Blog Post: Thoughts, Feelings and Desires - How do they interrelate? Why does it matter?

Linda Elder
Jun 29, 2020 • 199d ago
Thoughts, Feelings and Desires - How do they interrelate? Why does it matter?

{"ops":[{"insert":"There is considerable confusion and misunderstanding about the relationship between thoughts and feelings or the cognitive and affective dimensions of the mind. We see this in some popular but superficial psychology literature that would lead us to believe that thoughts and feelings are not intimately interrelated and that emotions therefore are separate from thinking. We see this depicted in movies and in daily conversation through such lines as “She lives on the emotional rather than intellectual level,” and “he is moved by intuition instead of being shackled by western philosophical logic.”\n\nEveryone thinks, by our very nature. We also feel and desire. Our thinking shapes and determines how we feel and what we want. When we think well, we are motivated to do things that make sense and motivated to act in ways that help rather than harm ourselves and others. At the same time, powerful emotions or desires influence our thinking, help or hinder how well we think in a situation. At any given moment, our minds (that complex of inner thoughts, feelings and desires) can be under the sway of our native irrationality or our potential reasonability. When we are ruled by our irrational tendencies, we see the world from a narrow self-serving perspective. We are not truly concerned with how our behavior affects others. We are fundamentally concerned with getting what we want and/or with validating our beliefs and views. The key to understanding human thought then, is, to understand its essential duality: its capacity for irrationality (being trapped in egocentric and/or sociocentric thought with its attendant self-deception, self-delusion, rationalization, and so forth)) and its capacity for reasonability (freeing itself from self-delusion, myth, and illusion).\n \nThough thinking, feeling and wanting are, in principle, equally important, it is only through thinking that we take command of our minds. It is through thinking that we figure out what is going wrong with our thinking. It is through thinking that we figure out how to deal with destructive emotions. It is through thinking that we change unproductive desires to productive ones. It is fairminded reasonability that frees us from intellectual slavery and conformity. If we understand our mind and its functions, if we face the barriers to our development caused by egocentric and sociocentric thought, if we work upon our mind in a daily regimen, we can take the steps that lead to our empowerment as thinkers.\n \nTo take command of your mind, it is essential that you understand the interconnectedness of thinking, feeling, and wanting and how each affects the others, systematically and constantly throughout the day as you work through life’s issues and make decisions. You also need to understand that this triangle of thoughts, feelings and desires can at any given moment be under the control of the rational mind, or, alternatively, the irrational mind (harboring powerful egocentric and sociocentric tendencies).\n \nOnce these understandings are made clear, you can begin to target your powerful egocentric or sociocentric emotions by targeting the thinking leading to those emotions; when you are doing this systematically, followed by routinely improving upon your problematic thinking, your emotional life becomes more steady, relaxed, and satisfactory. You become more accepting of what must be accepted, while focusing your energies on positive contributions that can be made, and joy that can be realized.\n \nFor more on the relationship between thinking, feeling, and wanting, read our excerpts from "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"The Thinker’s Guide to the Human Mind,"},{"insert":" from which this blog was adapted (p. 4):\n"},{"attributes":{"link":""},"insert":""},{"insert":"\n\nAlso work through the activities in our "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Triangle of Thinking, Feelings and Desires"},{"insert":", in the Academy:\n"},{"attributes":{"link":""},"insert":""},{"insert":"\n\nTo deal with neurotic emotional states and learn to apply logical thinking to your emotional life, I recommend Albert Ellis’ book: "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"A Guide to Rational Living:"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"link":""},"insert":""},{"insert":"\n\n \n"}]}

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Posted by: Joseph Halter

{"ops":[{"insert":"It is amazing how our minds work and the information presented is very helpful. I find that \"reasoning\" is the adult in the room but we need to have feeling and wanting to help us have purpose and it provides us inspiration to act. \n"}]}