A (non-comprehensive) List of Emotion Nouns
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|But a mind is not an object. The convention of repeating the means, objective
analysis, of the success we have had in manipulating the physical world may
be a linguistically natural one to follow, but it is worth calling into question
when we find ourselves doing it with minds.
A Cambridge friend of mine tells me that the ancient Greek, Hippocrates, said
that mind and body are not separable, but that Plato and Aristotle maintained
that they were. Today, although we frequently use the words 'mind' and
'body', no scientist has ever been able to define in words the boundary
between a physical body and a non-physical mind. After glibly using these
words for two thousand years since the fathers (and today their professional
sons and daughters) of Western medicine, philosophy, and science disagreed
over whether the mind and body are distinguishable scientifically, we must, I
believe, today accept that, scientifically, they are not. Yet people, and not just
lay people but professional people like doctors and psychiatrists, appear still
to be using the words 'mind' and 'body' as if what these two words symbolize
were actually separable.
Fortunately, some writers -- mainly from the fields of psychotherapy and
alternative healing modalities, but not often from traditionally trained
psycho-analysts -- have begun in the last generation or so to use the words
'mindbody' and 'bodymind'. This nomenclature reflects much better what
scientists have so far been able to clarify with empirical evidence; but, as is the
case of many profound linguistic advances, the new nomenclature is only
slowly catching on.
Perhaps we can find clues in these two songs. I've discussed their motifs with quite a few people. Few
women recall the man’s song. All of both genders recall the woman’s song. All think that the material
lot of women improved substantially during the 20th Century and that women’s thirst to escape the
boredom often experienced of lives confined to the home has been substantially, but by no means
entirely, quenched. Some wonder whether, given the hectic pace of our currently market-driven lives,
this signal improvement won by women and the men aware enough to be their political supporters has
gained anyone participating in family life – whether as a parent, child, or grandparent – anything
worth having. Most women and some men wonder why men continue to “feel misunderstood”.
A problem common to both genders is, I believe, that we live in an age in which the idea of diagnosis
is grossly misused. Our habit of using the tools and skills of objective science to make a diagnosis -- a
habit widely held to be the source of much progress -- may now be an under-recognized source of
discord and conflict. This essay elaborates this idea, and also proposes what I believe can be a
solution for many, if not all, of us.
The diagnostic way of thinking and conversing practiced by objective scientists has enabled the
Western-oriented world to have great success in manipulating objects through mechanical, chemical,
electrical, electronic, electro-magnetic, and nuclear means. Since we know that the field of experience
in which most mental-emotional turmoil occurs is personal relations, the natural path for thought on
the subject of relationships has been to use constructs already proven successful in science. So what
could be more linguistically natural in our evolution as a civilization than for people to utilize a
practice proven successful in manipulating the world of objects to addressing issues arising in
personal relationships? Indeed, we began applying the techniques of objective science to this field in
the 19th Century, and by the end of the 20th the profession most identified with that approach --
psychiatry -- had grown to have great influence -- especially in language communities where
diagnoses have become a key factor in the profession's system of self-organization and its
compensation by government and/or insurance companies.
|Connection and clarity from voicing a gnosis
|Opportunity for a Gnosis*?
Balance in the Issues of Social Standing,
Inter-Gender Relationships, & Self-Image
(c) 2008-14, all rights reserved, by
Principal, Authentix Coaches
* Gnosis: Greek word for 'self-knowing'
|Do you recall the song “Killing me softly with his song”? It was a hit a couple of
decades ago and we hear it still on soft music radio shows. The singer is always
a woman and the song enables her to give voice to a hard-to-explain complaint:
her man’s way of being is, she feels, seriously suppressing hers -- but so softly
she scarcely can find social justification for protesting.
“I’m just a guy whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be
misunderstood”. Part of a hit song at almost the same time as Killing me softly, these
words are a man voicing quite another plea: for release from the agony of having
his good intentions misinterpreted as malevolent or insensitive.
