Wednesday, July 13, 2011


'It' came up again in the conversation recently.

"What about emotions transmitted over distance?"

A couple of questions clarifying exactly what it was that was being asked, 'til we realised that it's that feeling you get that Grandma(for example) isn't doing so well, then you find out, "Oh. My. GOD! Grandma's had a stroke, I 'felt it'!"

Skeptics can point to the feelings you get sometimes that something is wrong when it turns out that there's nothing amiss. I don't think this helps much. True Believers are as apt to dismiss that as skeptics are to dismiss spiritual explanations. I don't think there is anything at all that one can say to a True Believer which could possibly step in between their idea that their feeling of impending doom for a loved one and the conclusion, that a loved one is in peril is valid evidence for, at the very least, an emotional level telepathy.

There's something seriously wrong with us, I think, when a huge portion of us take it for granted that there is some kind of mysterious force, more or less keeping us in contact with each other, but I do think I know it roots.

Have you ever noticed how you feel different when you are walking along the street by yourself compared to walking along with someone, or even with a dog?

Have you even noticed how the house feels different when there's someone else home?

I think it just has to do with how our brain works, how we are just paying attention to the fact that the wife is in the house somewhere, or that the dog is in the corner, or similarly that we're pacing our walk to accomodate our companion?

That there is your basic 'emotional communication', you ARE 'attached' to that other because you're getting clues, a breath, a footstep, some sound perhaps at the edge of our hearing range which is nevertheless comforting.

I think it's that we react, not to 'the situation', but to the 'change in the situation', which is converted by us to imagining that we are reacting to the situation, there's not much difference in the framing of it.

"We had a good walk.", means, more or less, "No uncomfortable situations arose.", and the same with other situations where your home with someone just being there.

Funny thing happens when you're walking along with a companion and they don't do what it is that you think they should be doing, if for example you're walking and talking, look around and they're not there!

The same kind of thing happens when you're interacting with your companion and they start playing with you, disagreeing with everything you say, disagreeing with the you that is you, they're playing with the emotional bond that you feel you have with them.

I'm trying to paint a picture of the emotional stew that is our daily lives, all our friends, relatives, pets, strangers, other peoples' pets and so on provoke emotional reactions in us which becomes our background, part of the 'I' that I project onto others and part of the 'you' and the 'him/her' that she/she projects onto me.

A stray thought of Grandma coupled with an odd feeling that something is amiss is likely not unusual since Grandma is likely to be old and I might feel that it's been too long since I've contacted her. Couple that with news that something has befallen Grandma and we have the makings of a hit, an instance of long distance emotional communication. That same thought with a quick call confirming Grandma is fine, isn't a miss, "What? I was merely concerned that I hadn't heard from Grandma for a bit is all!"

How simple is it for the True Believer to use such mundane emotional connections to their advantage and declare the rest of us, who are likely in the minority, closed minded?


Harvey said...

Such "emotional contacts" or intuitive feelings are, at elast inpart, the result of the same "need" for better control of what is frequently a hostile environment that leads us to create or accept religion. The worls is a generally scary place, full of phenomena that are beyond our puny control. The efforts of our primitive forbears to gain some control is what led them to create deities and later to try to influence their behavior by prayer or sacrifice. As a result, many of us want to believe that we can "sense" things that are not readily explainable by scientific observation. Hence, we "knew" that something was wrong with Grandma. As long as we do not act upon these arcane "messages" in ways that can have deleterious outcomes, such hunches are of little import, especially when they are confirmed after the fact when there is nothing to be accomplished anyway. As far as I am concerned, all of this (beliefs,religion,unexplained
"awareness", etc.) is just another example of our "whistling in the dark".

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

We are so subject to so many cognitive biases that I've come to completely discount personal experience. We now know tat large parts of our 'Free will' occurs prior to actually being exposed to the stimulus that ostensibly triggers our reaction. It's not hard to suppose that on occasion we become 'aware' of this process and apply mystical meaning to it.