Tom Wolfe – Stalking The Billion-Footed Beast

00:00 What do novels do better than movies/TV?
02:00 Why Authors Are Important: Tom Wolfe On His Favorite Books, Writing, Art, Style (1996),

05:00 Tom Wolfe on realist fiction,
27:00 From 2006: Writer Tom Wolfe on journalism and voyeurism,
37:00 Gay Talese and the art of “New Journalism”,
42:20 Dennis Dale joins
45:00 Tom Wolfe – race realist,
1:03:00 Crossroads: A Novel (A Key to All Mythologies),
1:15:00 Tom Wolfe: The 60 Minutes interview,
1:22:00 RICHARD SPENCER & ED DUTTON | Aliens: Where Are They? Would They Kill Us?,
2:02:00 Is Atheism Even Possible? (RS, Ed, Devon),
2:07:00 The Bachelor comes out as gay, gets closer to God
2:08:00 Laura Loomer Is a Victim Of ‘Digital Extermination’ on Social Media
2:19:00 The Word According to Tom Wolfe,
2:27:00 Tucker Carlson On The White Replacement Theory And The Importance Of It,
2:29:30 Tucker fires back at criticism over immigration, voting comments,
2:35:00 Fauci SLAMS Tucker Carlson, “Typical Crazy Conspiracy Theory”,
2:38:00 Why the Last Geniuses of Mid 20th century were in California, and Why the Remnant is Moving to Texas,
2:42:40 Alex Jones v the ADL,
2:47:00 Jerusalem,

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Bellow: A Biography

James Atlas writes in 2000:

* A sickly child, afflicted with respiratory ailments, he was his mother’s favorite; she treated him like an invalid.

* It was in temperament that Bellow diverged from the family line. He was the designated “nostalgia-man,” as he described himself, the keeper of warm memories; the brothers were aggressive and practical. Idealized versions of them showed up in Bellow’s books: the wealthy, satisfied Amos in Dangling Man; the woman-hungry, larger-than-life Simon in The Adventures of Augie March; the Cadillac-driving, capable Will in Herzog; the rich, brutish entrepreneur Ulick in Humboldt’s Gift . Likewise, the heroes of these books were all versions of Bellow—variously depicted as a dreamer, a bookish, head-in-the-clouds intellectual, a confused soul in need of guidance from his fraternal “reality instructors.”

* In life, the two older brothers loomed over the youngest one. While even in middle age Bellow had trouble patching together the rent, their empire-building feats—and, on occasion, their criminal deeds—were reported regularly in the Chicago newspapers: Sam’s nursing homes, Maurice’s hotels and landfill ventures. Their worldly success was a persistent rebuke to the impecuniousness of their intermittently broke and never wealthy brother. Together with Abram, who at last became a prosperous businessman in his forties, they formed a triumvirate from whose judgmental gaze the novelist struggled to free himself—without much success—throughout his days.

* “We read British books and sang God Save the King and recited the Lord’s Prayer and all the rest of it.”

* Abram was a proud man who—in his own estimation—had lost status. In Russia, he had considered himself a gentleman; in America, he was a laborer. Like his wife, he felt he’d come down in the world.

* he romanticized their relationship, casting it as all sweetness and light. In reality, he was erratic in his constancy, greedy for attention, and fiercely jealous. On one memorable occasion, when he noticed that Fox was wearing the fraternity pin of a lanky basketball player who was popular with Tuley girls, Bellow grabbed it and tore it off, ripping her blouse. “I was afraid of the guy,” she recalled. (This scene, too, found its way into Humboldt’s Gift . “You were a violent kid,” Citrine’s high-school girlfriend Naomi Lutz recalls. “You almost choked me to death because I went to a dance with some basketball player.”)

* His mother’s death made him—in the words of Herzog—“mother-bound.” It was a bondage doomed to play itself out in five marriages and a string of failed relationships, as Bellow struggled to free himself from the intensity of his need by denying its primal hold over him.

