Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Feelings are not gods

This is a brief excerpt from The Simplicity Primer concerning a pet peeve of mine, the elevation of feelings to a cult-like status in our society.

It’s become popular to think that how an individual feels is far more important than what he actually does. Hurting someone’s feelings these days is tantamount to a crime of the highest degree.

The result of this god-like elevation of feelings is that we tiptoe around, held hostage by the fragile egos of a bunch of whiners. Feelings come complete with a whole retinue of entitlements and levels of selfishness that must be catered to.

It doesn’t matter who gets hurt or what gets damaged in this quest to balm somebody’s feelings. If you feel like having an affair, too bad for your spouse or kids. If you feel like drinking too much, tough luck for your family. If you feel like buying a new car, who cares if you’re already deeply in debt?

The most amazing part of the “feeling” revolution is how one-way it is. My feelings are the only ones that count. Your feelings aren’t important, and if you don’t agree then you’re “intolerant.” Wives do this to husbands all the time. Certain political activists are fond of this technique. Schools don’t dare let a child’s feelings get hurt so “everyone” wins a blue ribbon, or gets a trophy, or gets advanced to the next grade.

The trouble with this god-like elevation of feelings is that any attempt to have standards (honesty, cleanliness, decent language, etc.) is by definition intolerant and someone’s feelings get hurt. We can’t have that.

Rise above your feelings. Your feelings might still get hurt, but that’s reality.


  1. Very well put. It's easy to get caught up in your own feelings and put yourself first, too, without considering how it affects others. I remember struggling to understand the difference between "feeling" and "knowing" when I was younger. I remember thinking life would be much simpler if we didn't even have feelings, haha :)

    This may be slightly off-topic, but a personal lesson I had to learn related to feelings involved forgiveness. Forgiving someone for something is a choice, not a feeling. If you forgive someone today because you "feel" like it, then tomorrow you may wake up and not "feel" like forgiving him any more. It has to be a conscious decision, and one you stick by even if later you don't "feel" like it any longer.

  2. Feelings have been allowed to replace our Logical Thinking.

    Once this dilemma occurs,(and it has), we set our entire society up for a whirlwind of bias and confusion.
    Perhaps that's why those laws that protect "feelings", have been allowed and created?

    There is no possible way to prevent hurtful feelings of every human, much less, have groups who are now trying to protect the "feelings" of animals.

    Too bad these feeling directed people do not use them to direct their conscience before they act out their impulses. I believe our conscience, and our ability to speak, is what separates man from animal.

    Having a working conscience is MUCH more important to a society than feelings.


  3. Patrice, you've touched on one of my own pet peeves here.

    It makes me cringe to behold how folks confuse 'need' with entitlement. And of course those famous empty words of rationalization and greed:
    'I deserve it.'

    Well, thought does not equal feelings and need and being deserving does not equal entitlement.

    Some would color me a hard nose, but that's how I see it. I guess it's what happens when your read all of Ayn Rand's work while you're growing up. lol

    God bless,

    A. McSp

  4. Yep, it is sad when the schools don't want to hurt the kids feelings, but guess what it's a cruel world out there and the sad thing is the kids will not know how to deal with hurt feelings when they become young adults or adults, leading to unstable citizens who may go to extremes when their feelings are hurt. I had a principal who told me to one year that I had to give all my kids good grades of a C+ or better and the kids who received bad grades got them because they didn't do their classwork/homework (which is a chunk of the grade, because some kids can do the work but have testing anxiety ) and their tests they failed ( small amount) but "Oh no, poor kids and my reputation as a principal of a high scoring school, so you WILL change their grades". I was forced to, I should of said NO!, but it was my first year teaching and I had no help not even the union on that campus, not the district later once I sent a letter.... I did however straight out tell her to her face " You are hindering these children , and teaching them its ok to fail because you will always pass, what do you think is going to happen when they go to a different school?, when they go to college? or even get a job? no one will put up with them sitting doing nothing, they need to learn lessons now! Well guess what that principal is now higher up in that district, WOAH IS THE CHILDREN OF THAT DISTRICT, and WOAH IS THE CITIZENS OF THIS TOWN, for the children are out future. OK sorry off my soap box!

