15 November 2006

Emotional Calibration

Our emotions are powerful tools for evaluating the world around us quickly, and at levels we may not be able to describe verbally. Cognitive scientists are just now starting to tackle the complexities of emotions in their more advanced machines and programs.

Human emotions need calibrating, just as our cognitive systems and mind-body controls need calibration.

I was first exposed to conscious calibration of emotions when taking drama class and musical theatre class. A good actor needs to express a wide range of emotions, without having to reach too far for them. Likewise, a good singer in a musical play needs to find the emotions within himself that the song is expressing.

Everyday life can also be emotionally demanding, with the threat of an emotional boobytrap being tripped at any time. By "calibrating" our emotions regularly, we keep our emotions tuned and ready for appropriate responses.

We are all actors on the stage. We need to utilise methods of emotional priming that are just as sound as what actors use.

The best everyday method for exercising and calibrating emotion that I have found, is the Sentic Cycle method, developed by neuroscientist and musician Manfred Clynes.

Sentic Cycles lets you generate and express your emotions in a series, as a spectrum, your emotion 'symphony', so you tend to become free from emotional rut - being stuck in one emotion- and be in touch with your real self - not overwhelmed by single emotion (yet able to savour them all as in music).

It takes only 10 minutes to learn to do it - and then you may benefit from doing it anytime the rest of your life - as long as human nature does not change! Anyone can do it.

It uses only your own natural expressions of emotion to generate and to enjoy them.

....We all tend to be prisoners of emotion more than we may wish to be. Emotions make life enjoyable and meaningful, but not if you are in an emotional rut, where a particular, most often negative, emotion takes over, and makes it hard to get out of, even temporarily. Often such negative emotions are suppressed, but still interfere with function and freedom of experience.

Sentic Cycles allow you to experience and express all such emotions more constructively, without being overwhelmed by them.

Emotions are powerful and fast, compared to other types of cognition. But they have to be kept toned and in shape, like our bodies.

A satisfying play or movie is one that exercises our emotions skillfully, so that usually we are not even aware of what is being done to us subconsciously. Most people go through life being manipulated emotionally, without realizing it. How much better it would be to become well acquainted with our emotions on a regular basis, so that they are seen more like friends than potentially dangerous strangers.

Hat tip Pastorius.

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