Manual For Love or Duty

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There are at least two methods of internal control. We can bring about a particular emotion with success by giving ourselves reasons to have particular emotions. Knowing that our close friend would not want us to be in a bad mood and would instead want us to be joyful on her wedding day, we might tell ourselves that because it is a special occasion, we should not be in a bad mood and that we should instead be joyful. In giving ourselves a reason to be joyful and not to be in a bad mood, there is a good chance that we would not be in a bad mood, and would instead be joyful.

By giving ourselves reasons to have particular emotions, we can bring about particular emotions with success, when we intend to do so.


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Another method of internal control calls on us to reflect on the reasons why we tend to experience particular emotions in particular circumstances or toward particular persons. Through reflecting on these reasons, we might then decide to continue to have particular emotions, if the emotions are supported by good reasons, or to discontinue to have particular emotions, if the emotions are not supported by good reasons. For example, in The Sovereignty of Good , Iris Murdoch gives an example where a mother-in-law feels contempt for her daughter-in-law even though the mother-in-law outwardly acts kindly toward the daughter-in-law.

After knowing the cause of her contempt for the daughter-in-law, the mother-in-law decides that her feelings of contempt for her daughter-in-law are not supported by good reasons.

Love and Duty

To take another example, we might have reflected on the reasons why we have friendly emotions toward a particular person, and realize that some of the reasons are because the person appreciates us for who we are and because the person really cares about our well-being. Perhaps, unfortunately, we become engaged in an unpleasant dispute with the person, having reflected on the reasons why we have friendly emotions toward the person, we might recall these reasons.

In doing so, there is a good chance that we would be able to continue to have friendly emotions toward the person. A less direct, but nevertheless viable, way by which we can bring about particular emotions with success is deliberately to place ourselves in situations in which we know that we would probably experience particular emotions. We may call this the method of external control.

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For example, if we know that we tend to feel pious when attending church services or tend to feel compassion when visiting homeless shelters, then we know that we have a reasonable chance of feeling pious or feeling compassion if we do these respective things. We have discussed ways of bringing about particular emotions in particular situations for particular persons. We can also cultivate our emotional capacities such that we would be more likely to have particular emotions in appropriate circumstances.

As Aristotle says, cultivation involves habituation as well as reflection. After some time and effort, it is likely that we would cultivate the capacities for these emotions. For example, if we wish to cultivate our capacity for joy, we might begin by behaving as if we are joyful. We might smile, whistle, sing, skip and hop, shout hurrah, and engage in various forms of behavior that are associated with joy. Through engaging in these forms of behavior repeatedly over time, it is likely that we would cultivate the capacity for joy.

Indeed, Augustine observes that through enacting the behavior associated with religious rituals, we seem to increase our capacity for religious feelings:. For when men pray they do with the members of their bodies what befits suppliants—when they bend their knees and stretch their hands, or even prostrate themselves, and whatever else they do visibly, although their invisible will and the intention of their heart is known to God. Nor does He need these signs for the human mind to be laid bare to Him. But in this way a man excites himself to pray more and to groan more humbly and more fervently.

And in this manner the disposition of the heart which preceded them in order that they might be made, grows stronger because they are made. Another strategy for cultivating our emotional capacities is by repeatedly using the method of external control such as by repeatedly placing ourselves in situations in which we know that we would probably experience particular emotions. Using our previous examples, let us suppose that we know that attending church services and visiting homeless shelters often elicit emotions of piety and compassion in us.

To cultivate our capacities for such emotions, we might repeatedly visit such places. In doing so, there is a good chance that we would cultivate these emotional capacities.

What a Tangled Life I Live!

A third strategy for cultivating our emotional capacities is by repeatedly using the method of internal control described previously such as by repeatedly using reasons to motivate us to have certain emotions. For example, let us suppose that we believe that life is more enjoyable when we have a joyful disposition, and we believe therefore that having an enjoyable life is a good reason why we should cultivate our capacity for joy. If we repeatedly remind ourselves of this reason, there is a good chance that we would cultivate the capacity for joy. Finally, the method of cultivating emotional capacities involves not merely a repetition of internal and external control over time, but also deep reflection on the reasons why we tend to have particular emotions and whether we have good reasons for continuing or not continuing to have these emotions.