  5. Oh my! My 'feelings' exactly!

  6. Feelings have been allowed to replace our Logical Thinking. Feelings MUST replace logical thinking otherwise virtually no one would support the current government/liberal policies.

    This country elected a president when he told them that he was not eligible to be president - the product of a Kansas farm girl and a Kenyan goat herder. That doesn't sound like the off spring of two American citizens. That is OK because it feels good to elect a black man president - qualifications and law will not be allowed to get in the way.

  7. Maybe I should wait for the rest of the book before I jump to conclusions, but, you missed a whole flip side of this issue & that's people who live their lives as prisoners of other peoples' feelings.....Altho it really is a flaw in the personality of the person who has this problem, it's what I call "The Silent Abuse" & it's rampant out there.....The point here is from the viewpoint of those who live "me first" and let their insistence on having their feelings appeased no matter if it's logical or not, good for all or not; (I call it the "Lord Of You Syndrome"), it reminds me of dictators, hehe.....

    But the flip side of this problem is even worse.....

  8. My feelings were hurt reading this.......
    No pain, no gain!
    Enjoyed the article.

  9. Last year my son was advanced into 2nd grade even though he could not read. I brought my concerns to the teacher who told me that it was more important that he stay with his class and age group as this would help his self-esteem and that he would "catch up". My 6 year old, though, who is very advanced and could read fluently, was told she had to stay in her age group, kindergarten, again because she might feel "out of place" and her feelings were more important than actually learning at her young age.

    It was at that point my husband and I chose to homeschool them. Call me foolish, but it seems that his self-esteem would be more damaged by sticking him in a class and expecting him to do work that he couldn't read or understand. As far as my daughter, in my opinion, I wasn't "forcing her to grow up too soon". She is one of the children who has an insatiable need to learn.

    They are doing well in homeschool. My son is now reading at his grade level and as for my daughter, she is also reading and doing mathematics at his 2nd grade level.

    God is good, always and in all ways.

  10. I could FEEL that I have been dealt a difficult hand. I do have stories that would curle the hair of a well to do slub who may have done things in the correct order. Show a little respect for people who did not begin life with a deck stacked in their favor. I mean it. We deserve some respect.

  11. Anon 4:49, my mother could have spent her whole life FEELING sorry for herself because, like you, she did not start life with a deck stacked in her favor. She was raised with thirteen siblings in brutal poverty and starvation (literally - she weighed 87 lbs when she got married at age 27). Her father was a vicious alcoholic who beat her and her siblings so badly that two of her brothers remain brain-damaged to this day. Her father also raped several of her sisters. You want hair-curling stories? All you have to do is talk to my mom.

    But my mom rose above those FEELINGS. She could have spent her whole life wallowing in misery and pain, but she didn't. She could have spent her adult years re-creating the hell she grew up in, but she didn't. She could have married a brutal alcoholic like her father, but she didn't. Instead, she put those FEELINGS behind her, married a good man, and raised her children with love and discipline.

    That's what I respect... the folks who got dealt a rotten hand in the deck of life, and rose above it. FEELINGS don't cut the mustard when it comes to carrying a bad childhood into one's adulthood. ACTIONS are what count.

    You can go through life FEELING like you were dealt a bad hand... which in fact you probably were. But what are you DOING now to make your life better? And what are you DOING now to make the life of your spouse and children better?

    Sorry if I sound harsh, but my original premise remains: we have allowed ourselves to become slaves to our FEELINGS at the expense of our ACTIONS.

    Just a thought.

    - Patrice

  12. I guess what I was was going for on this was an ill fated effort. Sorry if I offended you Patice. I am not sorry for the fire in your gut and the spit in my eye that I just inspired from you. Happy Mothers day(belated).

  13. Sarcasm or satire are dangerous forms of self expression. Lesson learned. I get the feeling that you have wanted to turn it loose for more than a little while. Feels good does it not ?