DO we make ourselves feel things?

I’m saying that in regards to emotions. Part of it is from what Buddhists call the wisdom of emptiness, in that nothing has any inherent essence to it. So when we experience emotions is it right to say that we make ourselves feel that way? If that is the case then can it also be said that we can make ourselves feel happy or sad, that we aren’t passive recipients of emotions but active shapers?

I mean if something was inherently good then everyone would think so right? Same thing with any other qualities that we project onto the world around us. If two people react differently to something then it’s not the object but themselves who create those feelings. I guess what I am getting at is that the feelings that we think are out there (love, connection, hate, sadness) are really just in our heads and arent inherent to anything else. It’s not "you make me feel X’ but you make yourself feel that way. That sort of takes the fun out of life

People don’t have direct control over their preferences and emotional reactions to things. Preferences can be changed over time, but any given moment whether a screeching child causes you to smile or want to claw your ears out is out of your control. This fact is not disproven by the fact that various people have different preferences.

And while these preferences are stored within our brains, and thus aren’t inherent to the object we’re having reactions to, they’re still not within the control of our minds, and it’s also unreasonable to say that we make ourselves feel things.

This is the theory behind cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps people to change their emotions by changing their thoughts.

I have found CBT to be very effective in modifying negative emotions, such as anxiety and shame. I find it empowering rather than depressing that I have some degree of control over my emotions. It doesn’t mean that my joy or love isn’t authentic, just that I don’t need to suffer unnecessarily from bad feelings.

Yeah, so if I punch you in the face, it’s definitely your fault that you don’t like it - I mean, it couldn’t be just a generally shit thing to have happen to you. Definitely your choice to feel pain and displeasure.

Well it’s more like trying to work out why something makes you feel a certain way if the thing in question doesn’t have any inherent Essence to it (according to Buddhism which is where I got this and it makes a bit of sense to me).

Like I said the fact that two people react differently means it’s them not the object doing it. Does conditioning factor into it?

If you start from the axiom that everything is meaningless, the question “what does this thing mean?” is always going to have the same answer - this doesn’t indicate anything profound - it just indicates that your assumptions make all questions pointless.

If you can recall that time you were falsely accused of…whatever, and it can STILL make you upset and your blood boil, then it must clearly be generated entirely within your own mind. You aren’t in those circumstances any more, these events are now long past, and fully resolved. No one/thing/circumstance is making you feel as you do. Your mind is producing those emotions in response to you recalling those events. 100% generated within your mind, complete with racing heart, tears, rage etc.

But if these things come from us then doesn’t that make the experience less worthwhile. Like I stated above those feelings of connection, friendship, love are just in our heads and not “out there”. That connection you feel is just you. So doesn’t it extend that we make ourselves feel that way when when project onto inherently meaningless things? Instead of “you make me feel” it’s “I make me feel”. Something about that just doesn’t sit right with me.

All of your previous threads would indicate that the problem is with you, not a general problem. Have any of your threads given you any insights?

I think you can “make yourself” feel things. I just think it’s a helluva lot easier to "mske yourself’ feel negative emotions through dwelling on memories. I have to actively distract myself from thinking about certain past events or I can get myself pissed off or depressed right quick. But of I am feeling down in the present for whatever reason, and then think about the positives in my life, at best I can bring myself to a more neutral state of acceptance, not “happy”. Happiness doesn’t seem to burn into the brain quite as deeply as negative emotions unfortunately.

No. Why would you ask yourself such a question?

I was looking more towards me being wrong about this one than having a point.

I can’t put it into to words but if it’s “all in my head” then that tends to rob life of much of its splendor. That things aren’t inherently wonderous but that I make them so to me

Define “inherently”.

No, seriously. Consider a painting that is inherently wonderous. As in, every single person who looks at it is filled with wonder.

But what about people who don’t look at it? They’re not filled with wonder. Does that devalue the painting? Does that mean that the painting isn’t wondrous to those who see it?

If not, then the fact that there are people who look at a painting that you find wondrous and disagree with you are no different - they are having a different experience but it doesn’t change your experience of liking the painting. They just have a different view than you - their brain is different and their thoughts are different and that colors their experience differently than your brain and thoughts color your experiences. Their view of the world is different than yours, but just because they aren’t seeing the wonder of the painting doesn’t make that wonder any less real to those who do.

I understand that much. But I’m saying that in this case it’s that we project things onto the world that don’t really exist. I guess it’s tantamount to saying that we live in a world of our own creation “mentally” but that said world doesn’t exist “out there” but in our heads and it therefor not real.

Like the love and connection we feel is just in our minds. Doesn’t mean the other person feels it, it’s a fabrication we make. So couldn’t that mean we can just get over loneliness?

