lie in my distant past, but that the way I express that emotion today is my own responsibility. That is to say, I own my emotions and no one is able to "make" me feeling anything. What I feel is mine own and the way in which I react to a particular stimulus.

However, our language is riff with references to influences outside ourselves as being responsible for our feelings. Statements such as "you make me so sad, happy, frustrated, loved" and so on. Or "that thing/event/object/time makes me feel so....".
you get the drift I think.

So, are we all really responsible for our feelings or am I an oddball? By that I mean are we responsible for the feelings, especially those that are negative such as fear, prejudice, anger, hatred and so on as well as the positive ones of love, happiness, joy, contentment and so on.

Or are others capable of invoking feelings, both negative and positive in us?


Closing Statement from william clegg

While there was much debate about the origins of one's feelings, there does seem to be a majority consensus that, yes, we are responsible for how we express our own feelings.

But it seems that there is still a gulf of difference between those who "own" their feelings as so succinctly stated by Joshua Bond and those others who still see outside influences having some measure of influence on 'how we feel..

My sincere thanks to all those who participated in this discussion.

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    Oct 22 2013: We have a double nature: biological and social. I think the biological part works like Timo said, through electrical impulses but trough our social upbringing we learn to translate them into 'feelings' and feelings are thought to us. Remember seeing babies cry bloody murder and mom picking them up and saying 'it's ok"...or little toddlers fighting and snatching things from each other and moms saying: be nice, ...let Alice hold your teddy bear....Others are quite capable of invoking feelings but it's through the social norms that are fed to us from the day we were born. By our biological nature others can threaten our well being trough violence, starvation, excluding or including us in the reproductive process....every thing else it's just 'icing on the cake'...
    Just a thought...
    • Oct 22 2013: Hi Anairda, would you say that what moms do with kids that "cry bloody murder" is useless because a kid does not have the free will to change its behaviour?
      Wouldn't you agree that is what raising a child is all about? To teach and hope for a change in behaviour?
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        Oct 22 2013: I am saying that the way we feel about the world is shaped by other humans from the day we were born . Sure that is what raising a child is. But what I really meant is that the child might cry due to some internal (electric signal that Timo was mentioning) but if mother said it's ok she translates that internal feeling into an outside , socially accepted feeling. In a disadvantaged society the mom might not say 'share your teddy bear' so if the kid will steal an apple she will not say stealing is bad and shameful because you do what you need to do to survive. Again, it's just a personal thought. I guess I am under the spell of a book I am reading that I highly recommend "Crazy like us".

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