Let me dig myself into a deeper grave. When i wrote in my last blog that Cogito ergo sum is passe and it is Feeling (sentire) that defines man and not thinking : I got may interesting challenges by mail; sms & calls. Hence in this blog. I am trying the explore the subject a bit more. Bear with me.
Maybe having been an Human Resources professional for 35+ years in Corporate India and before that a Psychology student in undergrad and post-grad level piqued my passion to study and understand people. Try to understand what they do and why they do what they do.
Even growing up as a child I was heavily into English Literature. Alongwith all the Classics I devoured with equal fervor the genre of thrillers and intrigue. Poetry always held special fascination for the flashes of insights into the way we are. A la Ulysses ” always roaming with a hungry heart Much have I seen and known”. My father’s transferable job took us all across the length and breadth of India during our early life. Completing my 11 years’ schooling in 8 different schools seemed like a challenge then! But I enjoyed every transfer giving us a new place to live in; a new culture to experience. In my career again I traveled the world meeting new people; experiencing new geographies. And in all this time I NEVER met a person who was “cogito” : a rational man to the core.
Rather I have seen all data and analysis pointing one logical outcome and our “thinking man” get hijacked by his emotional side. Hunches and intuition make decisions after all facts are on table. Alternately put: why someone did what s/he did cannot be explained by rationality alone. That is why I say Sentire ergo sum.
Some interesting challenges which I got were:
- Thinking is a prerogative of humankind. Animals and plants also have feelings. Man is the only one who can think.
- Feelings are a product of our emotions. Feelings are only an interplay of our emotions. Much intellect is not necessary.
- Feelings need to be expressed. But what about repressed feelings and emotions? what about negative feelings?
- Descartes associates thinking with “am”ness. Only because of ‘I think’ (I know) ‘I am’. Descartes indicates self awareness which again is possible only for humankind.
I am noting down all these challenges just so all of us can think and consider them and their implications on the thesis “sentire ergo sum”. We may all see it with different perspectives; have differing points of view; and even reach differing conclusions. Which to me is fine. Unlike Physics or Maths we need not reach one conclusion in Philosophy. There is no “right” answer we all MUST converge on. As Mao said so brilliantly: “Let thousand flowers bloom.” While thinking (cogito) is preeminent & important; to me the emotion and feeling is the deeper truth; the opinion and intellect is the more superficial one. I end with one of my favorite quotes from Helen Keller : “The best and the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” and so Sentire ergo sum!