Carl Jung once said
“We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect; we apprehend it just as much by feeling. Therefore, the judgment of the intellect is, at best, only the half of truth, and must, if it be honest, also come to an understanding of its inadequacy.”
I feel these words. Pardon the pun. I am a feelings man and I have often wondered how Jung would view the modern world. I personally think he would have a field day and have more work on his plate than he knew what to do with. But that is a conversation for another day.
Now, intellect vs feeling as a means of understanding the world.
What have we learnt since the death of god?
That a large percentage of us have replaced our crucifixes for telescopes and science books. We do not trust feelings. We instead attempt to frame them as merely a chemical reaction within the body or a momentary unexplained phenomenon. Yet, we know this is only half of the equation when it comes to understanding the world. After all, what is life without feeling?
Let’s use a simple thought experiment. Would you say having a child is objectively a good decision for most people?
I think, if we are honest and use our intellect, the answer is almost definitely no. We know that there are 153,000,000 orphans in the world. Yep. The population of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom combined. All orphans needing homes.
We know having a baby around will be hard work, we will lack sleep, time, energy. We won’t be able to travel as frivolously, go out with friends as often, do as we please. We know economically they are outrageously expensive and bring ridiculous amounts of stress into our lives. Just to name a few reasons that it’s objectively not the best decision.
Yet, I want to start a family of my own one day. Almost everyone else I know does too. Why is that?
Feelings. We have these often illogical, unexplainable feelings and most of our lives are run floundering about after them. Coffee. Makes us feel good. TV. Takes our minds away from stresses and makes us feel better momentarily. Fast food. Our taste buds feel good. Yet we can logically come up with superior alternatives to all these behaviours and habits.
We feel our way through life as much as we do think our way through life. This poses a separate question, what do we do with this knowledge?
I would propose that directing as many of these feelings toward positive, productive pursuits is one of the answers.
We need to move toward cultivating a life full of positive feelings that make sense to us. Feelings that align with who we are and our life mission. We cannot live our life purely based on intellect. We need to take risks. We need to feel sometimes in order to know something is not for us, or to know we don’t want to be with someone. The more we can feel positive emotions and content the more we will live a better life.
You are floating on an orb in the middle of the cosmos circling a red dwarf star, this fact alone should be enough to make you howl at the sky in laughter. The true absurdity that is this existence.
Try feeling something for the first time, sometime soon (if it doesn’t hurt anybody) and see how you go. Let me know in the comments if you enjoy yourself and how you felt😊.
Until next time.