It is too much already! Feeling! Let’s focus quickly on what we mean. We start by distinguishing between sensation and that which is more. Sensation we reserve for a kind of feeling which is usually limited to the five senses and does not include preference. An additional distinction will get us close to what we want. By sensing we generally only refer to the contact with external objects. But what of emotion, mood, passion, etc.? We might speak of internal sense–my sensation of my own condition related to my relation to externals. But hunger and sexual arousal are not emotion, mood, passion. They still lack preference as I mean it. And now we are at feeling as I want to tackle it related to production. I want to talk about the way I feel that is related to my preferences.
Examples? A comprehensive account I will not provide. Joy is union with what is preferred. Hope is progress toward what is preferred. Confidence is progress toward challenges blocking progress toward what is preferred. Suffering, despair and fear are opposites.
Feeling is something in and of itself. I am not a reductionist. But, its most important value is its informational content. The information which feeling (as I mean it here) provides is information about me. The Oracle at Delphi, which Socrates’ reports revealed his status as “He who is such that no wiser can be found” contained inscribed above its temple entrance “KNOW THYSELF”. I submit to you that there is no more valuable information about your own self than the data you receive from the way you feel engaged in certain contexts.
Feeling, maybe exclusively, is tied to action and rest. And it can be divided between the pleasurable and painful broadly conceived. Joy motivates rest with that which it is related to. Despair motivates rest with what is related to. Fear motivates movement away from what it is related to. Suffering motivates movement away from what it is related to.
Enough. Maybe there will be more on feeling later. In some ways feeling is everything. Aristotle says that anything is a combination of matter and form. If so, feeling is the matter of the soul. It is the task of thought to extract the form that such feeling takes. It is thought and later choice that must decide on changing or maintaining shape and form.
Production is an activity, which means it is a trade in quest of profit. One sells one’s current position in exchange for something better. So, production, even artistic production no less than production related to trade, is always movement away from what is less-preferred toward what is more preferred. That is necessarily at the beginning.
What is in the middle? The middle is a significant period. What is in the middle is labor. Labor is almost by definition painful. It is the exhaustion of savings (energy, resource), and exhaustion is a loss. This should not be contested. There is suffering in labor.
More particularly in soul-shape artistic production the worker and what is being worked on are the same materially. I want to say, formally, they are not the same. But what is important is that the matter is the same. The shape causing the change and the shape being changed are materially the same. If we were to meditate on this my sense is that it would be repulsive. What I mean by that is that Reason/Understanding, which goes in for meditation, would not be able to hold before it the content of self as both producer and product. Understanding has to separate cause (producer) and effect (produced). What understanding encounters is at best paradox. And understanding is repulsed by the paradoxical.
In addition, soul-feeling is the product of a shape, and that shape, like any other form of being, seeks its own continued status as being. It does not wish to be changed. Let me be clear: the matter being worked on is a soul-shape of feeling that does seeks to be preserved in being. The operation on it by the formally distinct producer is seen by it as an attack. Its response is defense.
The above is an attempt at analysis of just why it is so hard to break addiction. And let us expand the notion of addiction as broadly as possible. Any part of my soul shape which desires excessively in feeling to any external object and demands it above what it should be demanded is addicted. The addict does not want to change. The addicted soul shape does not want to change.
The formally distinct self that seeks to effect development of the form of its misshapen soul material will encounter resistance. It will feel like war. War takes many forms. There is outright attack. There is guerrilla warfare which ultimately leads to a kind of terrorism. All of this happens in a single soul.
We must wrap up. When going in for a beautiful soul the soul, which is full of a single material feeling, must be distinguished formally between producer and product. The self will under go what feels like attack and be the attacker. Death and rebirth can be treated physically or psychologically and it is an open question which is the more real. For the self, development involves death and rebirth. The new more beautiful soul shape that is born will be the product of suffering and death of the old less beautiful soul.
Becoming is so intense, rich, deep.