* Bellow’s self-dramatizing impulse, so crucial to his development as a writer, grew out of a need to make himself heard. To his siblings, he would always be the baby of the family.

* Maurice lost patience with his brother’s habit of reading on the job, and they parted after a bitter confrontation.

* His parents spoke to each other in Russian and Yiddish; he and his three siblings spoke English and Yiddish at home; on the streets of Montreal they spoke French, and in public school they spoke English.

* The University of Chicago was a place where Jewish professors taught Roman Catholicism to Protestant students.

* Bellow was discouraged by his teachers’ failure to recognize his promise. “I suppose I wanted attention.”

* For many years after he graduated, Bellow was too insecure to let on that he had gone to Northwestern. It was a good school, but it could hardly compete with the University of Chicago. As his own fame grew, he began to look more favorably upon the place and seemed almost defiant about his affiliation. It was less prestigious, he conceded, but his teachers there had shown greater appreciation of his talents.
Yet Northwestern was in many ways more elitist than Chicago. In the 1930s, the teaching of literature in universities was a career for gentlemen. English departments were dominated by New Critics and Southern Agrarians for whom all literature was English. “University English departments were still under the vigilant protection of something called the Anglo-Saxon tradition,” wrote Diana Trilling in an account of the early career tribulations of her husband, Lionel.

* “Anthropology students were the farthest out in the 1930s,” Bellow recalled, looking back on his Northwestern days:
“They seemed to be preparing to criticize society from its roots. Radicalism was implicit in anthropology, especially sexual radicalism—the study of the sexual life of savages was gratifying to radicals. It indicated that human life was much broader than the present. And it gave young Jews a greater sense of freedom from the surrounding restrictions. They were seeking immunity from Anglo-Saxon custom: being accepted or rejected by a society of Christian gentlemen.”

* Anthropology, the study of foreign cultures, provided expression for Bellow’s own sense of exclusion from American society—a condition that haunted him long after he had become an exemplary (and deeply assimilated) spokesman for the opportunities it offered. Like many Jewish intellectuals of his generation, Bellow never rid himself of the suspicion that he wasn’t quite part of America.

* As graduation approached, the question of what he was going to do with his life acquired a certain urgency. In search of career advice, Bellow called upon the chairman of the English department, William Frank Bryan. “You’ve got a very good record,” Bryan told him, “but I wouldn’t recommend that you study English. You weren’t born to it.” No Jew could really grasp the tradition of English literature, the chairman explained. No Jew would ever have the right feeling for it.

* The history of modernist literature is in large measure a history of discipleship: Joyce saluting Ibsen; Beckett apprenticing himself to Joyce; Pound sitting at the feet of Yeats. But Chicago-area literary masters were in short supply in 1938. Apart from a few bookish friends, his Proustian “little band,” Bellow was on his own. When it came to the lonely work of mastering his craft, he turned to the works of the writers he loved best: Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Joyce, and his local hero, Theodore Dreiser.

* In 1938, American novels written by Jews—as opposed to more ethnic Jewish-American novels such as Ludwig Lewisohn’s The Island Within or Abraham Cahan’s The Rise of David Levinsky —didn’t exist.

* Referring to the best that has been thought and said was a literary tic. Yet he was suspicious of high culture for the same reason that he was suspicious of all efforts, real and imaginary, to impose on his freedom, whether in the form of brothers or wives or in the forms of institutions: They were all aspects of authority. One of the most striking features of Bellow’s work is its refusal to be bound by the conventional definitions of what constitutes literary seriousness. Unlike so many Jewish writers of his generation—Leon Edel, Lionel Trilling, Harvard professor and critic Harry Levin—he was drawn to the gritty side of life. “He has a nose for bad odors to the point where he seldom smells anything else,” as Edward Shils, Bellow’s longtime colleague at the University of Chicago, put it. He worshiped European literature as much as these eminent professors did and was just as eager to demonstrate that he knew his way around it; but he disdained their habit of using their familiarity with the Great Books to put distance between themselves and their immigrant roots, invoking their preoccupation with Jane Austen or Henry James as evidence of their newly elevated class status. For all his assiduous reading—and pretense of reading—Bellow was impatient with the civilizing imperatives he’d encountered in the Great Books, eager to renounce what he called the “high-culture gymnasium route of Thomas Mann” and explore a subterranean realm. “Mortimer Adler had much to tell us about Aristotle’s Ethics , but I had only to look at him to see that he had nothing useful to offer on the conduct of life.”

* His real education was formed by a different set of books. In the deserted second-floor library of the psychology building on Ellis Avenue, he was boning up on the works of Géza Róheim. A trained psychologist, Róheim was a pioneer of psychoanalytic anthropology. He was convinced that it was possible to discover within the rituals and customs of any human group the structure of its collective unconscious—a structure, Róheim hypothesized, that was invariably the same: The psyche of the most advanced European was identical to that of the most rudimentary tribesman. §
Róheim’s work was a revelation. It supplemented the lessons about supposedly primitive cultures that Bellow had learned from his undergraduate work in anthropology anthropology (and from Dostoyevsky), positing the existence of a more spontaneous and robust human nature—what Lawrence in his book on Mexico called “the great origin-power of life.” Bellow was a great believer in the quest for the essential self. In the fifties, he turned to the sexual-liberationist teachings of Wilhelm Reich, in the seventies to the mystical teachings of the anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner, who exhorted people to escape the prison of consciousness and experience the world the way it really is—to “burst the bonds that fetter the human spirit,” as Bellow once proclaimed in a moment of rhetorical overheatedness. Lawrence was only one literary guru among many.

* Like the self-regarding heroes of his books, proud of their flat stomachs and their stamina on the paddleball courts, Bellow delighted in his physical appeal. (“You know you’re a good-looking man,” Ramona, one of Herzog’s many women, chides him: “And you even take pride in being one. In Argentina they’d call you macho —masculine.”) The narcissistic traits that a succession of psychiatrists diagnosed in him were no doubt fed by this gift from nature—as was his prose, which suffered at times from an excess of self-delight.
It didn’t take Bellow long to embrace the progressive morals of New York bohemia circa 1943—to discover, as Alfred Kazin memorably put it, that “everything could fall apart at the sight of a young girl with very wide cheekbones standing at an overcrowded party in Greenwich Village.” For Jewish intellectuals of that generation, sex was a revelation as charged as their first encounters with Marx and Freud. It opened up a whole new world. Their parents’ marriages, constrained by provincialism and the pressures of adapting to the New World, seemed intolerably suffocating to their newly liberated children.
Bellow claimed not to feel guilty about his infidelities—indeed, he considered them his due. But the satisfactions of conquest outweighed the physical transaction; his sexual appetite was never voracious. (“It was his pride that must be satisfied,” as Herzog acknowledges. “His flesh got what was left over.”) “I miss Anita, but not carnally,” he wrote to Sam Freifeld during one of his sojourns in New York. “Strangely enough I haven’t had an erection in two weeks.”

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Extremism In US Military

00:00 The Military Says It’s Confronting Extremism. A Prominent White Nationalist Just Finished Boot Camp.,
02:00 The Art of Debate w Jim Goad, Nick Fuentes, Baked Alaska, Irony Bros,
28:00 The Jewish Question,
48:00 Our 5 year fight to imprison Holocaust denier Alison Chabloz,
57:00 Philip Roth: The Biography by Blake Bailey,
1:05:00 Writing About Jews by Philip Roth,
1:17:00 Philip Roth: Life in the Shadow of Portnoy,
1:58:00 Dennis Dale joins,
2:15:00 Portland neighborhoods,
2:21:00 Portland’s police chief,
2:39:00 The mental health benefits of outdoor exercise
2:43:00 Blake Bailey – Philip Roth: The Biography Interview,

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Middlemarch and Underearning II (4-11-21)

00:00 The need for an exciting life
10:00 Religion and happiness
1:00:00 What makes a marriage work?

