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Can one be happy, and sad at the same time, where the definition of happiness leans more towards a state of content, rather than joy, and sadness defined more as frustration (helplessness). For example, if one is currently experiencing a state of frustration, of helplessness, to a strong degree (perhaps crying)- and than, at the exact same moment experiencing happiness, or a feeling of content with life. Is this not paradoxical or contradictory? I must say that I have myself have experienced this. I suppose I would describe it as a state of currently being discontent with the specific situation one is in, but content with the general direction their life is going. But to experience the emotions at the exact same moment (NOT to feel frustrated, and after rationalizing their feelings, feel content).

Your question is an interesting one. It's puzzling at first to imagine experiencing two very different, apparently conflicting momentary feelings at the same time. For example: it's hard to know what we would make of someone who claimed to be experiencing a feeling of great calm and extreme anxiety both at the same time. I say "hard" advisedly, however, rather than "impossible." Feeling-states can be quite complicated, and although we can't experience literally contradictory states at the same time (because contradictions can't be true), it might well take near-paradoxical language to convey what some feeling states are like. In any case, something like this is almost certainly part of the story. We're clearly capable of experiencing complex combinations of feeling tone. For example: you've probably had the experience of really enjoying a conversation while at the same time being aware that you have a mild but unpleasant backache. One might be foreground, so to speak, and the other background. That...

What is emotional suffering? I know that I feel that I suffer, but in what sense am I suffering? I cannot place anywhere, the source of emotional suffering in any causal terms from the external world. The external world can bring me physical pain through physical action, but it seems absurd to think that external objects can also cause emotional pain. Does this mean that emotional suffering is generated from within me? Am I the cause of my own suffering? If so, does this mean that one can choose not to suffer?

Saying just what emotional suffering amounts to wouldn't be easy, but there may be no need. Even if we find it hard to spell out what it is , all of us know emotional suffering from the inside. Some emotional suffering may be internally generated -- endogenous, as it's sometimes put -- but whether or not we understand the mechanisms, it's clear that things in the outer world can cause emotional pain. When you think about it, this isn't really so strange. Our emotional states are deeply dependent on the states of our brains, and our brains, after all, are physical things, in interaction with other physical things. We simply accept this for perception: our perceptual experiences are caused by the interaction between things in the outer world and our perceptual systems, including (not least!) our brains. The details of how all this works are best left to the scientific experts, but for example, if I see someone I care about being hurt, and if I can do nothing about it, feeling distressed would seem...

Would humans effectively eliminate most emotions given sufficient rationality? In other words, if humans became highly rational creatures then would we become less emotional?

Only if you define "rationality" in a way that makes it opposed to emotion. But for a lot of reasons, that would be a dubious definition. For one thing, we have reason to believe that intelligent decision-making isn't disconnected from emotions. There's been a good deal of work on this topic by philosophers and scientists, but one well-know place to start is with Antonio Damasio's book Descartes' Error . It turns out that the emotional centers in the brain have an important role to play in helping keep us on the rails. We can add: other things being equal, it doesn't sound rational to choose a life that makes it less likely that we'll be happy and fulfilled. But for most of us, a good deal of what makes life meaningful is bound up with our emotions. In a perfectly obvious sense of "rational," it's rational to seek love, let ourselves cry in the face of tragedy and open ourselves to joy. A concept of "rationality" that ruled all this out would be poor and perverse.

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