SOC344 2018 Tut2 – Bega

We have long conceived of a separation between mind and body in western society, with supremacy of mind over body. This basic idea that reason should dominate is captured in the classic statement by Descartes ‘cogito ergo sum’, ‘I think, therefore I am’. However, if your thoughts are affected by your bodily feelings, or even your perceptions of how the society around you sees you, then what are you? What are your thoughts? Are they really separate from your body and your feelings? And do we have a better understanding of the relationship between reason and emotion as a society today? Compare Disney’s take on the role of emotions in human action in 1943 and in 2015 (and note that the producers of the 2015 ‘Inside Out’ film considered including ‘logic’ as an emotion, but later decided to drop it). Which of these depictions makes more sense to you?

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Posted in SOC327 - Emotions Bodies and Society, UOW.

8 Comments on SOC344 2018 Tut2 – Bega

Ryan Lonesborough said : Guest Report 7 months ago

The Disney World War 2 Propaganda film (1942) depicts emotion and reason through cartoon humour. The video highlights how our emotions can overtake our common sense. They use the conventional approach to demonstrate how reason opposes emotion. This approach argues that an individual cannot take responsibility for their actions because emotions and feelings are in control of the body. For an action to be rational, the act must be a clear conscious decision. Whereas it is argued that emotion is compulsive and uncontrollable. This highlights the mind and body split (Barbalet, 1998). However like Alex and Carly, I find it difficult to believe the mind being separate from the body. In fact, in the lecture (Patulny, 2018) discusses how the mind is not separate from the body explained by neuroscience. A key region in your brain known as the Amygdala which stores emotional memories, actually interacts with the prefrontal cortex of the brain which is associated with thoughts and deliberation. Emotional memories can push us into action but it does with a combined effort with thoughts. There is a complex and continuous set of interactions between the two.

Liane Munro said : Guest Report 7 months ago

For millennia, humans have puzzled over the separation and connection between emotion and reason. Many disciplines including philosophy, sociology, psychology and now neuroscience have and are exploring this binary to develop a deeper understanding of its nature (Paltulny 2018). Barbalet (2001, pp. 29-48) compares three perspectives, conventional, critical and radical, which investigates the association between reason and emotion, building a convincing argument advocating for the continuous and interconnected nature of our emotional and rational states. From this radical perspective, rationality is defined by the lack of irrational emotions, and being associated with the emotions of security and sufficiency (Barbalet 2001, pp. 45-46). This interconnection is further scrutinised when the concept of thought is examined. Neuroscience is making great strides in the link between our thoughts, perceptions, emotions and bodily functions (Tedx Talks 2014). These findings clearly reveal how emotions are person and context specific and strongly influence our thoughts, which in turn create our reality. These findings support a post-structuralist, social constructivist perspective of emotion, exposing the outdated, stereotypical nature of the role of emotions depicted in the 1943 Disney cartoon and 2015 Inside Out examples.

Moira Malseed said : Guest Report 7 months ago

The mind is in control of our body and together they are embodiment, the mind and body are one. Simone Schnall from the Ted X talk explains this by how a person feels in a given moment, and how their perception is coloured by what is happening in the body and mind at that given moment that can change ones reaction to the situation. With emotional support from another person it also changes that person’s perception in a physical encounter. Lupton states through the cognitive approach “it is argued that humans make judgements in relation to the physical sensations they feel when deciding what emotional state they are in” (Lupton 1998, p.12). This shows that as social beings we are influenced by others and how we feel influences our decisions through the mind and the body. In the 2015 movie Inside Out shows the importance of each emotion to support human experiences which helps that person navigate through society. Carina’s comment on the self-interest of Adolf Hitler through the manipulation of a country by emotional control: I feel he understood the power of emotion through observation and was disengaged from his own emotion and he was controlled by his reason only, he was very detached by true human emotion. Todays society has connected with embodiment to some degree, but I agree with Catherine on Webers perspective regarding the separation of head and heart in politics. This often is done in political decisions where economic gain reigns over human emotion.

Carina Severs said : Guest Report 7 months ago

Maybe emotions are supreme over the mind? According to the Disney 1943 propaganda film “Reason and Emotion”, Hitler was using emotion to rule over people’s common sense and powers of reasoning. He used people’s emotions of “fear, hate, sympathy and pride” to gain control over them. According to the film, he was able to manipulate, to a large degree and affect, their sense of reason, using emotion. Much the same as the Disney propaganda film itself was doing! We are to some degree pawns to our emotions, were they are able to be manipulated deviously and deceptively by the media, political parties and social media who constantly exert pressure on our poor sense of reason. The 2015 Pixar film “Inside out” depicts emotions and reason as being closely linked, where reason and emotion interact, rely upon each other and cannot survive without the other. William R. Thomas (2013) supports this theory where emotions and reason harmoniously go hand in hand to act in the right way, for the right reasons and with the right feelings enabling a balanced, healthy, happy, meaningful and emotionally rich life. Getting the balance right seems to be the key. Quantifying which is greater; emotion or reason, seems pointless and accepting that both play a role, seems more beneficial as pointed out by Alex, Carly, Alicia and Catherine. For example David Hume (1777) , articulates “reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions….” or as Malin Forsgren (2014) points out in her video presentation “Reason leads to conclusions, emotion leads to action”.

