Emotions are rational


In the previous presentation we established that emotions obey the laws of the universe and have physical characteristics of action reaction.  In this presentation we argue that emotions are rational and establish why. 

The universe is full of natural phenomena that oscillate between opposing states.  At the subatomic level, particles such as elections are in constant motion. At the molecular level compounds are constantly moving.  There are rhythms going on in cells, the nervous system including the brain.  Our organs have regular rhythms including the heart and lungs, and the mechanisms that drive appetite.  Other rhythms that matter include the day/night rhythm work rhythms and relationship rhythms. 

Definition of Emotions

We can define emotions as the sum total of all the rhythms going on in our body.  These rhythms consist of reciprocal motions between one state and another, sometimes opposite state.  For instance the chart in figure 1 shows a number of rhythms starting at the smallest level (atoms) and extending up to planetary levels (earth's rotation).  Lower level rhythms tend to be more regular than higher level ones, although planetary movement is an exception, being very regular.  

Figure 1.




Electron motion, radiation


Example: Quartz crystal has a very regular electron rhythm that is harnessed to run watches


Brownian motion


Examples: convection of air and liquids results from regular movement of molecules causing them to mix (entropy).


DNA, RNA strands, splitting, replication


Examples: DNA and RNA replicate, and parts of cells such as mitochondria and golgi bodies metabolize in quite regular rhythms.


Skin cells: grow and split, in regular cycles of life and death


Other cells exhibit constant rhythmic activity


Heart beat: Blood cells move round body the body every 2 minutes

nervous system

bio-electrical rhythms: currents, occur in rhythmic fashion within the nervous system


Brainwaves are rhythmic


Heartbeat and breathing are both regular rhythms


Hormonal cycles: menstruation/ovulation is a monthly rhythm, and cycles of sexual desire occur within shorter time spans


Digestion: appetite and satiation occur in regular rhythms controlled by habit to three times a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner)


Awake/sleep rhythm occurs over 24 hours


Morning/evening is a rhythm important to human functioning


Work/play rhythm of 2 days’ rest for every 5 days’ work


All relationships whether with partner, parents. siblings, work mates or friends have ups and downs


All of the rhythms in the chart affect our emotional state to a certain extent.  Obvious ones are sleep and appetite.  If we are tired and hungry then that is likely to make us grumpy.  Lack of sleep and food can lead to more serious health problems.  Hormonal cycles can have a powerful emotional affect, especially menstruation and build up of sexual desire.  Irregular heart and breathing rhythms can represent health problems with the ensuing negative emotions.  When viruses and foreign organisms attack they upset normal rhythms of the body and the ensuing sickness affects us emotionally.  As we age, the molecules and atoms that make up our bones and tissue begin to break down, which affects our physiological well-being with corresponding changes in emotional experience.  At the interpersonal level, while very hard to measure, we tend to relate to people in cycles of positive and negative interactions.  Reciprocity is very important in human relations.  If we fail to respond adequately to people then they may choose not to interact but we can remedy that by taking a particular action such as an apology or similar in order to re-engage.

By using rhythms such as those described, we can define emotions as the sum total of all the rhythms going on in our body.  These rhythms consist of reciprocal motions between one state and another, usually opposite state.  Then, we can say that:

  1. Emotions are constantly in motion.  They do not stop moving, even at night, when they are instrumental in creating dreams
  2. Emotions are rational.  They follow patterns, which, although complex, are based on explainable events.

Benefits of this definition

This definition allows us to see emotions as events which are bound to the physical laws of the universe and therefore knowable and predictable, albeit complex.  If a phenomenon (i.e. emotion) is knowable then that increases our chances of understanding it and using that knowledge to master it.

The main event


In general terms, emotions are rational and are based on complex rhythms.  We can model that by drawing up rhythm charts.  Having a clear vision of how emotions work helps with managing our own emotions.  Once we understand the rhythmic nature of emotions we can clearly see how particularly intense emotions will always pass and unpleasantness will always give way to something more pleasant.

Drawing a rhythm chart can be a useful exercise to draw a chart of rhythms in one's life to help get a visual representation of emotional rhythms.



Personal example

During my youth, whenever I experienced a particularly bad bout of depression, I would lie down on my bed and, with the understanding that it would soon pass, I would stay there, enduring the pain as best I could.  Sure enough, each time, after an hour to two, the sensation would go, and I would find myself distracted by events going on around myself and be able to get up and do things.  It was partly through the vision I had that the depression would pass, that I was able to endure this experience time after time.

Challenge to audience

In the past, emotions have been generally considered to be irrational.  Maybe that was because we didn't understand them very well.  As we learn to understand them better we might find that it is not the emotions that are irrational but our interpretation of them that is.  Our aim should be to get better at interpreting our emotions.  One way of doing that is by modelling using rhythm charts.

References and further reading