Emotion Selection

E. Shaun Russell (e_shaun@uniserve.com)
Fri, 2 Jul 1999 07:20:33 -0700

Emotions are a fact of life, and in truth, when guided by reason, they help to shape our lives and make them somewhat more enjoyable. One of the reasons that most people enjoy being human (in some sense or another) is the ability to feel a plethora of these emotions, yet still be able to differentiate the factitious from the facts and have a core knowledge of reality. However, it is all too easy for certain powerful emotions to override the focus of even the most rational of people.

Drugs currently abound which can chemically enhance or repress some of these powerful emotions, although they are by no means perfect. Side effects are extremely common, and all too often the emotion such drugs were intended to enhance or repress are simply transformed into another kind of

        Chances are, within most of our lifetimes, the technology will be
manifested to such a state in which we can select our emotions to a certain extent. The question is this: which emotions would you like to retain, and which would you like to dispose of? It would be easy to come up with knee-jerk kind of answers such as "I would get rid of love" though I am fairly certain that such a move would be highly irrational. Most of our emotions have a purpose, and life could easily be less enjoyable without many of them.

Personally, I would opt to exorcise any trace of fear or anxiety. Though I'm not naturally inclined to feel these emotions very often, I know that when exposed to them, it is difficult to remain rational. But some of the more potentially painful ones such as loneliness, I would keep. The problem I foresee with getting rid of too many of these "bad" emotions is that in their absence, there could easily be a lack of ambition. For example, if one didn't feel "unhappy" there would be less inclination for him to progress to the point at where he would naturally feel happy. It is an interesting thought. What do you think?

E. Shaun Russell Musician, Extropian, ExI Member
Kineticize your potential. http://www.extropy.com