Alicia Redshaw said : Guest Report 7 months ago

Is it irrational or even somewhat naive to argue that the mind and body are not inextricably intertwined? The war time Disney film (1943) illustrates through animation that reason and emotion are separate entities and illustrates through theatrics the disturbances in which emotion has on reason. Weber supports this relationship paradigm in his standpoint that emotions are “compulsive and disrupting of thought and reason.” Barbalet (1998, p.30) however, within his explanation of the relationship between reason and emotion annotates the weaknesses associated with such approach. Domasio, evident within Barbalet’s paper, opposes the theoretical perspective of dualism and argues that the mind and body are in fact in unison, woven harmoniously together. The interplay of emotions is further supported through neuroscience today, “The experience of emotion—even on a subconscious level—has a powerful influence on the neural faculties responsible for making rational decisions.”(Purves et el 2001) The Inside Out film (2015) through animation of five separate emotions appears to support the interplay of reason and emotion. Additionally, and as stated by Carly, the emotions within this film work together and communicate, with their own sense of logic, to manage and control a person’s life highlighting that emotions “complement rationality.” (Patulny, 2018). There is a greater understanding and acceptance within society today on relationship between mind and body and that one’s reason is often driven by their emotions and the ontology of the emotional self, whereby mind and body are inextricably intertwined.

Catherine Clarke said : Guest Report 7 months ago

After watching the clip of the World War 2 propaganda film (1943), I noticed that although as a society we have mostly moved on from this simplistic view, it is still scarily relevant in today’s political climate. It would certainly seem that, as happens in the clip, emotion has jumped in the driver’s seat of some of our current political leaders and made some terrifying and questionable decisions of late. It is interesting to note that at the end of the clip, the narrator states that in order to move forward we must have reason firmly in the driver’s seat and emotion right beside him, working as a team, which is basically a portrayal of what Barbalet termed the ‘critical approach’, whereby rationality and emotion are different, but mutually supportive (1998, p. 39) and work in a complementary fashion. Weber’s conventional approach is still very much a part of our vernacular, for instance, we are often told that we should act and make important decisions with our heads, not our hearts. However, along Alex and Carly, I believe society has mostly moved on from that oppositional approach to understand that both emotion and rationality have a place in how we act and make decisions. The mind/body split is a complex topic with many interesting aspects. For me, I found the somatic markers theory by Antonio Dimasio covered by Roger in this week’s lecture and also by Barbalet (1998, p.42 ) of particular interest, and a sensation that we could all relate to.

Alex Young said : Guest Report 7 months ago

I agree with Carley’s statement that the body and mind should not be treated as different or opposing entities. Barbalet (1998, p. 29) argues that the conventional approach to the mind/body split is characterised by the idea that emotion (body) is the opposite of reason (mind). Perhaps the most famous proponent of this idea was Rene Descartes who said “I think, therefore I am” (Barbalet 1998, p. 33). Descartes argues that the mind and body are completely separate entities and therefore individuals have no control over, or responsibility for their emotions. I disagree with this perspective. Not unlike Barbalet (1998) I argue that background emotions are always at play, often unrecognised by the individual, and act to clarify our actions and intentions. In support of this argument Barbalet (1998, p. 42) argues that even simple tasks would take significant amounts of time to think through rationally, and therefore background emotions aid this decision making process through clarification. These background emotions can be observed through ordinary tasks such as grocery shopping, which, in the absence of background emotions would be more complex and extremely time consuming.

Carly McDonald said : Guest Report 7 months ago

It is ludicrous to think that the body and mind are separate entities! How can one say that the physical is not intrinsically linked to the mind? Taking a purely scientific point of view, it is obvious that there are solid structures that connect both the physical with the mental, the neural system is a complex network of this connection. If we look at the mind as reason and the body as emotion, as Barbalet investigated in his paper Emotion and Rationality, we can see that the conventional view of separation is ultimately flawed (Barbalet 1998). Weber is an advocate for how reason is rational, and emotion is irrational, ‘free man from the power of irrational impulses’ (Weber 1991 pp 118-9, Barbalet 1998 p.37). In this statement Weber is referring to emotions and aligning them to animalistic urges that require a rational mind to control. The Disney wartime clip supports Weber’s theory, with the reason being the driver and emotion only enacting when allowed. Barbelet proposes a radical approach to the relationship, where emotion and reason are interwoven and continuous (Barbalet 1998). William James adds credit to this model and argues that rationality is embedded with emotion (Barbalet 1998). How can a thought, however logic it may appear, be free from any emotional charge? Even an individual who appears reasonable requires many emotions to achieve and continue that status. Disney’s modern film ‘Inside Out’ (2015) appears to support Barbelet’s radical view of the emotion and reason relationship. In this film five separate emotions work together to manage an individual’s life, conveying how emotions are more than simply biological urges. Logic is not a character in this film, but it appears these emotions have an inherent sense of logic within them with each character reasoning and communicating with each other. Although this film is a simplistic depiction of the mind and body relationship, it is a quantum leap from the Disney Wartime Clip (1943). As a society we are delving deeper into how multifaceted the relationship between mind and body is, realising that separating the two is a naïve method to explain this connection.

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