My own vesitigial emotions

Steve Witham (
Sun, 10 Nov 1996 23:26:06 -0400

Mike Butler said (V1 #88, Oct. 21):

>My personal explorations with alternativs to disthymia (sp?) have
>convinced me that the Hedonistic Imperative is in line with optimal
>use of the current squishwae I'm limited to. Check out

David Pearce's pages are wild!

Mike's post reminds me of the distinction is between particular emotions
and "emotion" in general.

I think talking about emotions in general, the *facility* of emotion,
the emotional aspect of mind, as vestigial, is wrong. Sometimes people
talk about emotions as if they were interfering outside influences, and
that amounts to the same thing. Not recognizing them as parts of

To me it's like talk of "surgical" warfare. I'm afraid that
people who use clinical terms to talk about something violent...are on
the wrong side of the war. The jargon of "self-enhancement" can be
used in this way, often unconsciously; but any talk of oneself as an
object to be manipulated must be coming from some *part* of the self
considering itself *above* the rest--such a part must be misspoken at
best, misinformed, misguided, insensitive, inhumane, or even evil.

*Particular* emotions can be considered "vestigial". I have a whole
flock of emotions that I consider nasty enemies, things to be
controlled, managed, etc., although in some sense they may have things
to tell me. But also I realize that "me" is just one side in a war of
some emotions against others, or even emotions turned against themselves
in the dark.

I don't begrudge anyone a metaphor that helps them to cope. The danger
is letting the old-fashioned false mind/body-dualistic way of talking
trick you into an undeclared war on your own best self.


"It just keeps going and going and therefore you yourself have to keep
going and going." --Energizer Bunny researcher