25 May 2009
More love, more real: a history of feelings
"One day my father laughed and corrected me. Everything snapped into focus. It's one of those unforgettable moments that happen as a child, when you discover that all along the world as been betraying you."
"Just as there was a first instant when someone rubbed two sticks together to make a spark, there was a first time joy was felt, and a first time for sadness. For a while, new feelings were being invented all the time. Desire was born early, as was regret. When stubbornes was felt for the first time, it started a chain reaction, creating the feeling of resentment on the one hand, and alienation on the other. It might have been a cirtain counterclockwise movement of the hips that marked the birth of ecstasy; a bolt of lightning that caused the first feeling of awe. Contrary to logic, the feeling of surprise wasn't born immediately. It only came after people had enough time to get used to things as they were. And when enough time HAD passed, and someone felt the first feeling of surprise, someone, somewhere else, felt the first pang of nostalgia.
It's also true that sometimes people felt things, and, because there was no word for them, they were unmentioned. The oldest emotion in the world may be that of being moved; but to describe it-just to name it - must have been like trying to catch something invisible.
(Then again, the oldest feeling in the world might simply have been confusion).
Having begun to feel, people's desire to feel grew. They wanted to feel more, feel deeper, despite how much it sometimes hurt. People become addicted to feeling. They struggled to uncover new emotions. It's possible that this is how art was born.
New kinds of joy were forged, along with new kinds of sadness. The eternal dissapointment of life as it is; the relief of unexpected reprieve, the fear of dying.
Even now, all possible feelings do not exist. There are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination."