Emotions are the last stronghold of our humanity. Each episode of Stories of Emotional Granularity explores one emotion from multiple perspectives.
26:25With sehnsucht, there is a sense of something that’s on the edge of conscious awareness. It can be like remembering that you’ve forgotten something, but without being able to remember exactly what it is that you have forgotten. Another version of sehnsucht is the feeling that a certain place or object holds within it some potential for a better life, without understanding explicitly how that improvement might take place. The transformation we seek through sehnsucht is in a sense something that’s already in our hands, if only we could realize how to activate it.
Resources of Emotional Granularity
19:59This week on Stories of Emotional Granularity, I want to do something a little bit different, but something I’ve been meaning to get to ever since the first season of the podcast last spring. I want to share with you some of the resources I have used to identify some of the many emotions that I’ve listed on my web site and begun to describe here on the podcast.Let’s celebrate the work of Lisa Feldman Barrett, Tiffany Watt Smith, Tim Lomas, and others who are articulating the many distinct emotions that cultures around the world work with.
55:53We are lucky to find happiness when we can, and the best we can do is appreciate moments of happiness while they last, because just as we do not have to power to compel true happiness to arrive through force of will, we cannot prevent happiness from fading away in time. Perhaps the secret of happiness is that happiness is not something we can achieve. We can make happiness more probable by setting the groundwork for it to arrive, or we can make happiness less likely to occur, but the most we can hope for is to shift the odds in our favor. No matter what we do, happiness is never guaranteed. Sometimes, happiness happens to happen, and sometimes it doesn’t happen. The difference is a matter of luck, of happenstance. Perhaps we will be happy. Perhaps we will not.This episode features reflections on happiness by authors Michael Hofeld, Richard Currier, Michael Connolly, and Ethan Gallogly.
55:26This week, we will be talking about anxiety, because anxiety is real. Anxiety is equally as true as happiness. Anxiety is inescapable. Anxiety does not go away if we stop talking about it.What’s more, in our time, anxiety is growing. It is spreading like the darkness of winter.I can’t put it more simply than this: Something feels wrong.Guests in this episode include anthropologist Richard Currier, an accountant named Laura, ayahuasca guide Jonathan Schwarz, entrepreneur Adam Baruh, and researcher Kristen Donnelly.
42:12In natural ecosystems, wildfires burn through a landscape, destroying much of what has grown up there, but in doing so, leave behind the nutrients and open space required for new, fresh growth to begin. The occasional disaster here and there enables the presence of an ecologically diversity, rather than the simplicity of a well-established ecology that is uniform as a result of its stability. Just so, feeling burned out can be a precursor to change, although it comes before the beauty of fresh green new growth.This episode features reflections on burnout from Eric Christiansen, Eleni Poulous, and Miriam Bekkouche.
39:57Sadness is murky. It makes the mind unclear, unable to perceive positive emotions. It’s the feeling of wrongness that reinforces himself.That sense of wrongness within sadness can develop into a feeling of being broken, as if there’s something malfunctioning in one’s self or in the world that is bringing sadness into existence. Feeling sad isn’t at all unusual, however. It’s a central part of the human experience. Sharing their perspectives on sadness in this episode are psychologist Melissa Green, authors Karol Ruth Silverstein and Ian Williams, Extinction Rebellion activist Todd Saddler, and ayahuasca guide Jonathan Schwarz.
Gender and Emotion
1:18:38In a new episode of the popular cable TV show And Just Like That, it’s proposed that “Men are dumb with feelings.” Is that true?This podcast episode considers what we know about emotion and gender. What does the gender imbalance in this podcast’s guests suggest about the relationship between emotion and gender? Should I adjust the design to compensate, and restore gender balance? This episode explores the available research on the subject, focusing on some of the studies cited in a powerful chapter by Leslie R. Brody, Judith A. Hall, and Lynissa R. Stokes, in the 2018 fourth edition of The Handbook of Emotions, edited by Lisa Feldman Barrett, Michael Lewis, and Jeannette M. Haviland-Jones.
24:09Emotionally, having arrived feels like the proper ending to a story. Our arrival seems like a culmination of all our efforts so that all our problems are solved. Of course, that’s not how life really works. Often, we find that the place we’ve arrived at isn’t what we expected it to be. It begins to feel more difficult to remain in that place, as new needs arise, and new problems have to be solved. Having arrived doesn’t preclude further journeys ahead. This episode features the insights of Regina Lark, Adam Baruh, and Savannah Hauk.
21:39The pleasure that people find in work doesn’t follow any kind of universal formula. There’s no recipe for arbejdsglaede that’s going to work for everyone, because different people have different kinds of work that requires different skills and different forms of dedication. Guests in this episode include Brandy Agerback, Eleni Poulos, John Pabon, and Ranelle Golden
42:47Flow isn’t static. Change is an essential aspect of what flow is. Water that just sits there doesn’t flow. It’s stagnant, and flow is about creativity, not stagnation. Flow simultaneously allows us to dive into creative process and to connect the ideas within our work to tangible patterns built through our physical senses.