4. Emotions (“Heart”)

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Jonathan H. Turner, a renowned sociological theorist who wrote the Foreword to Creating Life Before Death, centered his research on the emotional experiences of the individual. A key part of his general theory has to do with the impact of negative and positive experiences on emotions:
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The Law of Negative Emotional Energy: When individuals receive negative sanctions and/or fail to realize their expectations in an encounter, they will experience negative emotions
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The Law of Positive Emotional Energy: When individuals receive positive sanctions and/or realize their expectations in an encounter, they will experience positive emotions (in Phillips, et al., 2020).
Examples of negative emotions are pessimism, hate, shame, guilt, fear, despair, anxiety, unhappiness, boredom, disappointment and sorrow. Positive emotions include optimism, love, pride, self-acceptance, confidence, hope, serenity, happiness, passion, satisfaction and joy.
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Negative emotions, following Turner, can have a positive impact. For they can teach us about the existence of problems that we should address. This is why we have paid substantial attention to the experiences we have within our bureaucratic way of life: they have much to teach us about how to move toward  alternative patterns of behavior.
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Yet our ability to face our problems depends largely on a belief that we can learn to move beyond them. Thus, without a vision of an alternative way of life where we can solve our problems, we continue to live with problems and, worse, repress them. Following another of Turner’s laws, the Law of Repression, this leads to the intensification of negative emotions.
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As for receiving positive sanctions or rewards from others, our immersion within hierarchical patterns of behavior sharply limits those possibilities for the vast majority of us. Looking outward to others for our rewards—for love is supposedly the answer—is so fundamental to our way of life that it is quite difficult for the individual to learn to no longer depend on this.
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This is the reason why so many victims of domestic abuse continue to live with their abusers. It is not only a question of many of them not having the economic resources to move out. It is also the fact for a great many that they see no alternative but to continue to depend on their abusers for emotional support, even though any such reinforcements are also accompanied by verbal or physical abuse.
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Our realistic situation is that getting rewards for our behavior depends very largely on fulfilling expectations, aspirations or goals pointing toward our own development. This is why our ability to continue to set new goals and then fulfill them—based on a vision of an evolutionary way of life—is also a formula for moving from negative to positive emotions, yielding development of “heart” no less than “head” and “hand.” Here, then, is nothing less than the basis for personal evolution, given such successes with the three fundamental elements of the human being.
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Here, in summary, is a direction for solving personal and world problems. An understanding of our present immersion within a bureaucratic way of life helps us to understand we must depend on the fulfillment of our own goals in order to experience positive emotions. Our vision of an evolutionary way of life enables us to learn from our negative experiences rather than repress them. We can fulfill that vision by following the image of the future developed by Polak and Busch, which includes our learning to use the powerful tools of language and the scientific method. The result will be nothing less than our movement toward the fulfillment of our vast human potentials.
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We all have the possibilities for accomplishing this, yet the limited understanding of ourselves fostered by the lack of integration of knowledge of human behavior stands in our way. That problem in the lap of social scientists lies behind the failure of our educational institutions along with the mass media to help us learn about ourselves.
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We’ve come into the world without a textbook or people that can teach us how to develop ourselves very far. All of our institutions fail us as well in this respect. Our new social movement, Personal and World Evolution, centers on remedying this situation. We expect to help more and more of us learn to fulfill possibilities that already exist in every single human being.
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This may well prove to be “the meaning of life” for a great many of us: fulfilling our incredible possibilities and, as a result, reaching for the stars.
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