Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Push your own buttons

Emotion overcomes logic. Ever been so mad that you've done something that you marvel at during calmer moments? Ever been in love? Make an enemy? Have you been so sad that you can't think? Overwhelmed emotionally in any way?

We are emotional beings. It's part of what we are. There are times when the normal human thing is to express your emotions. There are times when our logical mind serves us better.

Emotions are stirred up to motivate people all the time.

Commercials do it to sell their wares. Talk show hosts do it to advance political views. Writers and musicians try to evoke emotion from their audience. Hitler did it to control a nation. Mobs are groups of people running high on emotion.

Emotions are used for "good" and "bad" causes. (My good cause might be your bad cause.)

Your emotions are being manipulated. Someone else is trying to control your actions. Attempts are being made to bypass your logic centers.

Before you get all stirred out about one cause or another, ask yourself if they are playing directly to your emotions. Think before you act. Actions done during times of high emotion will have to be lived with when cold harsh logic returns.

One of the big motivators is fear. The powers that be use it all the time. Fear terrorists! (And give up your civil rights.) Bail out the banks or terrible things will happen! (We bailed them out and terrible things happened) Drug companies use fear to sell their nostrums. Insurance companies use fear. (What will happen to your family when your are gone?) Religions do it all the time. (Do what the preacher says or you'll burn in hell for all eternity.)

What's a person to do?

Take a deep breath and pause for a moment.

Constantly ask yourself: Is this another appeal to my emotions? Are they trying to get me to act without thinking too much? Do they want you to "act now," perhaps before your logical mind can catch up?

Once you are aware how emotional manipulation works, you are less likely to fall for it. It does help to turn down the chatter.

Learn to be comfortable with the silence of you own mind.

Push your own buttons.


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