In the traditionally held gender stereotypes of the psychology of the 20th
Century, women were widely assumed to know their emotions and to be
oppressed by men who didn't, and men were assumed to be thinkers whose
thoughts were often disconnected from their emotions. How can these core
motifs of genderism, or the 'war of the sexes', be reconciled for the trials that we
are all having to meet to grow from the 'Great Recession'?
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The serious scope of this issue becomes clearer when we think about how we are accustomed to
communicate abstract ideas. We usually employ metaphors derived from descriptions of concrete
objects – for example, 'he has a sharp mind' – for this purpose. Such common sayings draw on our
senses of a concrete object, in this case that of a knife or a sword, to indicate a quality of a person's
personality. OK, so we all know what a knife or a sword are, but what would be the affect on a
troubled person's experience in a relationship if, for example, he or she had been diagnosed by a third
party as 'having a sharp mind'? How would your spouse's/partner's opinion of you be affected if such
a diagnosis were made of you? Well, you and your partner might well be able to work out a solution
if a friend were to offer such a 'natural diagnosis', although there is a risk you might not. But what if
your partner were to pick up such a notion from a psychiatrist whom you and your partner had
visited? Would your partner consider a psychiatrist to be an unimpeachable authority? Many people
do, but what's crucial to reflect upon here is whether you, dear reader, do. And suppose also that you
and your partner were having difficulty agreeing what schooling to give your child and you had
reached your wits' end trying, perhaps without formal knowledge or understanding of
communications skills, to find common ground and then a psychiatrist 'diagnoses your mind as
sharp'? Would that affect the outcome of the issue with which you and your spouse were grappling?
It surely would – although not in very predictable ways.
Following the tradition of the medical science out of which psychiatry was born, professionals in the
fields of psychology and psychiatry have invented ways to categorize the habits of behavior and
thought they perceive in people experiencing emotional pain into commonly occurring psychological
and psychiatric types. But, what truly are the habits of thought observable in another when only the
outward consequence of some bodymind process, and not the thought itself, is directly observable?
Unless we remain scrupulously aware of such subtleties, and we can only be so if we have a clear
distinction between an emotion and a feeling, we will be very likely to try to carry over into personal
relationships the successes our culture has had in the realm of manipulating objects by means of
diagnoses. If that happens, we can all too easily fall into the habit of referring to each other
diagnostically, i.e. as being an example of one or another 'psychological or psychiatric type'. And
when we do, we have begin to treat each other as having the characteristics of objects rather than of
personalities capable of honest growth.
Professionals in the field of psychiatry are often ingenious in finding ways to transcend the mental and
linguistic limitations within which they and the rest of us make use of the science of their profession.
For example, Ron Charach, who has practised psychiatry in Toronto, has published eight books of
poems – the latest being "Selected Portraits" (available from Indigo/Chapters and Amazon) – to convey
his healing messages to psychiatric survivors and their family members. But many if not most of the
rest of us are still at the stage of studying popular books on psychoanalytic theories and its various
applications in popular clinical psychology -- books in which the linguistic limitations of
quintessentially diagnostic psychoanalysis are rarely, if at all, made clear.
When one tries the skills of analysis learned from success in predicting what will be the consequences
of actions one takes in the objective physical world of houses, cars, kitchens, and machines, into desires
for success in predicting the implications of diagnostic categories upon others, one is dipping into
pretentions to be able to mind-read. Indeed, listening closely, one finds much presumptive mind-
reading occurring beneath the surface of many ordinary conversations today.
To return to the two songs with which we began. In the first song, a woman – apparently assuming
that power resides largely outside herself – has resentful anxiety about the subtle, but nonetheless
oppressive, influence a man has over her. Perhaps the woman is extending our species' traditional
successes in predictive thinking in the world of domestic objects by presuming that the intentions of a
man have not evolved much from his predecessors. In the second song, the man may be aware that the
sensitivity to women's feelings of his male predecessors was abysmal and is bemoaning his angst that,
as a consequence, women so often incorrectly presume his intentions – now much evolved from the
days when man entirely dominated public life – to be only as insensitive as that of his predecessors’.
