#17. Psychology Of Emotions

Introductie in het gedachtegoed van 'De Vierde Weg'
op basis van fragmenten uit "Psychologie van Men's Mogelijke Evolutie"


In this lecture, we are going to dive into the world of emotions. Like we have learned in the previous lecture, emotional center is by far the quickest center of all and therefore very much responsible for most of our actions.

Because of its speed, it controls most of our decisions, which do not always lead to the most sensible thing to do. It is precise precisely because of this tremendous speed of operation that emotional center accounts for most of our difficulties. We are far more sensitive than anyone of us want to admit. We all want to be perceived as being sensible. Being emotional can make us impulsive, much like an animal, continually responding to outside stimuli and basic drives. Therefore Personal Transformation starts by transforming the ‘wrong’ work of the emotional center by ‘right’ work of the intellectual center.

The system of ‘The Fourth Way’ tells us that each center is divided into two parts, positive and negative. This division is particularly clear in the intellectual center and in the instinctive center. All the work of the intellectual center is divided into two parts: affirmation and negation; yes and no. In the work of the instinctive center, the division is also quite clear, and both parts, positive and negative, or pleasant and unpleasant, are equally necessary for a right orientation in life. Pleasurable sensations of taste, smell, touch, temperature, warmth, coolness, fresh air—all indicate conditions which are beneficial for life; and unpleasant feelings of bad taste, bad smell, uncomfortable touch, feeling of oppressive heat or extreme cold, all indicate conditions which can be harmful to life. Think how quickly a man would poison himself if he lost all sense of taste and smell. In the moving center, the division into two parts, positive and negative is movement as opposed to rest.

In the emotional center, the division in two parts seems very self-evident. We all understand the difference between positive emotions such as joy, sympathy, affection and self-confidence, and negative emotions such as boredom, irritation, jealousy, envy, and fear. The funny thing is, though, that emotional center does not have a natural negative part because the more significant part of negative emotions is artificial. They are based on instinctive emotions which are entirely unrelated to them but which are transformed by imagination and identification.

At the same time, positive emotions such as ‘love,’ hope,’ ‘faith’ do not exist for man in an ordinary state of consciousness. For positive emotions to be real and permanent, they require inner unity, self-consciousness, stable ‘I’ and will — all functions of a higher state of consciousness.

Ouspensky says:

“Positive emotions are emotions which cannot become negative. But all our pleasant emotions such as joy, sympathy, affection, self- confidence, can, at any moment, turn into boredom, irritation envy, fear, and so on. Love can turn into jealousy or fear to lose what one loves, or into anger and hatred; hope can turn into daydreaming and the expectation of impossible things, and faith can turn into superstition and a weak acceptance of comforting non- sense.”

Almost all our emotional life is mechanical and a product of ‘wrong’ work of the emotional center. When emotional center starts to work at its right level, we can experience genuine positive emotions and eliminate most of our negative emotions. Mechanical emotions are a terrible phenomenon. They occupy an enormous place in our life. Of many people, it is possible to say that all their lives are regulated and controlled, and in the end, ruined, by negative emotions. They do not play any useful part of all in our lives. They do not help our orientation, and they do not give us any knowledge, they do not guide us in any sensible manner.

First, we have to stop the expression of negative emotions. We can not observe ourselves when we’re negative. But how can you stop expressing negative emotions? When one is negative, these emotions seem so real and justified!

Negative emotions depend on identification; if identification is destroyed in some particular case, they disappear. In school language, it is said on the subject of the struggle with negative emotions: Man must sacrifice his unnecessary suffering. All his complaining, his wining, his wronging of other people, his self-pity, and lack of self-esteem. What could be easier to sacrifice? But in reality, people would sacrifice anything rather than their negative emotions. Why? Because for mechanical man all his negative ‘I’ s is all he has. Being negative is the easiest way of having a sense of importance. A sense of self. A false sense of self. What would happen to what we call art, to the theatre, to drama, to most novels when we wouldn’t be so addicted to negative emotions? The struggle against negative emotions is a big part of school work.


“For instance, in watching children, we can see how they are taught negative emotions and how they learn them themselves through imitation of grown-ups and older children. In grown-up people, negative emotions are supported by the constant justification and glorification of them in literature and art, and by personal self-justification and self-indulgence.”

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