Positive and Negative Emotions


The emotion of DESIRE
The emotion of FAITH
The emotion of LOVE
The emotion of SEX
The emotion of ENTHUSIASM The emotion of ROMANCE The emotion of HOPE

There are other positive emotions, but these are the seven most powerful, and the ones most commonly used in creative effort. Master these seven emotions (they can be mastered only by USE), and the other positive emotions will be at your command when you need them. Remember, in this connection, that you are studying a book which is intended to help you develop a “money conscious- ness” by filling your mind with positive emotions. One does not become money conscious by filling one’s mind with negative emotions.


The emotion of FEAR
The emotion of JEALOUSY
The emotion of HATRED
The emotion of REVENGE
The emotion of GREED
The emotion of SUPERSTITION The emotion of ANGER

Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time. “—Napoleon Hill, “Think and Grow Rich”

What a fascinating book.

There is a saying that love and fear compete for the same place in your heart. This might be like saying that there are two primary emotions, and all other emotions flow from them.  Of course, this is a lot like saying “there is one story and all others are versions thereof” or “there are two stories” or “ten stories” or whatever.   The divisions are not real, but hopefully, they are useful ways of looking at something ineffable.  Rather than debate how many there are, it is more useful to ask what happens if we look at something through a particular lens.

If Desire, Faith, Love, Sex, Enthusiasm, Romance and Hope are all positive emotions, they can probably all be wiggled under the umbrella of “love”.

And if Fear, Jealousy, Hatred, Revenge, Greed, Superstition and Anger are all negative emotions, they can probably all be wiggled under the umbrella of “Fear.”  In other words, I’ve yet to see an angry person where that anger didn’t connect to direct or indirect fear—that is, fear for something that might happen to them personally in the future, or fear for something bad happening to someone they empathize with.    I’m sure that in some cases I’m “wiggling” an emotional label under that “umbrella” for the purposes of simplicity, but it really does work.

In the Filipino martial art of Kali, there are said to be six “angles of attack”. They care less what the name of the technique is than they do the direction from which it is coming. This simplification allows you to react with lightning speed, which makes those arts excellent for developing that “slow motion perception” which is one of the Holy Grails of the martial arts.

The ability to look at ANY negative emotion and ask “what am I afraid of?” or “what is HE afraid of?” or “what are THEY afraid of?” can be leveraged gigantically.   Not only do you gain insight into yourself and others, but also current events and history.  Tactics can be evolved instantly: change body language, look for ways to comfort the angry person, seek to address righteous grievances.

Some people, for instance, refuse to consider that terrorists might have actual real motivations for their actions.  I suspect that this is partially because they feel “if I understand their perspective, I’ll be unable to respond with instant violence.”  Well, frankly, sometimes instant violence is necessary. And it DOES require a professional’s mind to both see an enemy’s humanity and pull the trigger, so there is some truth there. But frankly, most of us are not required to act with instant reflexive violence. We not only have the ability, but the obligation to think these things through.

The trick is that you can understand why a human being selects the tactic of instilling fear into an opponent through violence as a means of achieving political aims, see that they have real grievances, and also be willing to do what is necessary to protect yourself and your family. In other words: kill a terrorist and ALSO address the conditions that birthed the anger and fear.   It requires some non-dualistic thinking, which requires being “awake”, but it is worth it.

There are acts of violence that stem from simple cruelty, and anger that stems from insanity, but far more mistakes are made by assuming these things are caused by dozens of different, disconnected, irrational motivations than by simply asking: “what is he/what are they/what am I afraid of?”

If you love yourself (remember principle #1?) you get faith and hope.  Which gives you the calm to see through the static of an angry confrontation, see their humanity, and ask: “what would it take to provoke this emotional response from me? How would the world have to look?  How much pain would I have to be in?”

Suddenly, you and the angry, violent person are not aliens to each other, but two human beings having a human experience, as billions of others have in the past. The actions and events are not separate from the rest of our history, but simply another example of it.

There is no need to assume inferiority, intrinsic evil, or anything else.   Nor is there a reason to be weakened by compassion.  Loving yourself opens the door to loving others, which opens the door to understanding human psychology and history without guilt, blame, or shame.

And THAT…is a door to wisdom.




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