The politics behind telling you ”how to feel”
Recent examples of how political authority under President George W. Bush demands feelings like patriotism or demands reverence for a narrow religious bias and concomitantly creates shame and fear of excommunication from power if you don’t play along, have stunned many people. Such demands can only be made successfully under fear — i.e.
When we have been made or manipulated to feel afraid — when fear is heightened in a group, we are more easily shamed into obedience. Disobediance is then portraied as jeopardizing the safety of all. Hitler knew about and used that psychological phenominon almost like a law of physics.
When we feel free and safe to ’feel what we feel’, not necessarily to ”act what we feel”, but to receive, acknowledge and endevour to understand our feelings and their origin, we are stimulated to increase communication and understanding. Conversely, deception and the ensuing confusion and fear of punitive authority, force both communication and understanding to go underground… the hallmark of dictatorial regimes.
With this dictionary, we try to bring basic feelings back to basic situations — no shoulds. There is no better way of doing this than to study very young children: how do they react to situations, what are their feelings informing them of ? and how do they express those feelings ?
When you read the feeling definitions, think of them as the gift of information that your body provides. How we act on this information is up to each individual in accordance with competence, knowledge, goals, courage, determination etc. But be aware that those who have an interest to lead you in the direction of their interest (politicians, priests, spindoctors, teachers or experts in general) will attempt to define those feelings for you. So read, as always, with discrimination and see what rings true for you.