Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Age of Affects

Age of Affects:  What is Emotional Intelligence, Empathy, Suffering at a distance, and other concepts?

Five social concepts from 5 books, spanning the years 1993 to 2009, are summarized.

1.  Suffering at a distance.  In 1993, the sociologist Boltanski wondered how people react to streams of shocking pictures displayed on the screens, of victims of famine, abject poverty, and misery. How people behave when exposed to suffering at a distance?

Would the spectator feel the same emotions as experienced by the victims?

Boltanski claimed that there are 3 levels of affects: indignation, compassion, and aesthetic contemplation.

Every order of emotion calls for a different action, spanning from public actions, to contribution of money, or expressing skeptical indifference.

Boltanski judged that only the pragmatic public action (marches, demonstrations…) to suffering at distance can justify our reactions, instead of systematic denunciations.  What do you think?

2.  Emotional Intelligence.  In 1995, Goleman popularized the concept of “Emotional Quotient“.

Subjects would submit to a battery of tests meant to measuring the “aptitude of individuals to controlling their emotions and the emotions of others, and using the information to guiding their actions.”

The EQ was claimed to predict better than IQ performances at the job, personal success, and the well-being of organizations.  Apparently, Goleman failed to factor-in the individual ethical standards  that affect their conducts when the corporation pressure them into taking immoral decisions and actions.

Personally, I think emotional intelligence are better predictor than standard concept of intelligence, but I have not analyzed the battery of test for an opinion.  In any case, I believe that IQ test predicts nothing:  It is used as an excuse by institutions to select candidates that they think fit the bill of potential elites in society. What do you think?

3.  The forces of emotions.  In 2001, Lelord and Andre disagreed with the conventional paradigm that emotions (depression, phobia, melancholia, irritability…) are unreasonable impulses that are tamed by letting off steam, of venting out emotions and sharing them with others…

The two authors consider that undesirable emotions are matters of errors of appreciation:  They must be managed as when confronting illusions.  Thus, the patient needs to reach a point of recognizing the illusion and comprehending the somatic factors that initiate the emotions.  They call this therapy “Behavioral cognitive therapy” What do you think?

4.  Geopolitics of Emotions.  In 2008, Moisi, a specialist in international relations, claimed that collective feelings animate current world relations.

Three big collective blocks of emotions were selected are predominating the world scene:

1.The optimist emerging Asia (China and India);

2. The wounded by history of the Arab/Islamic world; and

3. The apprehensive western nations of their decline.

What do you think? (Demographical Rate of increase  tend to forecast the level of optimism in a nation)

5.  Age of Empathy.  In 2009, Waal came to the conclusion that, in mammalian species (mankind included), only empathy or the capacity of perceiving and feeling the emotions of others (fear, suffering…) explains the acts of sacrifice, altruism, and actions of coming to rescue of others

Waal wrote that empathy is the foundation to our set of moral values.

I may conclude that value systems are stable among civilizations; what differs are the priority given to values in the nurturing level in educational systems.

What do you think?




September 2022

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