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Eric Weinstein Says Harvard Buried His Work (4-9-21)

Eric Weinstein, economist and podcaster, tells Joe Rogan (in a clip uploaded April 2) that the Harvard power structure buried his work.

I don’t know much about Eric Weinstein, but on the couple of occasions I’ve listened to him, he invariably portrays himself as a Christlike figure trying to bring salvation to the world. Why do people conceive of themselves in such grandiose terms? Well, the greater the grandiosity, the deeper the wound they are trying to heal. People do the best they can with what they have and they keep doing that until the pain of doing things their way exceeds the pain of changing (through therapy or 12-step, etc).

From the blog Other Life:

Eric Weinstein has released his highly self-aggrandized anticipated research paper on geometric unity.

I read the paper. I gave it a solid hour or two. I did read the whole thing.

The paper is not really a research paper, it’s a collection of briefly formalized mathematical intuitions combined with some comments about how these intuitions could possibly be turned into a significant finding, plus a number of paranoid intuitions about why and how this significant finding is thwarted by various political forces.

I’m not sure we’ve seen this kind of megalomania since Nietzsche. To be clear, I would say that’s a compliment, given that Nietzsche was the absolute chad of late-19th century Europe. What happens to this kind of intellectual temperament in the 21st century is, of course, a different question.

I was mostly interested in this paper as an example of what a sophisticated outsider intellectual could do, after having gained a large social-media audience. For a couple years now, I’ve been listening to Eric’s story about his suppressed theory, which, he has claimed, overturns all of modern economic theory, transcends Satoshi Nakamoto’s conception of the blockchain, and more.

If I have any horse in this race, my bias is in favor of Eric dropping a world-historical research paper and totally dunking on the institutions from his outsider social-media perch. If anyone is capable of doing it, at this very moment, it would be him—and it would vindicate and flatter a lot of my recent theorizing. I would love to see it.

This paper and its whole self-flattering build up, unfortunately, reveal the author to be tremendously out of touch with both institutional legitimacy dynamics and indie legitimacy dynamics…

I think Eric is a genius and a courageous, fascinating, impressive individual who could have extraordinary impact in the long-run of intellectual history. But sadly, he is becoming a genuine crank, insofar as the distinction between an independent intellectual and a crank is that the independent intellectual supersedes institutions and gains long-term influence, whereas the crank becomes possessed by resentment toward institutions and fails to gain long-term influence.

He makes good points about the selection effects of institutional science. It is true certain findings are likely to be rejected, even if true. But this is a reason for doing extra-institutional science. The error Weinstein insists on making is trying to force extra-institutional knowledge into institutional acceptance. The result can be nothing other than failure, crankhood, and the paranoid bitterness which, frankly, Weinstein exudes in his recent appearances. Fortunately he has plenty of time to change course. I hope that he does, and I wish him nothing but success.

According to Wikipedia:

Eric Ross Weinstein (born October 26, 1965) is an American cultural commentator. He is the managing director of Thiel Capital, a position he has held since 2015. He coined the term Intellectual Dark Web to refer to an informal group of pundits and public intellectuals.

Weinstein received his PhD in mathematical physics from Harvard University in 1992 under the supervision of Raoul Bott. In his dissertation, Extension of Self-Dual Yang-Mills Equations Across the Eighth Dimension, Weinstein showed that the self-dual Yang–Mills equations were not really peculiar to dimension four and admitted generalizations to higher dimensions.

