Re: Plea (was ExI: Cognitive Extropians)

Max More (
Fri, 17 Jan 1997 10:24:14 -0700 (MST)

At 12:15 PM 1/16/97 -0800, Daniel Lee Crocker wrote (in response to QueenMUSE):
>> This is why refined emotion, i.e.: enhanced reason - enhanced emotional
>> response ( a balance) can be a much better goal than a rational, non emotive
>> state.
>This is a false dichotomy; emotion does not in itself cloud reason, but
>the false idea that it does is so pervasive in our culture that we allow
>it to. I have never advocated, and would not advocate, supressing one's
>emotional responses. I enjoy wallowing in lust or grief or anger or joy
>as much as anyone, if not more. But when I do, I don't let that interfere
>with my faculty of reason.

I don't believe you, Daniel. I agree that emotion does not necessarily cloud
reason. The old Star Trek style opposition of reason and emotion is a poor
picture of reality. However, emotional responses *can* make it extremely
difficult to think rationally, while under their influence. When "wallowing"
in an emotion, I think for humans it's hard not to let it interfere with
reason. In some situations, the best thing is to realize that your ability
to think clearly and from various perspectives is currently impaired, and to
put off making decisions and judgments if possible. I think this is more
rational than convincing yourself that you can completely set aside
currently raging feelings to think perfectly rationally.

>> Emotions are valuable guides in decision making, and if carefuly examined can
>> help us to make subconscious evalutaions and correctly place our values.
>This I reject completely. Reason is man's only reliable guide to action.
>Having emotions is a good thing, just like having teeth, but they are not
>a means for discovering truth or making choices.

While I agree with some of the other points you make, and sympathize with
your general approach, I think you've missed QueenMUSE's point. She did not
say that emotions are *reliable* guides to action, only that there are
valuable guides. She's right. Emotions involve subsconsious judgments.
*Sometimes* these can tell us things that we have not consciously realized.
Denying this in favor of a view that only fully conscious reasoning provides
useful information flies in the face of evolution and psychology.

Nathaniel Branden explores these ideas in detail in his books. He started
with the simpler Randian model that you seem to advocate, but developed a
view that grants emotions more of a role, while still strongly advocating
conscious reason as the final arbiter.


Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute, Editor, Extropy,
(310) 398-0375