Thinking about feelings

One significant problem with the fields of medicine and psychology is that feelings are something to be rationalised, quartered, and cubed into rigid and limited geometric shapes.

The two fields are grounded in greek, latin and chrisian mysticism, placing the “self” as something inherintly separate from the body. Moreover, that the body, or other physical matter is something inferior, undesireable, or simply, dirty. So they mentally and emotionally, thus physically, attempt to remove themselves from the situation at hand. This comes from some knee-jerk fear response against human nature and the result is arrogance and an obnoxious toxic superiority complex.

Now why is this relevant to the field of HTI? Because the research methods adopted by HTI (Human Technology Interaction) or HCI (Human Comptuer Interaction) has come from fields such as sociology and psychology, in addition to technical fields such as computer science, information systems and engineering. But as sociology and psychology are supposed to provide concepts for ethics, humanity and emotions; it is ironic that the core values of those fields are all based on separating feelings and emotions from the body, thus the physical world around you.

The phrase to “think about feelings” is an oxymoron. One feels feelings and thinks thoughts,  an attempt to think about feelings is like attempting to rationalise what is irrational. To apply logic to chaos, ends up being nonsense, circular logic or some kind of non sequitur. Instead what you need is a sense or feeling of chaos, not pure rational reasoning, and certainly not rational thought.

What you get when you rationalise feelings is an emotional distance with the world around you, it separates your “self” from those around you and from the world around you. “Achieving  objectivity” is an impossible pointless goal, as you cannot be objective in any environment which you are a part of. And once you are in an environment, you cannot be out of it. That is, as long as you want to be informed and have any say. Even by watching or being a passive observer, you are still part of the environment. So it is foolish and ignorant to set that as a goal.

Instead we can aim for neutrality. Absorbing information while maintaining balance, sense, and yes, reason. The balancing act of:

consensus and decision making

values and immediate need

guiding principles and survival

But if you do not recognise your own place within the environment, and make decisions based on removing yourself (emotionally) from the situation, you will loose perspective and sense, as you strive for objectivity. People who strive for objectivity force others to bare the emotional labour, by absolving themselves of emotional responsibility. And that has a very real effect on the immediate environment one is observing.