Leadership Development for the Bold

The False Promise of Feeling-Based Consciousness

Feelings are juicy. They can be sexy and alluring. Terrifying and provocative. Sometimes they do this all at once. They quietly whisper promises to you day and night. Yet, beyond the intoxicated states of emotions, they rarely deliver over the long term. When feelings dissipate, they are gone. Why is it then that many people unknowingly find themselves bowing to their feelings? They turn away from their discursive intellect and pour their trust in their felt-senses and intuitive feelings. We could argue that they are just immature. Yet people on the cusp of some of our most complex stages of development exhibit this trend.

To yield greater insight, you and I briefly look into development beyond autonomy. We glance toward human elegance. But first, autonomy...



Your autonomy is largely a mental identity. While the body maintains a powerful influence at all stages of development, highly autonomous functioning can be thought of as a differentiation away from the body and emotions. Governance is more cerebral, discursive and intellectual. And, as you likely know with great intimacy, autonomy often is often consumed in its own discursive medium.

Yet, development beyond autonomy involves a movement away from the exclusive use of cerebral functions to govern the self's conduct and decision making. In part, this is due to the linearity of discursive discernments. They become too slow for the emerging intelligences within elegance. Autonomous narratives take too long to constellate. They become too limited in their integrative scopes. Development does supersede the mental chatter that once exclusively defined the self and identity. As a result, the mind's meaning-making is no longer fixated within discursive phenomena. The intellect's activity becomes just one source for information.

However, this differentiating movement away from the discursive intellect is often clouded with confusion. Without a clear understanding of the territory ahead, many instinctively turn towards their bodies and feelings as a new orienting reference point. One of the pervasive traps many adults fail to navigate successfully—sometimes for decades—is this movement toward the body, feelings, and intuitions at the exclusion and expense of the discursive intellect. This false substitution privileges feelings over thinking.

When thought, reason, historically or creatively governed narratives and the like are seen as being less valuable many problems enter into your life. When this happens you largely stop talking about what you think. Instead, you prefer discussing feelings. Intimacy gets exiled into the realm of feelings. You tend to collapse the diversity of relating into a myopic focus on giving people the experience of feeling seen and/or heard and you are likely knowingly or unknowingly demanding a similar experience for yourself. A narcissism resurfaces where others are responsible to give you the experience of feeling accepted and supported. This false substitution is capable of holding you back. While these can feel like gifts at first, when you stagnate and flounder in feeling tones, felt senses and emotional states without an overarching direction beyond connecting emotionally, life can easily take turns for the worse.

A more extreme version of this substitution involves a stripping of all value from thinking, concepts and discursive activity. The intellect is executed. Its mental phenomena is interpreted as merely a resistance to feelings. This exaggerated substitution is dangerous. Theoretical constructs are criticized and stripped of all value. You tend to police the people around you to get rid of their tendencies to intellectualize any facets of experience. You can become organized against theory altogether. The exception, of course, is the ideological constructs underpinning the critiques of theoretical constructs you are unknowingly committed to.

Both the devaluing of the intellect’s movements and the slaughter of theoretical and intellectual intelligences are common substitutions attempting to masquerade as more developed ways of functioning. Unfortunately, when you are ensnared in this cage you often will not increase in mental complexity. Meaning-making remains stagnant at best. At worst, these attempts to differentiate from the mind’s intellectual functions fuel a regressive movement. These substitutions for elegance misguidedly fragment your nervous system. It drives a wedge between thought and feelings. Imperial emotional states and socialized allegiances functioning in the emotional brain continually spring up. Guiding yourself on feeling states is foolish at best and dangerous at worse. Without overarching discernments from the intellect, couples often become signals of stunted and immature adult minds, not elegant human beings.

Do not get ensnared inside this substitution for a larger, more complex mind capable of greater influence in your intimate relationship and our world. The autonomous mind's attempt to possess dimensions of functioning that reach beyond it always involve fundamental distortions. The divorce between body and mind, thinking and feeling, thought and emotion is a costly one. It is a shift away from the integrative capacity elegance demonstrates.

Ultimately feeling more connected is no substitution for being interconnected emotionally and mentally.

Thank you for reading & Please share this blog post now. Thank you for supporting my passion to help evolve our many cultures and our precious world. 

All my best, 

Rob McNamara
Author, The Elegant Self & Strength To Awaken
Elite Coaching for Elegance :: www.RobMcNamara.com

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