Worshipping Lali

We do not feel emotions

We do not feel emotions as much as we are bent into shapes by open-ended territories of feeling. Affective states are not individual events, quarantined within human bodies, lining up with predetermined neural networks that track unto recognizable physiological manifestations. Instead the “things” we call “emotions” are principalities and powers at large that enlist bodies of all kind in their mattering. Affective assemblages. Large territorial beasts with human bodies as organelles.

To feel is to glow; it is to be activated at the crossroads where politics, expectations, stories, bodies, furniture, media, food, spirits, computational frameworks of neoliberalism, history and microbial worlds intrasect. Decentering humans from the story of feeling relieves us from the burden of emotional authenticity, and might open up post-qualitative research adventures to the edges of sentimentality. More importantly, it can tell us a lot about the territories we are entangled with, and how habitual modes of feeling can often get in the way of our flourishing. In other words, in our search for the unusual, for the unspoken, for sanctuary, we must keep in mind: the new may not feel right.

  • Kathryn K. on October 7, 2020

    Heard Dr. Akomolafe’s talk on the Sounds True website. Now I am very curious and wanting to learn.

  • Austen on January 3, 2021

    It is true that humans have thoughts, it is also true that thoughts have humans. – heard this on the Rune Soup episode in which you were a guest, and this is really on point with that sentiment

  • Lkeesha Jackson on February 24, 2021

    This is a wonderful approach to exploring and knowing ( in terms of experience) what is the essence and what are the possibilities of our emotional experiences. What is familiar territory what makes us uncomfortable in it’s unknown qualities. Decentering the human: as a self indentified sensitive being, you may naturally have to adopt this framework because you are literally sensing things related and unrelated to your personal life experiences. It helped me with guilt and shame that I had claimed because of my emotional experiences. What fields are present how have we as a collective contributed to them? How can we have more awareness when they find a home in us or our relationships? Are we in an empowered or disempowered position or state of being? Side note why do most who consider themselves intellectuals seem to be repulsed by the presence of emotions and their influence or power or proposed value? The denial of this presence seems to be a hindrance in our ability to navigate and to get the under or inner workings of our life, our world, our reality. Anywho, just thinking not sure if that makes much sense. Thank you for sharing what you explore and ponder.peace

  • Colette on May 9, 2021

    Almost by definition, it seems it will not feel right. Also these words this way of being with feeling and emotions reminds me of the work of Lisa Feldman Barrett, a neurologist who writes a beautiful book about how emotions are constructed rather than simply accessed. Thank you, as always, for your beautiful words.

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Falling might very well be flying – without the tyranny of coordinates.