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