Values, the source of Emotions

The Faculty of Reason and the Faculty of Emotion are the two attributes of human consciousness. The content of the second is entirely dependent on the content of the first.

Reason is the faculty that perceives facts of reality in the form of percepts and integrates them into concepts by creating proper definitions, thereby expanding the man’s knowledge of the original concept, Existence. The method of reason is logic: Non-contradictory identification of existents. None of the existents subsumed under a specific concept can contradict its definition, or the previous concepts that made it possible.

For example, take the definition of the Bird: A flying animal. Ie., it is an animal that flies, and every animal that flies will be subsumed under this definition. This definition(concept), Bird is dependent on the concept that is needed to be defined, prior to it: Animal. Now definition of Animal is “A living organism capable of animation(movement)”. And a living organism is “Any existent that has life.” Observe here that the definition of bird does not contradict the definition of animal: a bird is still an organism capable of animation. Nor does the definition of animal contradict the definition of a living organism: An animal is still an existent(Anything that exists) that has life.

This process of concept formation by logically integrating the previously integrated concepts, is the task performed by the Faculty of Reason, the attribute of human consciousness, which makes all knowledge possible. All valid knowledge exists in terms of concepts: non contradictory definitions.

Since the Faculty of Reason is an attribute specific to the species Man, that makes his survival possible on earth, the proper definition of Man is A rational animal” ie., an animal possessing the faculty of reason. (Rationality is the activity that a man performs when he consciously uses his faculty of reason).

Now, Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-initiated action, and there is only one purpose to the life of any living organism: to live. An organism that fails to initiate the actions required to sustain its own life, will cease to be a living existent, and becomes only an existent. Hencethe ultimate value of a living organism is its own life. Hence the concept, life is the origin of the concept, value. Every action that any living organism performs must sustain and further its own life, its ultimate value. Reason being the only means of survival for a man in his full capacity as man, as dictated by his nature, and his own life being his ultimate value, reason is his primary value, that makes all other values possible, each integrating into and serving the purpose of furthering his own life.

This concept, value is the source of all emotions, acting as the initiator/generator for the Faculty of Emotion, the attribute of any animal consciousness, including and especially Man’s consciousness. Observe that no emotion has existence without its source: Value. And there are two basic emotions: Happiness and Sadness. Happiness is the response of the animal’s consciousness(to be precise, the faculty of emotion in an animal’s consciousness) to the facts of existence that further an animal’s life and sadness is the response to the facts of existence that diminish/threaten its life. Whatever is furthering its life is Good for it and whatever is threatening its life is Evil(Bad) for it.

Thus by nature, Emotions are responses of consciousness to the facts of existence, and the nature of Emotions is determined by the nature of values. A distinction observed in man is that he is an organism of volitional consciousness, ie., he can voluntarily choose to use or suspend his own consciousness: He can choose to further his own life or can choose to be a suicidal animal. Hence, he must voluntarily hold his life as his ultimate value, and his Reason as his primary value, if he is to survive and find happiness in life. Wrong choice of values that threaten his life is the source of human suffering.

Have you heard of the joke, that a cat that closes its eyes believes that the world is dark? It is in fact a joke on men who suspend their own consciousness, and the source of this joke is the fact that a man’s use of consciousness is volitional(voluntary). A man has to be a man: a rational animal, by choice. He has to hold his life as his ultimate value by choice, and his reason as his primary value which he must never suspend, by choice.

This fact, that man’s choice of values is volitional(voluntary) in nature, is grasped and used by the evil, self proclaimed philosophers, who taught men that death is the ultimate value that a man must hold and the primary value that makes it possible is self-sacrifice. This initiated human suffering. Inversing the valuation standard of Man – from life to death – turns him against himself, puts him on the path to self destruction, and turns him into an agent of death: non-existence of life. This is the source of all destruction.

Man ought to, voluntarily choose his life as his ultimate value, and reason as his primary value, if his intention is to live. Only his proper choice of values will make his life possible, and only then he can find happiness through his objective actions. The code of values that a man chooses voluntarily is the code of “Morality”. And it applies only to man. No other animal can voluntarily make a choice that will threaten its own life. It can only act with an objective to further its own life. That is the reason why morality is solely the province of Man, and it is not his subjective luxury. Morality is an objective necessity.

A man to be morally good, he must choose to value his own life. He must choose to stay rational: never suspend his faculty of Reason. Other primary values that are derived from Reason are: Independence: To submit to nothing but reason, and not to fall into the death trap of evil, self-proclaimed philosophers; Self-esteem: To estimate that he is competent enough to accept the responsibility of using his faculty of reason, the attribute of his own consciousness.(Virtues are actions performed by men to preserve their own chosen values.)

Philosophy is the science that teaches a man to think and act in terms of concepts that he can validate in every situation, by holding reality as the standard of judgement: Entirely derived logically from the fundamental law of existence: A is A. This is the foundation of all sciences, and the source of all valid human knowledge. An Objectivist is a man who treats philosophy as it is, a science.

