emotions are faster than thoughts

on this long, strange journey i’ve learned that emotions are faster than thoughts. in fact, emotions not only are faster, but they come first. it’s like me racing against carl lewis, and letting him start twenty metres and two seconds ahead of me. except it is not a race, it is a partnership. he may cross the finish-line first but it is not finished until i also cross. and each has its different task. the emotion makes the decision, and the thought finds the reason. in other words, emotions decide the what and thoughts reason why. can’t have one without the other: no what, no why; no why, no what.

but what emotions might cause us to think of others? hatred seems too selfish. even love. perhaps love in form of compassion. foer, however, suggests shame, and details some of our shameful fishing and farming practices. like being a sensitive guy in the face of misogyny (especially at commemorative events), i’m ashamed sometimes to be human. i’m ashamed–like antoine de saint-exupéry–of what can’t be helped, but i choose to do–like maathai’s hummingbird–what little i can. the trick is to know the difference. sometimes, though, it seems that more i know, the less i can do. but rather than feel angry and hopeless, i feel humble and wonder–on a good day.

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