Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

If You Must Feel Emotion, Do It Over There, Please

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I’ve called this little family meeting tonight because we have some important matters to discuss. Gregory, do not slurp when someone is talking; it’s both rude and unproductive. Now I shall have to start over, because I must make sure I was heard.

It has come to my attention that some of us – and at this point it serves no purpose to name names – that some of us have been exhibiting emotion. I need not tell you that such behavior is unbecoming of a member of this family. We pride ourselves on dispassionate evaluation of circumstances, followed by cool, deliberate action. Emotion has no place here. Belinda, cease your fidgeting. It distracts from the focus of the meeting.

It would be unfortunate enough if we had gathered to address mere presence in a room where emotion occurs; indeed, many times we have had to address just such a turn of events, but at least then, it was not a Hill displaying the actual feelings. The development we now face carries much graver implications, for it involves the actual display of feeling – apparently heartfelt feeling, which makes the problem even more serious – on the part of a Hill. We Hills simply do not do such things. That must be perfectly understood. Right action follows right thought. Your sycophantic nodding is unnecessary, Beatrice. If you are aiming for mockery, make sure it has literary merit.

I will be the first to admit that in my younger years I occasionally allowed myself an emotion or two. I once tried envy, and several times I even wallowed in affection. It did not end well. Remember that.

But at least when I did so, I merely felt that emotion. We are here to address not only the instances of emotion registering internally, but the absolutely intolerable external manifestation of those emotions. I wish to make clear once and for all that this shall not happen again.

I have read and learned about societies, families or other social groups in which emotions play a key role. I dismiss those societies and groups as I dismiss the relevance of ancient Polynesian medicine to our industrialized, modern milieu. We no more wish to love than to confront a mountain lion while armed with nothing but a stone-tipped spear. We Hills have evolved past that. Or so I thought.

Let us not confuse physical pleasure with emotion, though some people apparently do, only contributing to the problem. Appreciating the texture and aroma of a fine claret might cause some troglodyte to experience emotion, but the sensations need not foment such destructive forces. Beholding a Caravaggio or a Titian certainly conjures up associations and analytical considerations, but it is not a foregone conclusion that the masterpieces will sweep the viewer away in a wave of irresponsible feeling. It is only proper to acknowledge the debt one owes one’s parents, but to cultivate bonds beyond the merely functional can only detract from the true purpose and prosperity for which we must aim.

This meeting is adjourned. Edgar, you will stay behind for a beating. It will hurt me more than – no, let me rephrase that: I would prefer that this not become necessary, but it is, and we must now act accordingly.


Written by Thag

March 12, 2011 at 10:22 pm

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