Emotions appear in a spectrum ranging from deep and slowly developed to flaring and fast. Our classification by inventing names for feelings disregards the actual spectral picture, so love , fear etc.. not only have an intensity but also a stage of development in the Self. The “fast” emotions like infatuation, sympathy,…, are speeded up versions of deeper feelings which are closer to our essential being, like “essential” love, friendship , and so on. In a marriage, for example, there can be many rather aggressive interactions and yet both parties know that is not real, in some sense, because they know there is a much deeper essential feeling behind it and that is often “essential love”. That means that humans are often acting, even wildly or theatrical but not really meaning what they say or do.
If the spectrum is drawn by lines of evolving emotions, then those lines are interconnected by derivative products which could be viewed as mixing of the emotions in the spectrum: there may for example be jealousy in love as well as in hate. Moreover, due to the discreteness of existing events in reality the emotions — since these are results of the systems activity in reality — are not continuous and thus interspersed with periods of non-activity, often even broken by other emotions taking turns in acting out. For example even in the deepest sorrow there are many moments one does not think about the hurt and one can even laugh with something or be curious about some development.
The lines of emotions are thus like the frame of a web of interweaving connections some mixing different ingredients of emotions, some acting as an overflow in controlling the level of an emotion which dominates the system in some period, these overflows can be supporting or opposing the specific emotion.
It is not easy, probably not possible, to control the emotional-web rationally but we can have an aware influence on it. By some self-study I concluded that it would be good to try to support the slow emotions, those that take a longer time to build up. It seems obvious that some slow construction makes the result more trustworthy. At least that is what we believe if our aware thinking is involved, but with emotions it is the unaware thinking that is important. Like with memory the unaware is essential, it is both the source of the growth and the sediment of very old ideas and primitive emotions. Probably even genetic influences on the brain activity.
Influencing the slow emotions can be done by regularly thinking about how one feels and what causes those feelings, thus by what I would call emotional meditation. This does not aim at some form of knowledge but at creating some “sediment” in the unaware brain activity supporting the deepening of emotions making them more essential and thus a more honest expression of your deeper self.
Of course people also try to fake emotions, this is common in acting, but it is also a result of some genetic influence created by the survival instinct. We usually think of primitive humans as fighting against mighty predators but — then just like now — the most dangerous predators were the humans themselves. Hence acting out emotions and (friendly) feelings could protect you against the aggression of another human, even a member of the same tribe.
Stories and theatre were a part of human culture from a very early period in the development. Faking emotions is obviously dishonest but very accepted in society as a method for keeping the peace and is even part of polite behaviour. In a sense the herd mentality favours cheating with emotions which, in individuals, can lead to psychological deviations and several mental problems.
The social pressure is to show emotions which are fitting the global society, individual dissociative emotions are not appreciated and there is almost a taboo on showing them…except as a kind of entertainment, say in a theatre, a show or game. Then it is normal that a society becomes a “masked ball” where people in public are playing a role to be accepted and “outsiders” provoke with a different role to establish their image of a rebel, which is often equally fake as the one of adapted citizens. Children and young adults are being trained to take part is the society but this conflicts with their inner emotional development during the period we call the puberty, the period when most rebel attitudes become visible. When they grow up most will drop their problematic puber-honesty and accept the social façade they have to make an independent living in. Is society responsible for its superficiality and mediocrity seeking forces? If so is that an unavoidable result of the necessary compromising in living together as a group with a common goal? The only way to avoid this seems to be to get a broader solidarity not fixing the mould where people should fit in but being open for people with all different characteristics.
The measure of openness of a society can be in the way it integrates strangers and it is clear in the present world that the larger and richer societies do not score very high in this openness while racism and xenophobia is doing very well. This brings us back to slow emotions which are more essentially connected to the deep inner self of people. If these would be the emotions we bring openly into the society then society would be a group of “essentially true” people based on solidarity between absolutely different people and some absolutely minor detail like for example the colour of the skin woud not matter at all. The spectral web of emotions then reflects in the spectral web of society and that would be more than rationality could ever do!