These are only hypotheses, of course. What the songwriters actually had in mind, we can only know if
we have both the curiosity to ask and the means to gain satisfaction. If we have too much difficulty in
one or the other, we are prone to try to meet our desires for certainty by falling into the presumptive
habit of believing we can mind-read.
|Let us note here that the woman singer is quite openly blaming her man. But
what, actually, is his intention? Will she make the effort to ask? Or will she
fall into the dark hole of presumptive mind-reading? If the latter, she may,
depending on her predisposition, either make herself feel worse or miss an
opportunity for clarifying her feelings and so miss giving him a chance to
change his behaviour so that both she and he feel better. Although our
guesses of another's thinking can sometimes seem to be true, rigorous testing
of this notion invariably reveals that we cannot safely or fairly expect our
guesses of another’s intentions to be entirely accurate, no matter how widely
and deeply we have studied psychoanalysis and its many offshoots. Given
this ineluctable truth, is it not now time to start letting go of diagnostic
thinking in our approaches to developing and maintaining relationships?
Well, yes, but how? Well, if we want to emerge from an "Age of Inappropriate
Diagnosis", what about exploring an "Age of Gnosis"? The term "Age of
Gnosis" sounds quaintly and esoterically pretentious to many, and, if it does
to you, please try to keep an open mind while I bring in a few other pieces of
data that I hope you will find to be relevant to the issues posed by this essay.
Gnosis is a Greek word meaning an "incidence of knowing". "Dia" is a Greek
word meaning "across", or sometimes "connecting". Thus the word "diagnosis"
is distinguished from the word "gnosis" as being, often but not always, an
incidence of claiming to know what is in another's mind. This being so,
wouldn't your diagnosis of me, or my diagnosis of you, be prone to the errors
of mind-reading? Well, yes, of course, they would. So, instead of believing
that we know what is in another's mind, we might now try sharing what we
ourselves truly do know. Well, what do we actually know, and will sharing it
be safe? We all have some ideas in mind that are properly not others to know,
and so sharing some ideas will not be safe, let alone wise. We shall, therefore,
have to develop the means to protect ourselves both from "giving ourselves
away" – whether by excessive generosity or by accidental insult. If we can find
such ways, we would be able to leave the inaccuracies and presumptions that
are at the root of mind-reading mental diagnoses to the worlds of inanimate
sciences like engineering and physics and astronomy. We would then
permanently be able to avoid the often insulting and unnecessarily tragic and
painful building of accidental walls in relationships that the habit of resorting
to psychological diagnostics inevitably and tragically erects. For that is indeed
what such diagnoses do: they block our best efforts to grow trust and/or
intimacy. Let us instead, therefore, find ways to express, safely, our own
gnoses more often, our own authentic, but yet non-diagnostic, knowings and
intuitions. Let us, in other words, find again the vital and vitalizing paths of
truth by practising empathic expression of only what we authentically know,
our gnoses. Let us lay off diagnoses of others – at least of others still alive and
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or structure of Angus' new book.
