… though in a modified fashion. Went a full 100+ miles on Saturday, and about 50 today, so the total is still what I promised. It was an interesting ride. I was by myself, floating in and out of riding conversations, with plenty of solo time to stew over philosophical questions (like, “Are there any emotions which aren’t in some way pleasurable?”).
Thanks again to all those who supported the MS ride.
I guess it might depend on how you define the concept of emotion (as distinct from, say, affect). What about guilt, shame and fear? I would think that other stuff has to be going on in one’s psychical economy for these, if they qualify as emotions, to be in some way pleasurable (as they indeed are, probably more often than we typically realize), such as a need for punishment (including Freud’s unconscious variant) or enjoyment in the sense of power over oneself in subjecting oneself to circumstances which induce such emotions. But I’m not sure how, in themselves, they are pleasurable. Intrigued by the question and hope to hear more from you about it.
Glad you enjoyed the ride.
I agree there has to be other stuff going on. But then, in order to have any emotion at all, I think there has to be a lot of stuff going on. No such thing as guilt in a vacuum, I always say. Does the other stuff have to be a specialized need/drive/desire for that emotion, such as a desire to be punished? There I’m not sure. For both Spinoza and Nietzsche, there’s a kind of inertial principle at work: for both, a feeling sticks around until something else overpowers it. That “sticking around” is the success story of that particular emotion or subunit of drives, and that success means feeling of power = joy. In other words, emotions seek to perpetuate themselves, and that self-perpetuation could be described as a state in which part of me wants to persist, and that is a behavioral definition of a pleasurable state.
It also seems to me that when one regularly feels shame or fear or guilt, one gets used to it, and might miss it, in a way, if it disappears. But that’s perhaps less than “pleasure,” and just habituation.
Now that I think about it more carefully, it rather seems that satisfaction or pleasure (or some better term for it [the german lust?]) is perhaps built into the very operation of both guilt and shame. If conscience is a function of internalized aggression (or the heir of the Oedipus Complex [cf. “Economic Problem of Masochism”) and shame involves regarding oneself as falling short of a standard with which one identifies (“Wer sich selbst verachtet, achtet sich doch immer noch dabei als Verächter”), then it’s not hard to see how they marshal satisfaction/pleasure/whatever. “In morality, people treat themselves not as an individuum, but instead as dividuum” (HH1, 57; cf. GM 2.18). There’s always something in us exercising its power as the judge or measurer of how we stand, and this involves pleasure/satisfaction in the enactment of those functions over some other part(s).
Nicely put. Combining this insight of Rob’s with my reply to Shaun over on “Spinoza’s trip to the zoo”: does getting over an emotion mean having to admit you made a mistake? And isn’t that always a trifle unpleasant?
Maybe the sheer demands of social coexistence require admission of a mistake to accompany most instances of “getting over an emotion” when the emotion has negatively impacted others. Maybe the admission serves as a way of reassuring others that you’re not merely an unreliable conduit of forces over which one has no control. Not that we aren’t in fact such conduits, but just as “the feeling of duty depends on our having the same belief in regard to the extent of our power as others have” (D 66), and this shared belief might an illusion, so perhaps social existence requires the shared illusion that we can ‘vouch for ourselves as future’ (GM 2.1) when it comes to emotions.