Monday, May 22, 2006

Descartes' Error by Louis Evan Palmer

Dr. McCoy - "Spock, you don't have any feelings!"
Mr. Spock - "Why thank you Doctor."

The book "Descartes' Error" starts with the observation that persons with certain neurological disorders do not feel emotion. They are "flat".

It goes on to point out that these emotion-and-feeling-impaired persons have poor reasoning capabilities as well. They draw inappropriate conclusions and act in what seems to be an illogical manner.

As the author "Antonio Damasio" states early in the book - "The powers of reason and the experience of emotion decline together.."

We still have our will, both free and otherwise, but the context in which that will is driven is derived by both intellect and feeling. There is a constant interaction, a blending and merging, with pulses of intention and action gushing forth from that personal universe.

But the key insight is that emotion and feeling are vital. Without them, we don't function properly and we don't want to do, or do, the right things or do them in the right way.

This applies equally to choosing friends or leaders. But focusing on leaders - when we choose new leaders or evaluate existing ones, we should apply this measure to them. Do they have the emotion and temperament to lead in the right way? We already do this type of thing in the smaller but closer context of choosing friends. It should be used in the broader realm as well.

We may find that the selection process for leaders which we've allowed to take root, prevents the more complete persons from being seriously considered or cuts them down to irrelevance if they do arise.

The selection process must change and it can, bit by bit, around us, around others, now and later, until our process and nations flip themselves right-side up again.

Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 2006
Descartes' Error, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,