Weinstein left academia after stints at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. More than 20 years later, in 2013, he announced a potential unified theory of physics. Particle physicist David E. Kaplan remarked, “There are many people who come from the outside with crazy theories, but they are not serious. Eric is serious.” At the invitation of mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, Weinstein described the theory at a colloquium, Geometric Unity, in May 2013 at the University of Oxford’s Clarendon Laboratory.[9] The unpublished theory includes a 14-dimensional “observerse” and predictions of more than 150 new subatomic particles, some of which Weinstein believes could account for dark matter.

Few physicists attended the lecture, in part due to errors in the dissemination of its announcement, so Weinstein repeated the lecture later that month. No preprint, paper, or equations were published. Most physicists expressed skepticism about the theory. Joseph Conlon of Oxford stated that some of the predicted particles would already have been detected in existing accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider. Science writer Jennifer Ouellette criticized the colloquium in a blog for Scientific American, arguing that experts could not properly evaluate Weinstein’s ideas because there was no published paper. Mathematician Edward Frenkel stated, “I think that both mathematicians and physicists should take Eric’s ideas very seriously. Even independently of their physical implications, I believe that Eric’s insights will be useful to mathematicians, because he points to some structures which have not been studied before, as far as I know.”

In this April 9 blog post, Steve Sailer writes: “When did the term “process your feelings” become omnipresent? And why?”

I think the phrase has been around for several decades and it means that you have come to terms with who you are and what has happened to you and by you. For an example of someone still traumatized by his past, see Eric Weinstein in this Joe Rogan video.

The phrase is used because it represents something real — when you have processed your feelings, you are no longer run by them or warped by them. If you can talk about something that happened to you without losing your cool, you have processed your feelings. If you can’t, you haven’t. Most people do not enjoy feeling out of control when they would rather be in control. Ergo, it is in most people’s interest to come to terms with reality.

I used to have a kneejerk reaction of hatred toward anyone who reminded me of my father. Over the past five years, however, I think this has disappeared. Why has it disappeared? Because through 12 step work, I located, understood and worked through my anger. You can easily tell whether or not someone is at peace with something that has happened to him by how he talks about it. If he flushes or stutters or gets angry or sad, he hasn’t processed his feelings. He hasn’t come to peace. The past is still present and is warping him.

For the past three years or so, I’ve done an almost daily Youtube show and I’ve never said anything I’ve felt compelled to erase or remove from the internet (I’ve sometimes removed things from Youtube and other social media sites because of their censorship rules, but I always leave the content up on other sites with less onerous rules). Why am I never triggered into saying things I deeply regret? Because, I think, I’ve largely come to terms with who I am and what I’ve done and what has been done to me, and therefore I can’t recall a time in the past few years where I’ve lost it in an over the top and embarrassing way. When you do a regular show on controversial issues, people who disagree with you will reach for whatever rhetorical sword they think will most wound you and they’ll keep reaching for that sword until it no longer hurts you. So if you want to avoid getting triggered into blind rage or helpless despair, you need to process your feelings.

If you think this is all psychobabble, you can ask yourself if you ever get triggered, and if so, do you enjoy it? Does it bring out your best? Does it serve you? Was Eric Weinstein at his best talking about Harvard’s power structure with Joe Rogan? I don’t think so.

I was just reading an excellent 1998 book, Relational Perspectives on the Body, which included this:

[Sheldon] Bach (1985, 1994) suggests that a good deal of narcissistic and borderline pathology, including such structurally related conditions as perversions, addictions, eating disorders, and psychosomatic disorders, may be best understood in terms of the patient’s inability to maintain appropriate tension between these two perspectives on the self. When immersed in a state of consciousness of subjective awareness, the self is experienced as the agent, in Kohut’s (1977) words, as “a center of initiative and a recipient of impressions” (p. 99). At the extreme, this may lead a patient to experience grandiosity and a sense of entitlement and be unable to experience the self as an object among other objects or a self among other selves. When immersed in the state of consciousness of objective self-awareness, the patient can view himself or herself only as an object among other objects and cannot experience the sense of agency or vitality that comes with being a subject, a distinct center of thoughts, feelings, and actions. Although some patients (with certain forms of pathology) are more apt to maintain one side of this polarity over another (for example, overinflated narcissists tend to maintain states of subjective awareness, whereas depressives tend to maintain states of objective selfawareness), nevertheless, according to Bach, the real problem with all of these patients is that they have persistent difficulties moving back and forth between the two perspectives on the self and integrating them into their representational world.

