Emotional process

by Rod Smith

Emotional process (your “inner-brewing” or the “subterranean-working” – usually invisible – beneath the surface of any person group) is on a broad continuum.

My writing and my thinking about emotional process is deeply influenced by the likes of Murray Bowen, Edwin Friedman, David Schnarch, and many others. They have articulated these thoughts with much greater clarity and thoroughness – and I’d suggest the interested reader research their many books.

One the one end, the primal or reptilian end, individuals and groups are highly reactive. Conspiracies abound. Either/or, or black/white thinking (it’s hardly actually thinking) is rampant. Walls and fences are erected because “others” are the enemy. It’s impossible to have a reasonable conversation because reason doesn’t work with unreasonable people. “Reasonable” requires listening and reflection and reactivity doesn’t have the capacity for such pleasures. In this world weakness is failure, vulnerability and mercy are indications of surrender. At this end people are very, very serious. Intense times calls for an intense reaction.

When I (dys)function on this end of the continuum I am uncomfortable and thinking people are uncomfortable around me. The result is I tend to herd (to band, to storm) with others who are just like me.

One the other end, the thinking, creative end, people are more human. Ambiguity can be embraced, opposing points of view can be entertained and minds can even be changed. Openness to others, mercy, welcoming a stranger, is not seen as losing but as potential for growth.

When I function on this end of the continuum I am at my most humane and my most creative.

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