Emotions are complex psychophysical processes that evoke positive or negative psychological responses (or both) and physical expressions, often involuntary. Emotions are often related to feelings, perceptions or beliefs about elements, objects or relations between them, in reality or in the imagination. They typically arise spontaneously, rather than through conscious effort. An emotion (reaction or state) is often differentiated from a feeling (sensation or impression), although the word feeling can mean emotion in some contexts.


  • "I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me."
    After a pause full of intense thought on my part, I asked: "But if one hasn't always emotion. What then?"
    "Do not paint," he quickly answered. "When I came in here to work this morning I had no emotion, so I took a horseback ride. When I returned I felt like painting, and had all the emotion I wanted.
    • Henri Matisse, as quoted in an interview with Clara T. MacChesney (1912), in Matisse on Art (1995) edited by Jack D. Flam, p. 66
  • People who think they can control their negative emotions and manifest them when they want to, simply deceive themselves. Negative emotions depend on identification; if identification is destroyed in some particular case, they disappear. The strangest and most fantastic fact about negative emotions is that people actually worship them.
    • P. D. Ouspensky, in The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution (1950), Fourth Lecture, p. 70
  • Western psychologists accuse religion of repressing the vital energy of man and rendering his life quite miserable as a result of the sense of guilt which especially obsesses the religious people and makes them imagine that all their actions are sinful and can only be expiated through abstention from enjoying the pleasures of life. Those psychologists add that Europe lived in the darkness of ignorance as long as it adhered to its religion but once it freed itself from the fetters of religion, its emotions were liberated and accordingly it achieved wonders in the field of production.
  • ...hunting of a beast, inventing of an instrument, laying down the foundations of a new system of economy, setting up a new form or government, kindling a war, or making peace. All these activities of man depend upon his intellectual ability. Emotions creeping in cannot but spoil them.

  • The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts: the less you know the hotter you get.
    • Bertrand Russell, as quoted in Selling : A Behavioral Science Approach (1966) by Joseph Wilmer Thompson, p. 197

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