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A Heightened Awareness of Things



Contrary to what I may seem to other people, I am ruled by my emotions more than I am guided by reason and logic. While it is true that I think too much, it is even more true that I always resort to feelings as the final arbiter in any situation I face. The almighty intellect and its unshakable pronouncements may do very well to serve a person who seeks for reasons. It will always give you an answer and you will always have to follow it if you are level-headed. But I am not such a person.

To be sure, I think about things before I act. But when the time comes when I am asked to respond and do something, I do not do things because they are "logical" or "right" but I do them based on what I feel at that moment or what my emotion judges as best. It is in these times that my passions overcome me, forcing me to throw reason out of the window.
But it is also in these times that I am most vulnerable to committing mistakes.

Because the passions are a hit or miss. Emotions are based on aesthetic judgements which are no longer guided by the light of reason but based on a certain feel for the situation, a certain sensitivity to the occasion. It is either you see it or you don't. When it is there, you cannot deny it; when it is absent, you cannot pretend. And so you bet on what you feel.

But reason cannot cover over the mess that a passionate man can make of himself. He stakes everything with what he feels is right but by going with his gut feel and, having no other reason to hold onto, exposing himself to misjudgements and mistakes.

And I am such a man--a man of many mistakes. This is the price that I have to pay for riding on the unending wave of my emotions, never knowing if it will take me to the euphoric heavens or send me crashing down to the depths of the sea. The wise man stays on the shore. While I always am in the ride of my life.

It is no wonder that I have a mood disorder.

***


I have developed a keen sense of reading
people and situations over the years. I am able to read their body language, their aura and sometimes their minds. I have a somewhat heightened awareness of things, sensitive to the timing of events, and in some instances, able to predict if something good or bad may happen soon. It's like the feeling that you know where the story is going even before it unfolds. That is why I always say, "I've read that already." These are all made possible by my gut feel, by listening to my senses and staying in touch with my emotions. And developing this is as tedious and difficult as developing sound reason and reflection.

***


I do not believe in those who supposedly are gifted with magical powers, able to predict the future or able to understand the paranormal. I believe that everything is already written on the walls and it is up to the person if he or she can decipher it by feeling through it.

***

When I was talking to my friend who is an essayist, she remarked that it is due to this kind of sensitivity to things that makes it possible for writer like herself to be able to write. And I agreed.

For creation requires the artist to be able to see the subtle nuances of her art. It means to be able to be sensitive to the details, to feel the fine emotions that are evoked by something, and to recreate through the imagination a scenery, a picture or a world. This is why the artist's craft is the craft of description. She tries to show something. And she may never be able to show through words or works what captured her emotions if she was not able to throw herself into that whole, absorbing every angle of it, feeling every emotion evoked by it.

Every artist then is able to speak in a unique voice. Not because of her unique reasoning or intellect, but because she sees a phenomenon or anything that shows itself in a way that only she can see it, feels it in a way that only she can feel it. The phenomenon itself, before its essence is abstracted by the intellect and there turned into the abstract but universal concept, can only be experienced through the perception (aisthesis) of the individual which will always be unique to that individual.

This is why before a phenomenon, the thinker thinks it while the artist feels it. The thinker shows you a clear but fossilized concept while the artist tells you of a beautiful rose garden.

***

On a rather dull day in senior year, I was listening intently to my ethics teacher as he was describing Plato’s idea of the divided human person, that is, that the soul is composed of reason, passions and appetites.

As I was referred to the Phaedrus, I found the image I could hold on to and fix in my wondering mind. In that famous dialogue, we find Socrates walking along with his friend, Phaedrus, discussing, among many other things, the immortality of the soul. Socrates mystifies Phaedrus, a lover of rhetoric, with a vivid but haunting metaphor to describe the soul:

Let us then liken the soul to the natural union of a team of winged horses and their charioteer. The gods have horses and charioteers that are themselves all good and come from good stock besides, while everyone else has a mixture. To begin with, our driver is in charge of a pair of horses; second, one of his horses is beautiful and good and from stock of the same sort, while the other is the opposite and has the opposite bloodline. This means that chariot-driving in our case is inevitably a painful business. (Phaedrus, 246a-b)

As we already know all too painfully from Plato, it is Reason and not Passion or the Appetites, that is charged with that “painful business”—like the way Camus confirms along with the rest of humanity, “Living, naturally, is never easy”—of keeping those two horses on the ground and the chariot on track. In other words, it is the clarity of our Reason which should guide our Passions and Appetites as we go through the darkening labyrinths and side-winding byways of life.

As years passed by, I now think that I took Plato too seriously. The passions have as much to say as the intellect or our appetites. While it may be true that reason is what distinguishes us from the rest of the beings in this world, I believe that our passions and emotions make each person different from each other. And as I have tried it out for myself, I discovered that very rarely do we solely rely on reason when we make our decisions or judgments. When I tried to let reason rule, very often, I experience division within myself which almost always comes from my emotions disagreeing with reason. Well, as Plato already noted, it will never be easy, this "painful business" of living. Yet what I have learned is not to trust reason too much even if this sometimes meant relying too much on my emotions.

I believe that the pleasures of this world are too good to let pass to just be reflected upon.






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