What part do emotions play in cognition? The hero of any story is always a just, strong, honorable mind, compelling an able body into action. Notice how his negative emotions are a reaction to the conflict and not an element of the solution. Notice how his elation is a resultof his victory and the restoration of peace, earned and deserved after the battle was won; a desired result, but not the reason of success. Emotions are never sought for solutions to crucial problems—solutions of any problem. Notice how emotions are a reaction to a stimulus, positive or negative, which was a result of a happening or a thought. They are never the reason for action, but an indicator of an event’s significance to our own conditions and possibilities. Emotions are strictly resultant factors. They ride the torrent of our environmental exposure, reading our health, pride, fear and pain with precision, revealing our own deepest estimate of a person’s or a context’s significance to us. All possible emotions are important—good and bad. They are estimates, giving an indication of the soundness of our course. As an intensity gauge, emotions measure virtue or vice, reward or penalty.
Emotions are not volitional phenomenon, butthe resultof volitional phenomenon; the result of choices. They are the finished product of actions taken earlier. Wherever they are encountered in the chain, they confirm the correct path, or warn of trouble ahead. They signal a fork in the road, indicating an alternate route, but they do not provide the map. Proper or improper cognitive effort is responsible for every human action.
Self-made Man considers his emotions to be just one of many gauges on his control panel, and patterns his intellectual effort to use his mind most effectively. He does not ignore them, but pay’s strict attention, as to every other measure of health. He traces back through what led him to feel certain emotions, in order to continue their causes or to eliminate them. Once the source of an emotion is understood, it can be reproduced and harnessed as fuel; a concentration of power that can be used for some constructive end. He knows that if a negative emotion remains undefined, its power will rob energy from his sacred goals and possibly destroy them, along with his enjoyment of life. Morally, Self-made Man is motivated by the anticipation of all the pleasure that can be obtained by bettering his condition.
A mind at every turn chooses right or wrong, good or bad. It is simply a choice—a decision made—either based on reason, or based on non-reason. Fear and elation are not perceptual existents, they are psycho-physiological reactions based on the projection of dread and eagerness, which is itself a product of proper or improper conceptual effort. Emotions are a second-level resultant indicator; their implications are accounted for by reason, reason being the faculty of judgment which is rooted in your five-sense awareness, and is the only sound, predictable, repeatable base in which to entrust any decision.