Archives for October 2007

Thinking, Feeling & Meaning Making

Have you met a Telempath?
Question posed by Sujatha Das on LinkedIn

While reading an article, I came across this statement – “Empathy and telepathy are difficult to separate since emotions stimulates thoughts and thoughts stimulates emotions. Telempath is a term for a person that senses and interprets emotions and thoughts as a unified concept.”

Was interested to know your thoughts on this statement?

Have you come across such a person in life?

Have you had any experiences in this?

More of a deliberation mode and sharing thoughts please. I am not looking for a specific answer here, but trying to understand this concept myself.

This answer by Ashley Guberman was selected as a “Good Answer”

Trying to distinguish between thoughts and feelings can be very difficult in English culture because we are very loose with how we use both words through language.

Take a look at this diagram on Meaning Making

We become aware of something through our senses (see, touch, smell, hear, taste).

That triggers both thoughts and emotions at the same time.

We think and evaluate what we sense as part of making meaning of our environment.

We may also have an emotional response to the stimulus.

It gets messy because our emotions influence our thoughts, and vice versa.

Thoughts are in the neocortex of the brain and emotions are in the amigdala, but both are equally real and important.

Then what on earth is a feeling? While perhaps overly simplified, feelings are Mad, Glad, Sad or Afraid.

There are hundreds of feeling words, and a brief sample can be found here: Feeling Words

The point is that “feelings” are the combination of our thoughts and our emotions together, both influencing the other. Based on the quote from your question, we could all be considered “telempaths” to some degree. However, the goal is neither to unify our thoughts and emotions, nor to pull them apart from each other. Instead, it is to have a basic awareness of the relation between thoughts and emotions, to recognize how one influences the other, and to be in a position to choose how to act based on whatever is most appropriate in the moment. The goal is to increase our ability to choose our actions rather than being led by instinct alone. That does not mean denying instinct or analyzing every move. Instead, it means increasing the range of responses we are able to make – increasing our response-ability.

As a simple exercise to see how mixed up thoughts and feelings are in our language, try listening for the phrase “I feel that…” If you hear the word “that” as a feeling, then chances are pretty good that it’s not a feeling at all, but is rather a thought or opinion. For example, if somebody asks “how do you feel about…” and the response is “I feel THAT we should wait,” then what is the feeling? At the risk of reducing it to mere semantics, feeling words are more likely to be in the form “I am” as in “I am afraid,” or “she was enraged,” or “he was happy”.

I am happy that you asked your question.

I think that both thoughts and emotions are equally important.