Bach (1994) proposes that it is an important developmental achievement for a person “to integrate his sense of wholeness and aliveness (subjective awareness) with his parent’s and his own developing perspective on himself as one person among many others (objective self-awareness)” (p. 46). Accordingly, psychopathology is understood as a person’s inability to tolerate ambiguity and paradox, to deal with metaphor, or to maintain multiple points of view, especially about the self.5 Instead, in psychopathology, we find polarization, splitting, either-or thinking, manic and depressive mood swings, and sadomasochistic role reversals.

When we look with outrage at the things people have done to us, we tend to gloss over our own role in our own troubles, and our own role in provoking people to act in uncharacteristic ways. We affect other people. We’re not responsible for their reactions, but we’re likely to have played a part in their reactions.

We tend to be stunned when people “do things out of the blue,” but when we have some self-knowledge about how other people have provoked us to do things that now embarrass us, it should be possible to see how other people have similarly been provoked. The more we understand about someone and their context, the more we realize that their scope for freedom of choice has likely been narrowed. And just as we want other people to understand and forgive us for the ugly things we have said and done, so too we need to extend that same attitude towards others who’ve wronged us lest we carry around unnecessary baggage that distorts our ability to live in the present moment.

We live our lives looking forward and we tend to feel us ourselves possessing full freedom of choice, but we understand our lives by looking back, and when we do that, we see our freedom to choose was not as broad as we thought at the time. Looking back, many of us have a much stronger sense of fate and limitation for our own lives. I rarely regret the past because given who I was at the time, I feel like I could not have acted differently. Anyway, that is how I choose to look back at my life.

Not even Harvard and Harvard’s economics professors have unlimited freedom to do as they wish. Like us, they also have to respond to circumstances. Like us, Harvard profs like some people and dislike others and this affects their choices. Our decisions may often seem incomprehensible to others, but if people are smart and have knowledge and empathy and the energy and time to expend that on us, they can usually understand why we acted as we did (just as we can do this for others). There’s no major historical figure or major public figure alive today who I find incomprehensible.

We tend not to see things that contradict our sense of ourselves. We all have massive blind spots. There are ways of living, however, such as the 12 Steps, that enable us to accept the full extent of the wreckage of our past and of our present vulnerabilities (to the extent that we become conscious) and to considerably reduce our blindness and defensiveness.

When I do my Youtube show, I generally put the quality of the show first and I make all my show-related decisions accordingly. Sometimes I mute guests and sometimes I boot guests according to what is best for the show. Often I have to do this on the fly without much time to think about the emotional consequences to all the people affected. Hosting a combative livestream is like playing tackle football and people get hurt.

In many life situations, it is not possible to tell the full truth and get things done, so you have to shade the truth. You might limit yourself to saying things that people you need can understand. To have a life that works, or a politics that works, you can’t limit yourself to 100% truth-telling. It is in Republicans interest to restrict voter turnout, but they can’t say that publicly, so instead they talk about “vote integrity” and other blather for legislative methods to repress the vote (particularly the votes of blacks who rarely vote Republican). Honesty is not always the highest value.

How can you tell if someone has not come to peace with reality aka processed their feelings? They come across like Eric Weinstein in this video clip. He’s ill at ease, defensive, stirred up, enraged, and verging on tears. He’s in the grip of feelings he hasn’t processed and I don’t see how this serves him. Is Eric Weinstein the second coming of Jesus Christ? I suspect that if we heard the perspectives of other people in his stories, the truth would be quite different from what Eric says. How do I know this? Because when people are as emotionally aroused as Eris is here, they are unable to see things objectively nor are they able to empathize.

