1. notleia says:

    Star Trek does it better. To Vulcan or not to Vulcan?

    But I disagree a bit with the notion that expressing the bad stuff is just as bad as repressing it. Sometimes just needing your feelings validated is 80% of your problem to begin with.

  2. This is an interesting topic for me, because on one hand there’s certain situations where other people’s emotions can be overwhelming to me. Probably because a lot of the more stressful situations I’ve had a hard time handling were highly emotional ones. At the same time, however, I value freedom very highly, and wouldn’t be ok with some government out there deciding to take emotion away just because it bothered them.

    Really, though, the idea of removing emotions just to save everyone from the dangers of emotion is, in itself, an emotional decision. If a human makes a decision like that, it would probably be because deep down, they’re upset at all the strife that comes from emotions. Or because part of them fervently believes it’s the right thing. Or they feel very strongly about following the rules.

    A lot of shows featuring societies/creatures that suppress emotion don’t always do it in a way that makes sense, though. Like, they’ll have a robot or group of people that is described as having ‘no emotions’, but then they end up showing traces of spite or some other thing that makes it look like they do have some emotional functioning.

    Personally, I’m on the side that says emotions are good, but we need to learn to use/express them in healthy ways. Unless there’s a life and death situation that requires immediate reaction, emotion probably shouldn’t be the primary(or at least only) say in what decision is made. Though some of that depends of the circumstances and people involved. Some people have better emotional decision making than others.

    We probably wouldn’t have a society that tries to suppress everyone’s emotions for a long time, if ever, thankfully. But the shows that talk about that idea kind of highlight one of the frustrating flaws in government and society.

    A group of people will think something is the solution even when it isn’t, and then they force everyone to adhere to that decision, even if it’s actually harmful. In the case of emotions, apparently the government thought that emotions were the problem and that getting rid of them somehow makes a less painful society. But they don’t take into account that an indifferent system that crushes everyone beneath its weight is just as bad. If they are suppressing emotions to get rid of death and pain, what’s the point if they’re having to kill a lot of innocent people just to enforce it? At least with our current system, people are more likely to get punished for actual wrongdoing.

    • notleia says:

      True, it’s hard for shows to get details of the emotional/less thing right, but in the case of the Vulcans, I actually like it that they’re not actually as emotionless as they think they are. (I just finished watching ST: Enterprise [Dr Phlox is the only non-trashbag of a character])

      • Eh, yeah. I think in cases like that it can be very good to show that most people that see themselves as emotionless actually AREN’T. And of course there’s a difference between dystopian societies that suppress emotions rather than completely eliminate them. It’s just that sometimes authors act like they’re trying to drive the point home that a character is truly emotionless when the character obviously uses lots of emotional motives and decision making processes.

  3. Leanna says:

    I don’t think being emotionless is possible but it’s kinda besides the point since emotions are a key companion to reason (not the enemy or opposite of reason). There’s a reason we call people who lack empathy psychopaths. 😉
    And it’s worth noting that power dynamics should always be included in this kind of discussion. When we hold most of the power and are confident in our rightness then it is all too easy to miss what someone else is trying to say.
    As a simplistic and not political example, there are many occasions when my toddler’s outbursts have alerted me to a want or need that I wouldn’t have realized otherwise. The emotions involved brought an emphasis that was important to me figuring out what he meant.

  4. Travis Perry says:

    Good article. Yeah, it’s not emotions that are the problem on a fundamental level. It’s a reprobate attitude of excessive selfishness and lack of concern for others.

  5. So that’s where Ted Dekker plagiarized it from.

What do you think?