The Wonderful Way Shmurak Faces Emotion


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Steve,

I think I needed to re-familiarize myself with the differences between the definition of "emotion" and "affect." If I am not mistaken, affect refers specifically to to the objectively measurable physical manifestation of displayed mood. An emotion is the introspectively observed state that is associated with one's displayed mood. The relation between affect and emotion is as complicated as the relation between mind and body.

While I was reading the word "affect" in your posts, I was thinking and writing about emotion. Many of my questions disappear when I stop trying to connect affect causally to an underlying mental dynamic that includes emotion. I'm just not so sure we should stop trying to make these underlying causal connections. I like the questions.

Are there specific emotions associated with the nine affects? Can we consider these emotions to have an existence separate to our concepts of them? If we can assume the existence of something we call emotions, can we stop the organism we call ourselves from experiencing a specific emotion? Or can we only change the flow of the energy associated with said emotion?

Paul

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Paul,

Have you received/studied my article yet?

If not, I'm going to wait until you do, before I answer your questions.

This is because the CD-ROM gives precise (ostensive) definitions of terms.

Steve

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Paul,

Have you received/studied my article yet?

If not, I'm going to wait until you do, before I answer your questions.

This is because the CD-ROM gives precise (ostensive) definitions of terms.

Steve

No I haven't. I've been more than a little distracted by other things that are vying for my attention right now. I will order my copy and hold my questions until I have a better grasp of what you are talking about.

Paul

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  • 1 month later...

Is anybody there?

Folks, I would very much like to get some feedback on my JARS article.

Have people read it? Studied it? Watched the CD-ROM?

It does take a sustained effort to start getting what it's all about -- but I'm pretty sure if you make that effort you'll reap some very valuable rewards.

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Is anybody there?

Folks, I would very much like to get some feedback on my JARS article.

Have people read it? Studied it? Watched the CD-ROM?

It does take a sustained effort to start getting what it's all about -- but I'm pretty sure if you make that effort you'll reap some very valuable rewards.

Steve, I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive. I'm looking forward to it. I've been holding my breath until I can give you more focussed feedback.

Paul

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Is anybody there?

Folks, I would very much like to get some feedback on my JARS article.

Have people read it? Studied it? Watched the CD-ROM?

It does take a sustained effort to start getting what it's all about -- but I'm pretty sure if you make that effort you'll reap some very valuable rewards.

I read it. I thought it was a brilliant approach, mainly complementary and not contradictory to Rand's. I think I had some quibbles here and there, but agreed completely with the approach of rooting the "atoms" of emotion in what a baby experiences.

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  • 1 month later...

Although discussion on this topic is slow, this particular seed is deep and its roots are growing in my own mind. I had an insight at Blockbuster the other day and I want to register it here as a placemark for further development. I believe that the work on affects presented here will ultimately result in whole new approach to defining art. I noticed this on passing the horror film section. I though, "Why do horror films appeal so much to people?" Here was Rand's view ("What is Romanticism?" from The Romantic Manifesto, p. 113):

The Horror Story, in either variant, represents the metaphysical projection of a single human emotion: blind, stark, primitive terror. Those who live in such terror seem to find a momentary sense of relief or control in the process of reproducing that which they fear—as savages find a sense of mastery over their enemies by reproducing them in the form of dolls. Strictly speaking, this is not a metaphysical, but a purely psychological projection; such writers are not presenting their view of life; they are not looking at life; what they are saying is that they feel as if life consisted of werewolves, Draculas and Frankenstein monsters. In its basic motivation, this school belongs to psychopathology more than to esthetics.

Sorry. I can't go there. I just can't imagine that a consensual multi-billion dollar entertainment industry was built on people exercising their right to be psychos.

Here are the affects from Steve's article in JARS:

Interest-Excitement

Enjoyment-Joy

Surprise-Startle

Distress-Anguish

Anger-Rage

Fear-Terror

Shame (Deflation)

Disgust

Dissmell (getting away from something rejected)

Here are the film genres according to a Wikipedia article:

The following are some examples of well-established genres in film. They are often further defined to form subgenres, and can also be combined to form hybrid genres.

Setting

  • Crime - places its character within realm of criminal activity
  • Film noir - portrays its principal characters in a nihilistic and existentialist realm or manner
  • Historical - taking place in the past
  • Science fiction - placement of characters in an alternative reality, typically in the future or in space
  • Sports - sporting events and locations pertaining to a given sport
  • War - battlefields and locations pertaining to a time of war
  • Westerns - colonial period to modern era of the western United States

Mood

  • Action - generally involves a moral interplay between "good" and "bad" played out through violence or physical force
  • Adventure - involving danger, risk, and/or chance, often with a high degree of fantasy.
  • Comedy - intended to provoke laughter
  • Drama - mainly focuses on character development
  • Fantasy - speculative fiction outside reality (i.e. myth, legend)
  • Horror - intended to provoke fear in audience
  • Mystery - the progression from the unknown to the known by discovering and solving a series of clues
  • Romance - dwelling on the elements of romantic love
  • Thrillers - intended to provoke excitement and/or nervous tension into audience

Format

  • Animation - the rapid display of a sequence of 2-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement.

Target audience

  • Children's film — films for young children; as opposed to a family film, no special effort is made to make the film attractive for other audiences.
  • Family film — intended to be attractive for people of all ages and suitable for viewing by a young audience. Examples of this are Disney films.
  • Adult film — intended to be viewed only by an adult audience, content may include violence, disturbing themes, obscene language, or explicit sexual behavior. Adult film may also be used as a synonym for pornographic film.

This discussion actually belongs to aesthetics, but I want to register it here. Some of the mood genres like horror and thrillers seem to be much more geared toward prompting the audience to experience affects on a very primitive level than in presenting a view of life. Even Rand noticed this in the quote above.

Michael

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Ah, Michael, it gives me great joy to see how deeply this seed has been planted within you!

<<I had an insight at Blockbuster the other day and I want to register it here as a placemark for further development. I believe that the work on affects presented here will ultimately result in a whole new approach to defining art. I noticed this on passing the horror film section. I thought, "Why do horror films appeal so much to people?"

This discussion actually belongs to aesthetics, but I want to register it here. Some of the mood genres like horror and thrillers seem to be much more geared toward prompting the audience to experience affects on a very primitive level than in presenting a view of life.">>

It was Tomkins's position that affect and cognition are equally important to a well-lived life. And affect serves many functions -- it is the force that brings material to consciousness, it is the basic experience of "good for me" or "bad for me" (and therefore the innate valuing system).

If we define art as that aspect of human experience the purpose of which is to highlight aspects of existence and how they make us feel -- affect is a necessary component of art.

Tomkins identified four innate goals all humans have in the realm of affect --

to maximize the positive affects

to minimize the negative affects

to maximize the experience of affect

to gain knowledge that will allow for the attainment of the first three goals.

It is the third one that is most salient in art -- art has the aim and ability to move us to feel certain ways about certain things.

I believe, as I think you do, that affect provides a big piece of the answer to the question of how art works.

Steve

Edited by Steve Shmurak
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