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Finally, I have been using the word "diagnosticianism" to label the habits of mind in which we
compulsively diagnose others as if they/we were inanimate objects that require repair, remaking, or
"resomethingelse". I think the term "pathologizing" is used to symbolize the actions of speech by
which "diagnosticianism" manifests verbally. However this might be, the habit of mind that manifests
as language that points to another as having a pathology is very, very often, I believe, a trigger of
another's feelings of insecurity or worse. It can lead one to asking "empathy guess" questions that are
either quite primitive or very professional (but rarely very loving!) -- until a person reaches, in my
conception, a level of intellectual understanding and emotional maturity that:
1 -- recognizes pathologizing coming from others
2 -- avoids 'taking in' such diagnoses as signifying any aware intention to hurt another (Father, forgive
them for I do not believe they know what Freudian chimpanzees they have become)
3 -- avoids considering instances interpreted as diagnosticianism as anything one MUST respond to
but only as the current beliefs of another (who will grow in due course because that's what life does)
4 -- gives such diagnoses space to expire of its owners/perpetrators' own accord, possibly by
disengaging (but not habitually by disengaging)
5 -- recognizes diagnosticianism as endemic in the acculturations of all of us in the past (which is not
over until it is over by some miracle of faith or heroic endurance)
6 -- seeks to let go of the habits of diagnosticianism one is daily recognizing to which one has, oneself,
become "witlessly acculturated/addicted" -- in favour of embracing, practising, and strengthening
various forms and principles of personally non-diagnostic communication
7 -- accepts that, occasionally, one may experience thinking oneself to be in the dilemma of either
letting oneself expire or learn to climb back to the joy of communicating, which itself may mean
inventing another way to avoid diagnosing others until that nirvanic day when one "escapes the
monstrous monstrance in one's social environment".
I wish you a beautiful, beautiful day.
|And, what about the man singer? Well, he's pleading with his saviour. Will
he be saved? Perhaps he will be. We can certainly hope so and wish him
well. But what if his saviour is too busy, or doesn't think the time is ripe, for
whatever reason, to do the saving requested? What can he do then? Because
Authentix coaches believe that by sharing experiential wisdom on the topics
of learning and leading we all grow in ways salvational to our planetary
civilization, we have contributed on our website a series of essays on
profound issues such as this one. You can find them by clicking on the Site
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Toronto, (c) 080723-1407012, excerpted from a book manuscript tentatively entitled "Eye-Zen English:
Unpresumptively Yours and Mine", planned for publication in 2014/5. Permissions
This list includes all the emotions that clients of Authentix Coaches have experienced as a step
toward discovery of profound and practical new insights into situations they had, until then, been
experiencing only as extremely troublesome. We can use this list to gain the relief that scientists of
emotion have shown is available from labeling one's own emotion (rather than another person's!), as
you can discover from an Abstract of a study concluded in 2000 involving fMRI brain scans by the
UCLA Unit of the United States National Institute of Mental Health. If we do, we are practising what
Authentix coaches term IHXEN authenticity statements of self-monitoring and self-expression. One
has then become conscious of one's emotion rather than being helplessly "driven" by it. One has, in
fact, begun to master the world of Rational Emoto-Linguistics, a branch of psycho-linguistics whose
essence respects universal ethics. And we are then empowered to begin safely and accurately and
thus vitalizingly to process the feelings associated with the emotion noun label we have chosen.
In practising honest IHXENs, we have found that both our clients and we arrive at remarkably valuable
insights. A series of such insights empowered, for example, one enterprise owner and CEO to
'unstick' a stalled debt recovery process by an email that evoked a starting repayment offer of $3
million. (A short narrative of this Authentix Coaches engagement, complete with its ROI, is
available at the following link). Another client used the technique to find a productive new role for an
employee who had become locked in acrimonious personal controversies that were stalling his
company's productivity growth but in whom the company had invested 10 years of learning in a rare
specialty vital to the enterprise. Others have learned to manage bipolar mood swings without drugs
and found a whole new world of stability, intimacy, and better metabolic health.
