Emotional Thinking

There is nothing like ‘thinking versus emotion’. There is thinking and there is emotional thinking. Thinking, rawly, is connectionism. You connect 2 pieces of data in a certain way to arrive at a thought – a product of intellect. But so do you connect 2 “emotional elements” in certain ways reminiscent of connectionism (as is present in thinking) to arrive at an emotional thought. Suppose you love your 2 sisters – Mary and Jane. You think – when’s my love Mary going to come to meet me here? I haven’t seen Jane for a long long time. How I wish I could talk to Jane! Then there can be a ‘THOUGHT’ – an emotional thought – like what if both of them came here? And you feel immense happiness at that imagination. Here you have connected 2 emotional elements – your attachment to Mary and your attachment to Jane, with a connectionist element of “COMBINATION”. You have combined / added the 2. This is thinking in the emotional realm. Lets see this in more detail.


All emotions are associated with a want, a desire. Take say feeling emotional about seeing your favourite batsman walk off the ground in his last match. Here there is a want of seeing him bat. Or something like – oh, what a cute puppy! Here you want to hold the puppy close to you. Emotions are thus networks of such wants. Suppose someone narrates to you the sacrifices of the freedom fighters of your country and you get emotional. There is firstly a want of those fighters for freedom for the freedom; there is your want of not seeing such good people not suffer; there is a realisation of their want for the fulfillment of your want of freedom. This is an example of a set of connected wants in the emotionality of the whole issue. 


Now, lets see what these wants are connected by; what the connectionist elements are. Emotions are said to not support high-level thinking and allow only for “dumb”, low-level elementary thinking. Lets not get into that debate. (Higher level intellectual feats are achieved consciously by “controlling oneself” and “maintaining calm”. Even if you are intensely charged up and motivated, you cannot let all that spill over into the actual process of the execution of the intellectual act or the mental skill). This feature of emotions allowing for only shallow thinking is seen in the nature of the connectionism in their case of thinking – these are essentially simple conceptual antonym pairs (and in the obvious sense of amount of distinction i.e. high and low) like – distant/close, get/not get, create/destroy, more/less, add/subtract, present/absent, win/lose etc. In the case of the 3rd want of the freedom fighters’ example, the connectionist element is a comparison of the amounts of ‘distant’ and ‘close’ – “they (freedom fighters) were so disconnected and thus “far” from me/us (present generation) and yet they have a want for fulfilling my wants (something like closeness)!” Or suppose your son goes to school and you get the thought owing to your love and care for him – what if other students eat up his tiffin? Here the 2 emotions are – your love for your son and son’s want of tiffin. The connectionst element involved – the speculation of someone eating up his tiffin – is a simple case of ‘CREATE/DESTROY’ (others finishing his food) or ‘GET/NOT GET’ (he getting the food or not)!


Take another example. Suppose your beloved batsman is playing his last match. Also, you have a huge passion for making your son a cricketer. You take him to the match. The batsman gets out and is walking off for the last time. You are obviously in tears for that one particular emotion. But then there can be an emotional thought – why don’t I lift my son (whom I badly want to become a cricketer) in my arms and show him this great cricketer which his growing generation will never see again. The 2 emotions (beloved batsman + want of making your son a cricketer) have been connected by the elementary connectionist concept of ‘ADD’ (see the listed examples above). You have added one to the other. 


‘Wants’ bound by ‘simple connectionism of elementary concepts’ is the ‘network’ of ’emotional thinking’.
(Each of the terms in quotes have been talked about above). 

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