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Summary of Feelings are helpful, but not for idiots

Friday, October 25th, 2019

In her post Feelings are helpful, but not for idiots Diana Coman discusses the correct way to utilize feelings and how a misunderstanding of them may be the root cause of a behavioral pattern she noticed. She begins by noting that she grew up in a different cultural space than the English speaking world. Having lived in various places with a collection of cultures, she acquired an interest for studying the differences between groups. She notes that examining what appears to be only a small difference in behavior can reveal deep information about a culture.

Upon first interacting with English speakers, she was surprised by a quirk: namely that they would ask how she felt about something in situations that called for thinking. They asked questions such as, "What do you feel is a fair price for X?" Diana Coman states that the reason for this has always puzzled her, but she has recently acquired information that has lead her to consider that the aforementioned behavior may be an attempt at flattery.

Diana Coman links to a post written by hanbot, Your Feelings are Out to Get You. She uses this piece as an example of how she came to believe some English speakers have tied the importance of their feelings to their self worth. She figures that consequently someone in the role of a "sales person" may be taking advantage of this cultural phenomenon of feelings being tied to self worth when they ask what someone feels about something. She states that this attempt to make someone feel important by asking how they feel would not work on any sane person who thinks as well as feels.

Diana Coman continues her piece by explaining how to actually benefit from feelings and the consequence of misusing them. She explains that feelings can be useful for revealing information about oneself, but not for understanding the outside world. She claims specifically, "What you feel about something can tell you a lot about your own -and at times very deeply buried- expectations, assumptions and investments." But she also states that feelings by themselves do not infuse one with this self-knowledge, that can only be obtained by a close examination of those feelings. Finally, she concludes with a warning about the misuse of feelings. Feelings will continue to show an image of the self despite one trying to use them to determine the state of the outside world or to measure one's self worth. If feelings are continuously misused, the image they show will become too clear to misinterpret causing one to have to choose between giving up their stupidity or giving up their life.