Avinash Kumar

6 thoughts on “Values, the source of Emotions

  1. I have no problem with Reason as a primary weapon in Man’s arsenal to make good choices. But Reason, requires conscious investigation of everything and judging everything based on What you can see, or to put it objectively, You can’t see your decrease in Attention Span with Brain Imaging and other Scans. Just because you can’t see or measure it, you shouldn’t abandon the fact that, most humans who are addicted to Facebook, Twitter or constant interruptions from anything, find it difficult to concentrate on something for long periods. These are subjective. Also, I have immense respect for Rand and her arguments about Reason, Achievement as a bar to judge a man. But still I find it very disturbing to find that she professed Altruism is destructive. Self Interest is good, I agree, and It’s tough to be an Objectivist in a collective community, which demands cooperation between it’s members. I believe, humans of all species, regard Communication/Cooperation/Bonding with others, next only to survival and sex.
    I am not a philosopher Avinash, I don’t intend to be one. But If I make my own system of statements, may be that day, we can have an open discussion. 🙂

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    1. When you make a statement based on concepts that you consciously integrated by your own reason, and can vouch for, and can bet your life on, we can have a discussion. I don’t deal with believers. I teach people who are willing to learn. I learn from people who can teach what they know. Even the discussion I hold with a man who suspends his reason is to showcase it to a rational man who is silently observing the conversation, to let him know that I exist in this world.

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    2. Browsed through your comment, and I see that you are equating “Reason” with “Perceptual level of consciousness”. “Reason” is not interchangeable with “basing your judgements on what you directly perceive through your senses.” Task performed by Reason is integration of perceptual data into concepts by non contradictory definitions, and further integrating these concepts into still higher abstractions by the same process of concept formation. This progress of conceptual chain is the progress of knowledge, and the field of science the man is learning in that context. Reason does require conscious investigation of everything. Only, it requires thinking conceptually. This characteristic of thinking long range, conceptually:beyond the perceptual reality, is the man’s distinction from rest of all the species.

      Considering the context you were discussing,
      “Just because you can’t see or measure it, you shouldn’t abandon the fact that, most humans who are addicted to Facebook, Twitter or constant interruptions from anything, find it difficult to concentrate on something for long periods. These are subjective.”

      Here you are interchanging man’s volition(his ability to make choices) with metaphysical nature of existence. ie., “You DONOT YET SEE it and you DONOT YET MEASURE the evidence” is not equivalent to “You CANNOT see it and CANNOT measure it”. ie., Your choice of not performing the actions required(gathering evidence, performing experimental trials on two or more separate groups:to establish specific reasons for the observed facts pertaining to the collected evidence, finally adding a new concept to the human knowledge by forming a non contradictory definition) is not equivalent to “unknowability” of certain facts of the universe.(Like Kant and some others claim) Existence is completely knowable(objective). It is upto each man to make(or not make) the effort of gaining knowledge. This effectively eliminates Subjectivism from metaphysical view of the Universe. Irrespective of “who” gathered the evidence and in “which” time frame, the principles of science and conceptual conclusions do not alter, given that the investigator was systematic in his approach. A man choosing not to observe a fact or apply reason, doesn’t make the Universe subjective. It only makes the man ignorant.

      Fact that man is a being of volitional consciousness(voluntary use of consciousness. ie., he can make a choice to use his faculty of reason or to suspend it: It doesn’t change the status of the facts of existence) is the reason why he must understand and choose rational values(values that further his life). Either he does that, or he is being manipulated by his philosopher that framed irrational values for him(that work to his detriment).

      Now, Altruism is the principle that “Justification of a Man’s life is his selfless service to other members of the society.” The reason why this principle is evil is, it places a value(collective) above himself, and demands that he subordinate himself to the collective. Once a man has accepted Altruism as a moral principle, voluntarily or forcefully(which is true in most cases), he has turned himself into a slave. A slave is someone who produces a value/property, while others use and dispose of it, consumption by the collective being the justification for his life’s effort). It cuts off the man’s ability to exercise his volition(to choose his own values, form his own goals, and work for them by his own will) and rests that decision with the collective, ie., Altruism preaches that good is what is primarily good for the society at the individual’s expense. A proper goal is what benefits the collective, at the individual’s expense. Politically the logical conclusion of this principle is a completely communist society. Since in practice, the men who run the establishment in a collectivist society decide what is good for the collective, it effectively establishes a Master-Slave dichotomy between men(Establishment telling you what to live for, what goals to form, what to produce, and give them away to who, and when) obliterating any conception of Individual Rights.

      The extreme opposite of the principle of Altruism is the Principle of Individualism: and its logical conclusion is Laissez Faire Capitalism. ie., It is for each man to decide what is good for him, decide his own goals, put his efforts in the channels he sees fit for his goals, and earn his values, and “trade” those values at his “will”. (ie., to perform his own actions and bear their complete consequences) The principle of Individualism made the Concept of “Rights” possible, which is the foundation of civilised society.

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  2. When I was in my teens, Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged invaded my brain. It’s only after Kant, Bargh, Kahneman and few other writers, Rand appeared to be so small. I hope you have a fine transition.

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    1. It is possible that you have done either superficial or highly selective reading of Atlas Shrugged, skipping portions that you thought were unessential to understand the plot of the story, but were crucial for understanding the Philosophical system that Ayn Rand developed: Like Galt’s speech. Many people do it, and develop an undefined “feeling” that Ayn Rand invaded their otherwise noble minds.

      Independently defining your own values and living by them consistently, is nobility. Blind acceptance of handed over values only requires that you suspend your consciousness. Many people betray their own consciousness wilfully, and the likes of Immanuel Kant(or the fictional Ellsworth Toohey) will make it easy for them to do it, by professing that consciousness is impotent, while subjectivists profess that Existence is subjective: for the purpose of escaping the responsibility of rational judgement.

      When you have accepted that everything is open to indefinite interpretation, anything can be “believed” to be possible, and there can be no objective basis for judging the truth of any matter, thus you can convince yourself that you can transition into any conclusion, perpetually re-evaluating your own self, with ever increasing degree of uncertainty: because any subjectivist can come up with a new interpretation of existence, that may swing the popular opinion against your favour. When the truth is turned into a matter of majority opinion, your chronic “need to belong” with the collective will convince you that anything that suits the majority view must be good. Good luck with that.

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