Why do you think that what’s in our consciousness is not real? It exists. It’s as real as anything else in the universe.

Your emotions are entirely contained in an encoding of real electrons and real chemicals in your real brain that physically exists. This is, admittedly, not the same as if they were encoded in a physical film of emotional butter or something that you scooped up as you walk along, but it’s no less based in physical reality - and honestly I’d rather have emotions that I created myself that ones that were out there lying on the ground for other people to walk all over and for birds to poop on.

Love is an emotion, and thus is real - it’s your brain’s physical reaction to its own physical state. The feeling of connection is a feeling, and thus is also real - a real emotion, that is. It’s not a real connection to some other physical brain, but that’s fine, nobody expects you to be psychic.

As for being lonely, the thing you have to remember is that you shouldn’t expect yourself to be psychic either. If you’re not expecting other people to climb through your eyeballs into your brain and interact with you there, but instead recognize that interacting with then via sensory perception of the reality you both exist in is a perfectly cromulent form of interaction, you’ll find that loneliness isn’t an issue.

If the meaninglessness of life makes you sad, what does that mean?

If life is really meaningless, then your sadness over life’s meaninglessness is meaningless. It’s just a feeling you have.

So why do you assign objective value to your emotional state about life’s existential value? It it really has no value, then your emotional state has no value. If it does have value, then why are you so sad that it doesn’t have value?

Your emotions about life’s existential questions are paradoxical. If they were true you couldn’t “really” be upset about it, because “being upset” would not be a thing that really exists, right?

For what it’s worth, I agree with you that life is meaningless. And that doesn’t make me feel sad, because why would it? Are you sad every time you remember that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy don’t actually exist?

If life is meaningless, then why should I feel sad? If it is meaningless then I shouldn’t feel anything, or rather, I can feel any way and it doesn’t matter what I feel. So why not feel happy? Or rather, what would be wrong with feeling happy? It doesn’t matter if you’re happy or sad, so why not be happy? Even though the universe doesn’t care whether you’re happy, you care. And so I love my kids, kiss my wife, enjoy sunsets and rainbows, and so on, and in 10,000,000 years it won’t make a damn bit of difference. And so what?

I guess what I am getting at is that the love and friendship I feel for others isn’t some real thing that exists between the two of us but rather something that is “made up” in my head. It’s not some genuine bond.

What would a “genuine bond” look like in a universe where that was possible?

Every thought and memory and emotion you have are created by the internal state of your brain. There’s no platonic ideal of love that exists in the universe that your brain copies when it feels the emotion you hu-mons call “love”.

Love is just the name we hu-mons give it when hu-mons feel a certain way. And we can see that other organisms also feel the same emotion, or analogies to that emotion. Social mammals experience the same sorts of emotions we do, although in slightly to significantly different ways. And these emotions aren’t something that exists outside organisms, they’re things that exist in the organism’s brain. Your dog loves you, but “love” is just a way of describing the state of the dog’s brain.

And why does the fact that love exists only in the human brain make you a sad panda? Your sadness only exists in your human brain, so if love isn’t real then sadness isn’t real either, so why would you be sad about the meaningless internal state of some meatbag on some planet?

You’re sad because it’s you. Your brain evolved to care about stuff, which is why you care about stuff. And your brain is so complicated it can even care about whether to care about stuff. But if it’s all meaningless then you shouldn’t care about the fact that you care. But you do care, because you can’t help it, because your brain evolved to care, so complaining about the meaninglessness of it all is just fucking stupid.

You’re not psychic. Nobody is.

There are no extraphysical cables connecting you to anybody. Or anybody to anybody.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t bonds - just that there aren’t extraphysical cables. Consider the difference between you and another person being joined by an unbroken cable stretching from one of your shoulders to the other - and you and the other person clasping hands.

When two people are clasping hands, they are not a single conjoined entity, but they are still in contact. When you are exchanging looks, words, or physical contact with another person, those are different ways that people contact one another, and communicate with one another. These contacts are real.

But you still don’t share emotions directly, because you’re not psychic, and you can’t control your beloved’s emotions and enslave them to your will, because you can’t and it would be awful if you could. Their emotions are theirs; yours are yours, and it’s great when they synchronize and when they don’t that’s why it’s special when they do.

Me personally, I’m glad I’m not psychically connected to every other person on earth - there are really only two ways that plays out. Either the cacophonous storm of everyone’s different thoughts and emotions overwhelms me and eradicates my mind, or everybody is actually just a hive mind that shares the same thoughts, such that we don’t overwhelm each other because everybody is playing the same tune. The latter would be boring, and the former would be fatal.