For example, let us suppose that a person is easily angered and upon reflecting on why he is so easily angered realizes that the reason is because his anger allows him to intimidate others into submitting to his desires.

He may decide that using anger to intimidate others is not a good way of getting things done. He may also decide that he does not want to be the kind of person who is so easily angered. If so, and if he repeatedly uses these reasons to motivate himself not to become so easily angered, there is a good chance that he would cultivate a disposition where he would not be so easily angered.

This suggests that to cultivate our emotional capacities, we may be required to evaluate critically some of our fundamental values, and to alter some of our ingrained character traits such as becoming more reflective than superficial, or becoming more altruistic than self-interested.

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Such cultivation can be difficult. However, the cultivation of physical abilities such as learning how to play the piano or to sail a boat is often equally difficult. Yet people acquire these capacities nevertheless. Moreover, in all these methods, the objective is not just to have the appearance of the emotions appropriate for the circumstance, but actually to have the genuine emotions appropriate for the circumstance. The Commandability of the Emotional Aspect of Love. The three methods discussed above are also applicable to the emotional aspect of love.

For example, we can bring about the emotional aspect of love with success using the two methods of internal control. Let us consider parental love. We can give ourselves reasons to feel warmth and affection for a child.

rikonn.biz/wp-content/2020-02-01/spiare-whatsapp-da-blackberry.php Many reasons are possible, but a good reason is that children need this emotional aspect of love in order to develop certain capacities necessary to pursue a good life. Let us consider romantic love.

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If we have been introduced to a potential partner, we might give ourselves reasons such as the person seems very kind or the person seems interested in us as a way of getting ourselves to feel warmth and affection for the person. In addition, we can reflect on the reasons why we tend to feel a certain way, for example, toward a particular child. Perhaps we do not initially like a child, and, upon reflection, we realize that our antipathy toward the child is due to the facts that the child was unplanned and that the child was born at a time when we already had too many children.

We might then recognize that this is not the fault of the child and that therefore this is not a good reason for disliking the child. If we then begin to see the child without this initial prejudice, there is a chance that we would be able to bring about warmth and affection for the child.


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  • Moreover, we can bring about the emotional aspect of love for another person with success through external control by deliberately placing ourselves in situations in which we would have a good chance to feel affection and warmth for the person. For example, if we know that getting enough sleep helps us to be more affectionate and warm toward the child, then we might make sure that we have enough sleep each night so that we would be more loving toward the child. Finally, we can cultivate our capacity to give affection and warmth for a person.

    We can do this, for example, through behavioral inducement. We might try to act affectionately and warmly toward another person, even if we do not initially feel these emotions for the person. By repeatedly doing so, there is a good chance that we would cultivate the capacity to feel affection and warmth for the person. Alternatively, we can try to cultivate this capacity through external control.

    Lastly, we might try to cultivate this emotional capacity through deep reflection such as reflecting on the reasons why we do not feel love for a particular person, and determine whether our reasons are justified. In doing so, there is a good chance that we would develop the emotional capacity to love that person. Indeed, when arranged marriages were prevalent and still are in some parts of the world, couples might have employed these methods as ways of getting themselves to feel the emotions of love for their partners. The various methods are compatible with different theories of emotions.

    For example, the method of internal control can be used to achieve the commandability of our emotions if the cognitive theory of emotions were the correct theory of emotions. The method of external control is compatible with the behavioral theory of emotions as well as the feeling theory of emotions.

    For example, when we go to church to feel more pious, we would be directly affecting the behavioral aspect of the emotion of being pious in that the church might predispose us to perform actions associated with being pious such as being quiet and praying. On the feeling theory, we would be placing ourselves in an environment that would indirectly influence the feeling component of our emotion in that our heart might flutter more being in a church. As we have taken emotions to be a composite of feelings, attitudes and behavior, all three methods are necessary for the commandability of emotions and the emotional aspect of love.

    We should not think that the entire aspect of love is commandable if we just employ the three methods. The dimensions of love are complex and love is not just an emotion, but involves having appropriate attitudes and behavior over a long period of time. Nevertheless, the claim that the emotional aspect of love is never commandable is too strong. Reasonable Success and Guaranteed Success. Some people might draw a distinction between bringing about an action with reasonable success and bringing it about with guaranteed success.