If decisions made according to the heart lead to acts of evil, can it be said that emotions themselves are a form of evil, because it can lead to, as Ayn Rand puts it, someone turning into a mystic of muscle or faith? If I like a girl even though she's not particularly smarter than me, and kind of liberal, am I doing something wrong? I genuinely like her presence. She's kind and caring, and is a very independent person--something I admire--but she's a liberal, and that's where I question myself on whether or not I'm judging the situation according to my heart or mind. My question is: Are human emotions bad? (Plus, she's really hot).
asked Dec 24 '11 at 21:03
Is food bad because it can make you fat?
Your emotional capacity is a tool, a mental counterpart to your physical pain/pleasure mechanism, but whereas the latter is basically unalterable, you must "set" your emotions, so to speak, by automatizing the correct premises, or making clear in your head the proper ideas from which your emotions ought to flow.
To paraphrase Leonard Peikoff, "think, and you shall feel." You seem to understand that reason alone should guide your actions, but that doesn't mean emotions don't have a place; you simply have to use them appropriately, as inducement to do or refrain from doing certain things.
Analogize this to pleasure and pain. You feel good when you eat tasty food. However, if you only rely on taste, you might get sick. Should you therefore have surgery to numb your sense of taste so as to ensure you never eat on its basis again? No, that would be totally unnecessary and harmful, considering you can simply choose to eat rationally and then have your taste buds reward you for it.
In short, there is no reason to destroy an esthetically pleasing hammer just because you could stare at it all day instead of using it to build a house.
answered Dec 24 '11 at 22:22
Yanking one hand back from touching a hot stove, squinting in bright sunlight - are automatic reflexes to the stimuli experienced. Similarly, emotions are an automatic lightening fast response to what one is presented with at the moment, but they are not, as such, a tool of cognition.
answered Dec 24 '11 at 22:35