So I was thinking while enjoying the first few days of summer vacation~ philosophers, particularly ones like Seneca, say a lot about thought ruling emotion. And if you talk to just aobut any TMC student on the topic, they will say that yes, reason is supposed to rule over reason. And it makes sense, but WHY?
I mean, why is the ideal not to have emotions rule thought? And it occured to me while cleaming up campus for the seniors' graduation tomorrow afternoon that it is because the universal is supposed to rule over the particular.
This pattern of universal over particular is everywhere that is orderly. Consider the universe. The universal laws of nature and motion rule, and each particular case follows those rules, though with some exceptions. Or in art, ther are universal prinicples, and each peice of true and real art follows those principles, with some exceptions. That is why whenever we want to learn something, we start by observation of the immediate particulars which we sense. But we always move on to the universal principle, so that we can apply our knowledge about what we sense even to things which we have not sensed.
Thought and emotion follow in this pattern in that by thought we perceive and come to understand the universal principles. Emotions, on the other hand, are what make us alive in a particularly human way to each particular situation.
So thoughts, well reasoned thought, ought to be the guiding principle. By thought we understand a situation, analyze it, classify it and so discover how to handle it according to the modes of acting appropriate to the categoryunder which it falls.
Emotions are much more particular to the situation and personality of each person. They fluxuate with the slightest of details, so they do not have the same semi-reliable reliability that thought has. Emotions, rather, make us acutely aware and alive to what is going on around us in each particular situation, but they cannot guide us to the ruling universal principle as thought can.
So that, at least, is my theory as to Why it is better, in the fight for primacy, for thought to win over emotion.
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