I know I’m emotional. I’ve stated before that I subscribe to the idea that when intellect and emotion are posited as a dichotomy, that it’s a false one. There’s a great quote from the movie The Insider:
“Agent: Do you have a history of emotional problems, Mr. Wigand?
Jeffrey Wigand: Yes. Yes, I do. I get extremely emotional when assholes put bullets in my mailbox.”
In the movie, people are making death threats against Jeffrey Wigand’s family by putting bullets in his mailbox. He gets emotional about it.
Emotion is a crucial part of the mature mentality of (at the very least) organisms that have a body, or embodiment. Our language is filled with ways to discard and marginalize the value of “emotion”. The false dichotomy of intellect and emotion is one of them.
Recently I have gotten extremely emotional about the fact that some of my family have said racist things…actions which make it such that the only family I have (since we don’t get to choose)…that that family holds significant racist ideas in 2010. I’m also emotional about the fact that my last job wasted three years of my time with, essentially, a whole bunch of bullshit. I’m intellectually involved, I’m emotionally involved. If I have to use two distinct terms in this language to describe that, then so be it. The presence of two terms does not imply a dichotomy. There isn’t a dichotomy. Today is a day when I am not feeling emotional at all, I am in a distinctly intellectual mode. And I have this to say, to my family, to my work, to whoever reads this: to not be emotional about finding out your family promotes racist ideas in 2010, is to be non-functioning. To not be emotional when you’ve given three years of your life to a company whose key employee has actively sabotaged your technical contributions, sexually assaulted your female friend, and lied about his ownership of the company, to be completely dispassionate about that would be to be completely dispassionate about your job and your life, and that is, from my chair, non-functioning.
Too much emotion for the given action is hysteria, no doubt. But there is an opposite end to that spectrum—action without emotion—and that is psychopathology. For me to be too emotional about something is disordered, I agree. For one to be not emotional enough about something, is disordered too.
I stand by my guns. I love my family. My family is imperfect (it has me as a member, so it has to be). When I find out that my family harbors racist ideas in 2010, that is something to lament. Someone who harbors racist ideas is crippled intellectually. Someone who isn’t sad about their family harboring racist ideas is crippled emotionally. The way I express my hurt, as an expression of hate, is never appropriate. In the absence of some cooperation from the family culture there, without acknowledgement that the racism is present from those harboring it, there is no culturally appropriate way to express my hurt over the racism in my family.
I agree that my hate expression is not helping. I acknowledge that and I’m working on it. I love my family, and I love the people I worked with at my last job. But, all emotion aside, let’s be honest:
- Pragmatic Solutions supporting Josh English’s consummate idiocy (or his keeping a bottle of vodka in his desk at work)…that’s crazy, it’s the reason that people drop like flies from your company and the reason for your chronic inability to produce viable technology.
- My family members, some of them, harboring anti-black racism in the United States in 2010…that’s fucked up. And no matter how emotional or unemotional I am in saying it, it doesn’t make your position any better.
That’s some straight talk, no emotion involved.