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subjective, conscious experience characterised primarily by psychophysiological expressions, biological reactions, and mental states
The strangest and most fantastic fact about negative emotions is that people actually worship them. ~ P. D. Ouspensky

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.


  • EMOTION, n. A prostrating disease caused by a determination of the heart to the head. It is sometimes accompanied by a copious discharge of hydrated chloride of sodium from the eyes.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • You know, the objective of all of the acting classes really was for you to show how you feel, and not to be clever and not to show all the tricks you could do a lot of people came there with some experience and a lot of times they would bring whatever tricks they had, to be entertaining to the classes. The teachers wanted to strip all those away, and say, "No, could you be emotionally honest onstage?" The first stage of emotional honesty, or at least the resistance to being emotionally honest, is to be angry. When anger doesn't work, you try crying. But those are all just defense mechanisms to shut off how you actually feel about everything. We all build these sort of walls to keep ourselves from showing our true emotions, because they can be seen as weaknesses.
  • Dolphins read each other’s emotions by sonar and it’s the inside of the body, the configuration of the viscera, that lets dolphins know whether the dolphin they are meeting is tense or happy. Their emotions are much more connected with the insides of each other’s bodies. We don’t have that. It’s like denying 90% of what we are physically, not knowing it.
  • I'm not actually sure if guilt is an emotion. In fact, that was - at the very beginning of this process, we realized, man, we really don't know very much about the subject. So we better do some research, and we started looking around online. We found some scientists think that there are basically three emotions. Others went up to 27. Others had 16. Some were in the middle. So we were kind of left with no definitive answer to our basic question - how many are there? Dr. Paul Ekman, who worked in San Francisco - still does - which is where Pixar Animation Studios is - he had, early in his career, identified six. That felt like a nice, manageable number of guys to design and write for. It was anger, fear, sadness, disgust, joy and surprise. And as I was sort of doodling, I was thinking, surprise and fear - probably fairly similar, so let's just lose surprise. And that left us with five.
  • In this unexpected scenario, the UFO occupants -- despite their obvious technological superiority -- are desperate for both human genetic material and the ability to feel human emotions -- particularly maternal emotions. Unlikely though it may seem, it is possible that the very survival of these extraterrestrials depends upon their success in absorbing chemical and psychological properties received from human abductees.
  • "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
  • What does the average teacher of psychology mean when he glibly rattles the words "fear", "rage", "anger", and "sex-emotion"? Almost any literary light of the Victorian era, if asked to define these words, would have answered, readily enough : "They are names for emotions possessing distinctive conscious qualities, experienced by everybody, every day. These easily recognized, primitive emotions constitute the very backbone of literature." I submit that the backbone of literature has been transplanted intact into, psychology, where it has proved pitifully inadequate. The whole structure of our recently christened "science", in consequence, remains spineless in its attempted descriptions of human behaviour. Most teachers of psychology, it would seem, are still unable to define these time-worn emotional terms with greater exactness or scientific meaning than that employed by literary men of the last century.
    Nor can the average teacher be blamed. Theorists and researchers upon whom the teacher must depend for his scientific, concepts have written many hundreds of thousands of words on the subject of emotions, without attempting definite, psycho-neural descriptions of a single basic, or primary emotion. On the other hand, nearly all writers seem to accept the old, undefined literary names of various "emotions" without question ; each writer then giving these terms such connotation as they may happen to hold for him, individually.
  • 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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