A lot of this is being influenced by the Chinese philosopher Dai Zhen, who spent a lot of time trying to construct a moral philosophy based on empathy, and who argued that the Cheng-Chu school had erred in viewing feelings and emotions as things to be removed to get at one’s inner goodness. I’ve been starting to read more of Dai Zhen.
But one of my observations is that by labelling some feelings as “bad” that society has done itself a massive disservice. Why is it that anger and hate get expressed in Jerry Springer rather than at the ballot box? Why is it that lust gets expressed in one-night stands rather than in Shakesperan sonnets? What seems to have happened is that society has developed a split-personality in which feelings are expressing themselves in ways that are not terribly constructive or pretty.
Part of it has to do with corporate mentality. Corporations and bureaucracies hate feelings because they are powerful and unpredictable. I’ve worked in one, and they only want you to be passionate about things that they consider “safe”, and if you actually believe and care about something, they really consider that dangerous, and there are all sorts of social controls that come into place. The powers that be really want people to be angry watching Jerry Springer. Having people be angry at their health care, or the fact they are being exploited and drastically underpaid, well….. That’s too dangerous….