We want to be able to oscillate between our own subjective experience, and the subjective experiences of others, and to also have a sense of how an objective third-party would see things. How would this look if it were accurately reported on the front page of the New York Times? If we’re enraged by anyone who reminds us of our father, for example, we won’t be able to empathize with certain people nor to see some things objectively, and so we will lead a stunted life. And if you have a problem like this in one area of your life, you likely have this problem throughout your life. Your conscious mind is only the tip of the iceberg. Underneath are all your intense non-conscious processing to make reality align with your story.

When your body language and vocal tone contradict your words, people will usually take their cues from your non-conscious messages.

The less reality you are able to accept, the more unhappy, bizarre and ineffective you will be.

Eric Weinstein seems to have an overly dramatic sense of himself that is often wildly out of touch with reality. He keeps using the rhetorical trope — “Nobody else is worried about this but I lay awake at night worrying because I am so much smarter and more moral than you.”

Everyone else just sees shadows on the wall of the cave, but Eric thinks he sees reality in all its terror.

Eric says he wants to be joyous, but I hear a guy who’s glorying in his crucifixion. Eric the Christ is telling us: “I’m up here on the cross suffering for the world’s sins, and I just want to be joyous. I didn’t ask to leave Heaven where everything was swell, but Dad forced me to come to earth to suffer for humanity’s sins and to offer them a path to salvation by vicariously participating in my life, death and resurrection. Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”


Emotions are the internal felt reaction to a specific stimulus, of which there are five — fear, joy, anger, sadness, and disgust — and we experience them due to their survival value.

“Emotions are indicators of how safe, stable, and secure we feel,” says Manly. “They’re of great value in that, when we attend to them and use them wisely, we’re able to assess how a situation is affecting us and then make necessary shifts to ensure our needs are met.”

Even though we tend to use the words interchangeably, emotions and feelings aren’t exactly the same thing. “Whereas we have five emotions, we have thousands of feelings,” says Manly. This is due to the fact that our emotions are a gut (instinctive) response without the benefit of mental processing.

So what are feelings, then? “Feelings are a conscious subjective experience of emotion,” says Minnesota-based psychologist Kristi Phillips. They typically emerge after self-reflection, as a result of judging our thoughts or the actions we take, as opposed to involuntary reactions to a stimulus.

Without our emotions and subsequent feelings, we wouldn’t learn from our mistakes —we’d instead keep repeating the same unhelpful behaviors and experience the same adverse repercussions, our lives forever locked in a downward spiral.

This is why repressing feelings can be extremely damaging. “Our feelings have a message that wants to be heard and understood,” says Manly. “Feelings aren’t good or bad, it’s what we do with them that matters.”

Processing feelings is necessary, but it can be complicated
On the surface, processing your feelings seems simple enough: Identify and label the feelings that are brewing, give yourself the time and space to feel how you feel without judgment, then decide how you’re going to handle your feelings — either by deciding how you’ll resolve the problem if you have control over it, or how you’ll better cope with it going forward if you don’t.

We all have subconscious ways of avoiding uncomfortable feelings, known as defense mechanisms, which can thwart emotional processing. “Because we’re largely unaware of how our defense mechanisms work, it can mean we fail to process our emotions without even realizing it,” says psychologist Meghan Marcum, Chief Clinical Officer and Chemical Dependency specialist at A Better Life Recovery in California.

When we avoid or repress our feelings, it’s often an auto-pilot reaction, and if we don’t make an effort to allow those feelings to resurface so we can face them, it becomes damaging. The longer this pattern of feel-ignore-repeat goes on for, the more your repressed feelings will build on each other — and the more difficult they’ll be to cope with.

“Consistent efforts to ignore our emotions won’t make them disappear,” says Marcum. “They’ll be waiting for us to acknowledge them at some point.”

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