Emotions I have. They seem to be like strong currents in a three dimensional scape, as graspable as wind, pulling hither, yon, sometimes convulsing into hurricanes of lethal gale perfectly capable of tearing, ripping. A heat from the south, or a sinewy sharp gust from above. Like a smart sailor there are times when I can deploy sheets to the wind and go far; but there are times when those sheets of self come twist and knot, or, to change metaphors, self becomes a fire either snuffed or powered by these air streams. Therefore certain siroccos can be accounted for and used or avoided by the study of the coming clouds. While a bit of predictive metrology is possible, emotions are invisible like wind and so never truly graspable. Emotions are to be felt, withstood. I can, I do, use them to steer and fuel my fire, to billow sails.
The image has limits as of course because it conceives of emotional experience as always something somewhat passive, and allows not for one to self-power oneself into good directions. It must be allowed that there are at least two weather systems, in my own being and in the exterior. Sometimes beautiful storms or damaging heat-waves come from interactions of these patterns. No wonder the forecast is not reliable.
As I seem to be made of weak bamboo and paper, opinions and judgements too are whirls and corollas affected mini weather systems within my joints. Ever at the mercy of a wind from a different direction, yet still I affect a measure of control over this meat covered body in order to gather certain coloured streams, let others blow away and out, or allow new tidal movements. In short: the mental tools of opinion and judgement as as invisible and ungraspable as those emotion winds. I merely deploy my limbs in ways to keep those invisible mental tools consistent, or move them so that some over-strong current won’t shred the paper self that fills this one body.
There are those whose emotions have solid affect. Emotion-nouns almost offensively wayward in how they press close. The thought-shapes these people live with are variously comfortable or unpleasant objects. An icy warm love that melts in your hot hands, or the tinder straw of desire aflame yet always grows back. Judgements and opinions like wirework propping and supporting object-thought, wireworks that bend with weight or stretch thin at times. Which one you choose to look at and what looms large and soothingly or sharp and small or any other combination. To grasp a slippery happiness; the small resentments like grit from the beach; the soapy bubbles of small amusements; sturdy prop of helper love; unexpected memory shard; sticky strange friendship. Or one can back oneself into a corner and merely observe, an ineffective disengagement since the gaze can never truly be still.
These are only approximations…the two conceptions above are approaches, not positions above reproach. Emotions are pre-verbal; descriptions of how they are experienced are dissonant from wet feeling. Just as equations describing a falling object’s speed are accurate descriptors, but not at all the same.
One third image. Postulate emotions as if nourishment. The act of tasting, smelling, swallowing, effort to masticate: aren’t emotions as proximate, vivid, undeniable as an act of eating? Like nourishment, emotion is literally responsible for the movements of our physical bodies, and to a greater or lesser extent, becomes our very beings. Emotions travel the interstices of being, causing growth or leaving poison. As the foodstuff does not always taste as healthy as it might be, astringent feelings too add nutritive value or not; some tastes pass right away, others leave persistent aftertastes. Food is chemically converted into bio-electrical muscle movement—the same is true of feelings. We try and eliminate the noxious feelings lest they infect us. As a meal passes invisible (but sometimes felt) through the digestive tract and leaves traces of health or poison, emotions too have their invisible movements within the soul. One tries to only eat delicious and healthy things, but there is strange satisfaction in indulging something overly bitter or greasy. Emotions like foods are immediate sensations, but the effects on our bodies and souls take time (years even) to notice. And if one is starving, one might partake of the most available comestibles, unhealthy though they might be. There are people (often teenagers) who have the worst kinds of habits but somehow grow up fine. Some don’t care what they eat. Eating badly is not always a choice. And that is where this image fails, as emotions are not always choices, and we partake of them with no end—a movable feast indeed! Even an absence of significant feeling worms though a person and changes them, for worse or better.
All these images—indeed almost all my writing, ever—is comparing apples to oranges. Of course! Emotions aren’t food, weather patterns, or objects. Emotions are themselves. My paragraphs are frame shifts imposed from the outside. I believe in the absolute importance of transformation. “Things,” especially “things” in the sphere of experience must be transformed into Other for them to be understood. Speaking about emotion in its own terms is fine, and speaking about cognitive experience in its own language is fine too. But I feel that there is an immense added value in transmuting “things” into imagery. The alchemic power is in that something as untouchable and invisible and silent as “limerence” can retakes its freshness if it were shown as if limerence were “a constant green melody—how I feel about that person and their being—weaving through the ever movable now,” which gives sensory impress to anyone with a modicum of imagination. Rage, “strictly,” is as silent as the emotion of gentle grace, but synthetically it is a roar, while grace is something less loud. So even before the act of metaphor, emotions invade our limbic senses. What I do is an attentive act of transformation that gives abstract experience some manipulable and communicable aspect. I do it to soothe myself, to make art, and to find new ways to colour reality.