We can begin to stimulate a shift toward a more gnostic focus and expression amongst the people with
whom we have rapport by offering an IHXEN. This will encourage, if we are not too insistent or too
hasty, reciprocal exchanges of curiosity concerning what each others' gnoses are. When one has
consciously in mind a label for one's emotion, one has not only begun to moderate it; one has also
begun to discover much of what we need to know both of our 'emoto-linguistic bias' (presumption)
and also of the direction that our innermost being is 'organically telling' us is necessary now for
thorough well-being. Such knowing facilitates honesty in the evolution of relationships without
exposing us to the risks of naturally frank speaking, which often manifests as projective diagnoses and
frequently leads to breakdowns in communication. We thereby minimize the risk of inadvertently
setting off painful divisions and crises that so often are triggered by mind-reading judgments. By such
means also, we minimize the distractions and dangers of serious misunderstandings. In sum, by
shifting the balance of focus from diagnosis to gnosis, we acquire the skills to express, without risk
of being interpreted as having hostile intent, our own particular authenticities. We can also use the
IHXEN practice to remind us that we can acquire relief from worries about others' intents if we request
a clarification -- rather than guess in problematic mind-reading. In other words, we can find new ways
to grow in the partnership skills of empathy and acknowledgement.
In the Age of Gnosis now dawning, might we find the ancient 'war of the sexes' slowly subsiding, in
due course, into 'a peace of gender coherence'?!
|Awe, joy, rue, ease, hope, bliss, debt (see note 1 below), hurt (see note 2
below), love, need, rage, dread, glee, grief, guilt, jeal, mirth, peace, poise,
pride, trust, shame, shock, scorn, stress, want, thrill, angst, fear, worth (see
note 3 below), zeal, alarm (see note 4 below), anger, anguish, boredom,
caution, challenge, concern, contempt, delight, disgust, dismay, distress,
envy, fury, fatigue, horror, hurry, panic, passion, pleasure, pressure, regret,
rancor, relief, resolve, sorrow, surprise, torment, upset, worry, tension, trial,
yearning, approval, assurance, confidence, confusion, defiance, dilemma,
distraction, elation, ignorance (see note 5 below), impotence, intensity,
injustice, interest, jealousy, misgiving, potency, suffering, gratitude,
confusion, dejection, exhaustion, frustration, obsession, vexation,
ambivalence, despondency, expectancy, anxiety (see note 6 below) difficulty,
hilarity, perplexity, solemnity, tranquility, agitation, excitation,
apprehension, concentration, contemplation, disconsolation, indecision,
trepidation, curiosity, fascination, indignation, irritation, protestation,
satisfaction, anticipation, equanimity, vulnerability.
(A bigger list will be available in 2014/5 in a book now in manuscript form, of
which feel free to download a 4-page 'Publisher's Preview').
Feel like taking a break? This is rather a heavy subject, so please feel free to enjoy some music here
that I have found everyone loves -- Akira Miyagawa's Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Mambo No.5
OK, feeling refreshed? What might such an approach, an approach of empathic authenticity or of
authentic empathy, require of us? To help me convey a possible answer to this question that might
also be valid for you, please consider the “I have 'X emotion' now“ I-statement (IHXEN), where 'X
emotion' is limited to a noun or a modified noun, such as anger or concern, or rising hope, or growing
doubt. The IHXEN linguistic, pronounced Eye-Zen, is actually the simplest verbal expression of a
gnosis and Authentix Coaches has been testing the IHXEN form for two decades now. We have
found that not only is it a way of verbalizing one's own truth of the moment (authenticity), it is also a
safe way of being authentic in even very trying circumstances because it does not intimate any insult
nor does it imply any presumption to know what is in another's mind; nor will it give rise to any
controversy. Thus IHXEN expressions empower one to be recognizably authentic without danger of
insulting or attacking the self-image or even opinions of another. We have also found that, in
challenging (and potentially explosive) situations, use of IHXEN expressions is a way of relieving
emotional pressure without triggering distrust or any desire, let alone want or need, to "push back".
Indeed we have invariably found that its use always engenders a renewal of trust. In other words:
IHXEN personal truths build trust, while also relieving the internal pressure to express emotion!
To make use of this discovery, however, most us will need to expand our vocabulary of emotion
nouns, so following is a starter list for that purpose:
|New! free download, below, of 4-page
'Publisher's Preview' of a book proposal