Psychological Fragments: Emotional Systems

Emotions are energetically charged psychic content. The magnitude and direction of this charge can be mediated or controlled by conscious cognitive processes, such as thinking, and less conscious aspects, such as attitudes.

Emotional charges have affinities for like-charged units and tend to form clusters that increase their gravity (psychic significance) and complexity. Moreover, these aspects can also extenuate similar features present in the particular situation, thus contributing to an increase in the energetic charge of the overall situation.

Emotions can also become encompassed in larger internal structures. An illustration of this might be something akin to adding a patch to a quilt that represents internalized emotions and activating affective structures. Through this process of extending into broader internal structures, subsequent effects or secondary effects may or may not be functionally autonomous from the initial point of activation. Thus, this secondary effect has the potential to become independent of the initial cause as the cascade of the activational pattern is set into motion.

Chained activation patterns are unconscious, at least in their totality, and only manifest or exert a force when tripped or activated.

Tracing activation patterns can provide information about core infrastructure of one’s inner world and information about one’s way of processing information. How an individual makes sense of and processes this environmental information sheds light on their cognitive style, comprised of attitudinal patterns and preferences for information processing.

A technique for investigating these affective activation patterns is an intervention similar to behavioral chaining, which involves the examination of antecedents and consequences. However, there is more of a need to focus on idiosyncratic associations to gather something of a nodal network of affective (emotional) infrastructure within the individual’s psyche, which, subsequently, allows for an analysis of themes, directions, and inferences about the aim and function of the individual’s emotional repertoire.

Thoughts for Ponderance: Humility & Inquiry

There is always more to be drawn out from the shadows—as long as light continues to shine. The scope of the unknowable is and will always be unknown; through repetition and indirect of methods of approximations, the distance between the known and unknown can be lessened, inferences and hypotheses can be made with reasonable certainty.

However, it will forever remain a limit of human knowledge to determine the extent to which content stills remains lurking in the darkness of the depths. The totality can never be reached through rational thought, only approximated; to assert otherwise is to demonstrate one’s unconsciousness by pretending to have mapped and ascertained that which, by its very nature, is unknowable, both in scope and nature. Therefore, humility will always be a necessary requirement for true intellectual and personal inquiries.

Analyzing the Tension of Opposites

All of existence is held together because opposing forces in equilibrium. But what holds these forces in equilibrium? Tension. When in equilibrium, the tension is equal; but, when it is broken, such as in the case of the aftermath of a war, the tension is unequally distributed, resulting imbalances.

But, where is the tension being skewed; where is this new unequal tension being held? In the minds, hearts and spirts of humans. Put another way, in psychic space. Psychic space is different than physical space in that it does not, to the best of our knowledge, consist of physical space; that is, in the means that it can be measured and said to be in this place or that one. Physical space is left to the quantifiable, the observable, and the seen (aside from dark energy, and dark matter that are, at the least, accounted for through negative derivation).

Many pathologies arise from the mere fact that the psychic is perceived as being somehow less “real” than the physical due to its unobservable nature (even with the advances in the field of neuroscience). This distortion is being further augmented as we continue to place more faith in empirical methods and evidence-based approaches. In turn, this is implicitly discrediting the invisible and intangible, as something purely imaginative and, subsequently, inferior to that of the observable, empirical world nature that constitutes the truer form of reality.

However, to adopt this stance is to demonstrate one’s intellectual hubris; simultaneously, this stance toward understanding truth of reality narrows one’s field of view to an extent that our empirical sciences are becoming increasingly tunnel-visioned in what subject matter merits research and attention. All the while, the reality of one’s inner psychic world is, and will always be, the most direct experience and influential force to shape our lives.

Therefore, it is the exploration of the psychic frontier that demands one’s effortful focus, sensitive tools of introspection, and repeated trials of observation, self-reflection, and data collection. Our collective avoidance and/or belittling of the psychic realm (or mental health) demonstrates our aversion to explore the depths of ourselves that are unknown; our conscious mind soothes itself with rationality and is further reassured by the collective’s tendency toward prizing reason or emotion; however, as continue to witness in current events, we are not the one’s who choose how our psychic world, or mental health, affects us, at least, not in full.

Meaning in Repetition

The only way to determine significance is to view the contents within their context. We live an embodied cognition, meaning we are intertwined, psychic and physical experiential states enmeshed. To separate the two, for study or any meaningful inquiry, requires a degree of acknowledging at the onset that error will occur and, indeed, already has merely due to limitations of the observer and the infinitesimally small uncrossable separation between me and it. This and that. Object and subject.

We always have a personal and collective aspect of our life; we cannot separate one from the other even if we have convinced ourselves of the lie that we have successfully performed this task. No. You may never escape that which you don’t know; because how would you even know what it was that you were escaping? The most blind individual is the one who only understands themselves as an individual and never as an object in context.

To maintain such a psychic position requires a strong degree of hubris willpower. It is effortful and painful to push against the currents of life—yet, that is by no means a declaration that we are not allowed to try! In fact, many of us, myself included, have spent significant portions of our life striving against ourselves. Like an auto-immune disease attacking its own body, we utilize our mind to attack the very roots that hold us up.

Then, when we imagine ourselves to have succeeded in such an absurd task, we reverse course in a dramatic fashion, worrying about our isolation and complaining about our separateness. Given enough time, this mindset begins to take hold as the default position. It extends a step further, lamenting the initial act of severing one’s own roots—then, another step, vilifying the agent that could carry out such a horrendous action against our body—the body wherein our personal, individual mind resides.

And, with the small steps of each movement, the fact that we were the initial cause and agent that cut us from our roots slips into the unconscious, where the forgotten and repressed mingle and plot their schemes for returning to the light of our conscious mind.

When looked up from the depths of this dark, bottomless abyss, the stream of consciousness appears as an illuminated flow crossing across the mind of the liver. And so the process repeats: unconscious content vie for life in the spotlight of the stage of consciousness, and we go about operating from this place of awareness, left once more with the choice of acknowledging the existence that there exists far more within ourselves persistently knocking at consciousness’ door, or relying on more effortful and convoluted measures to attempt in vain to seal this unknown door.