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The Rationale of the Emotions

Monday September 27 2004 13:09 IST

By Karmayogi

Emotions are rich. Their reason is flawless, unerring. Some people speak of their emotional intuition which never fails. Still, Mind is superior to the emotions, but has no unfailing perception of men or events.

In a group of emotional men, one who thinks, who is clear-headed, will be suspect. He will never be in favour. This is because emotions are understandable by others, while thought or ideas are not. Also, emotions cannot be insincere while Mind can be insincere.

Therefore, emotions are always valued, valued more than thoughts, in spite of the mind's superiority. A mental man never expresses his emotions, always keeps them under control. When he is moved by emotion, it is a great moment in his life. On the other hand, there are uneducated, unformed people who are incapable of thought.

You cannot hold a serious discussion with them. If they do not understand, they will fly into a rage or if they are weak, they will break down. They too are emotional. I wish to speak of such people with strong convictions. Boxing was developed by the Chinese to near perfection. They believed they had perfected that art.

It was true. From that premise they extended their understanding to believing that boxers were invincible. It was an unshakable belief in them. They once had to face rifles, but they were unshaken in the belief of their invincibility!

It is difficult for us now at this distance of time to believe that such a belief existed, but it is true. Such emotions have a way of flying in the face of facts. They evince an utter disregard to common sense.

Exhibition of such attitudes in politics, administration, military, and public life is so common that it requires no illustration. I wish to explain such an attitude among the Southerners in the American Civil War.

The North-South ratio in free males aged 18-60 was 4.4:1; in factory production it was 10:1, in iron 15:1, coal 38:1, ship tonnage 25:1, wealth 3:1, railroad mileage 8.4:1, farm acreage 3:1, draft animals 1.8:1, livestock 1.5:1.

The only commodity in which the South was ahead was cotton. It was 1:24. There were so many other factors utterly in favour of the North.

The South consisted of the slave owning States, led by the traditional gentry. It is they who provoked the war, fought it with such courage and devotion, heckled the Northern Senators, even beat one of them with a cane in the Senate!

The certitude they had in their cause of defending slavery matured into an emotional faith, almost into a physical passion. They believed they would certainly win. How on earth MAN can ever arrive at such a conclusion, only their emotions know.

Their conviction was absolute. Their defeat too was absolute. When we are faced with a situation that demands reason, we can see that our emotions egg us on to a certitude. We must listen to Reason and go beyond to the Spirit.
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