Monday, July 25, 2016

The Elimination of Emotion in Future Worlds

I had an epiphany during today's skills group and it was sort of lead from my having viewed The Giver last night for the second time. It's a great movie and I recommend it. I have read the book as well (own an autographed copy of the book which I need to read again as it's been a few years). There's a scene from there I noticed especially. I think I'm kind of sensitive to these sort of themes in movies because of my own struggles with regulating my emotions (the movie Frozen is another one that really pushes the emotional buttons for me) but watching this I'm reminded of similar themes in other books I've read. Here's a clip from the movie:

So the idea is in order to have this perfect society where everyone is safe and fed and has a home, there can be no emotions, not just unhappy ones but happy ones too (there's a discussion between two of the characters later on in the movie so again, if you haven't seen it, check it out; I don't want to spoil too much of it).

Dealing with Difficult Emotions

By that I mean emotions that are so overwhelming in some cases, you can't function. How do you deal with that? How do you reach a place where you can use skills to deal with the emotions? And in talking about that, one thing that comes up is dealing with myths regarding emotions. Some myths being that emotions are bad, that we are our emotions. Emotions are not bad though. They are sometimes necessary; they are oftentimes lifesaving. They meet needs. And perhaps in a "perfect" society where all of our needs are met emotions are unnecessary but I don't think that's right either.

Emotions good and bad are eliminated.

It occurred to me that in a lot of dystopian type novels, emotions are somehow eradicated. In The Giver, it is through daily medication. In Brave New World, it is with something called Soma. Fahrenheit 451 used entertainment such as large walls of TV screens (eek, that one is hitting kind of close to home!). Utopian worlds do it too. In Star Trek, the more advanced species are the ones who have conquered their emotions and let only logic reason (except for that time of mating which always seems to throw people's emotions out of whack, dang hormones!). The more savage species is the Klingons who war and can't control their emotions and warlike ways. Some of the major characters are the ones who are half one of these species and half humans and have to struggle with the more emotional side of their genetics. Spock of the original series was half human and half Vulcan and struggled with his human side because of the emotional side. B'lanna, from Voyager, struggled with her half Klingon side and it was the human side that stabilized the emotions somewhat.

And yet having emotions is what makes us human. 

Having emotions also attracts those who were not human to be human. Data from The Next Generation (feel free to think I'm a total sci-fi nerd here) rejoiced when he finally was able to experience emotions as for him, that meant he was completely human. The Doctor from Voyager also worked to learn more about emotions, both the good and the bad (you can't have one without the other unfortunately) and used his desire to achieve more human like traits such as having emotions to help Seven of Nine reach her more human side (by again, reconnecting with the emotional side she had more or less lost while with the Borg).

So it's kind of interesting how we as humans have a sort of love/hate relationship with our emotions and how some see suppressing those emotions as the ultimate way to advance as a species. Perhaps we fear the primal side of those emotions. However, one skill we learn as those who are especially emotional is to accept our emotions, both the positive and the negative. The emotions in and of themselves are not the bad thing. It's our response to those emotions that can be destructive.

Thoughts? I'd love to read them!

1 comment:

Karen Loethen said...

Another wonderful and thoughtful post!!!

We humans are SO weird about emotions. In my own family growing up, emotions were offered as PROOF that you were "a mess". If your emotions were "too strong" you (I) were disregarded and treated as though you were too unbalanced to matter.

Yes, learning to accept and love and trust my emotions has been a long, uphill battle, one that I notice only one other of my siblings has sought to climb, a little bit.

Janeen, I love reading your blog; I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get here.
Would you mind if i added your blog to the blog list on my own blog?
I DID add it, but I could remove it if you prefer...