About Emotions #5 – Emotions Are Kinda Like The Christian Church…

I know I promised you some posts on the science of emotions, but I had no idea just how difficult that would turn out to be. The problem is that is there is virtually no agreement on even what are emotions, let alone categorizing them. It’s kind of like the Christian church. There are currently about 39,000 different versions of both. No one seems to be able to decide what emotions are or what the words of Jesus mean.

The Simple One

One theory about emotions is that we feel five or six different kinds of emotion, like anger and amusement, and that each emotion is wholly different from all the others. Another theory is that we feel two opposite emotions, like pleasure or displeasure and excitement or calmness, that are mixed to form all of our emotional feelings. I want to stop there with all the theories and hone in on some graphics that might be the most usable for understanding all this stuff.

The simple version

This graphic shows eight basic emotions. To me, anticipation and trust just don’t seem to fit that well, but the other six are OK. Maybe, instead of disgust, I would use the word disappointment, as that is one of my biggies. But, I think it is too simple to describe such a complicated concept. So, let’s move on to the next one.

The middle of the road.

The Middle of the Road

This one doesn’t make much sense to me. It tries to link different emotions with each other. You could take the center to be the primary emotions, and then the outside petals to be subcategories, but it just seems redundant.

The first version is simple, while this version just seems to complicate things. I need something with more sophistication.

Btw… If you want to see a larger view of these graphics, just click on them.

The complicated (but necessary) one

The Complicated Version

I know one of my current foundations in life is to simplify, but for this study I think complication is necessary. This one just speaks to me. It starts out with seven basic emotions and then as you move to the edges of the circle it shows subcategories, and sub-subcategories.

This one is the most complicated one I could find, but I think it does the best job of cataloging emotions. But, then again, maybe the author just couldn’t decide so he/she included EVERYTHING.

I like the list of the seven core emotions, but think the one entitled “Bad” is kind of nondescript.

This graphic will suit me well for this series. For each post in the series, I will likely start out the core and then create examples of different ways that emotion can manifest itself.

I’m sorry that this post ended up pretty boring, but I kinda got a better understanding of just what emotions are and how complicated the can manifest themselves. Let’s discover those complications in some future posts.

2 thoughts on “About Emotions #5 – Emotions Are Kinda Like The Christian Church…

  1. Interesting charts. The last one pretty much covers the universe. 😉 Over the years (and with several therapists), I was always told that emotions are neither good nor bad…they just are. And it’s our job to feel them, because if we don’t, they will come back up later in ways we might not want to experience. One therapist likened them to the coil on an electric burner. They collect when bottled, and one day they can start a fire. All this to say that while I too like the most complex chart, I struggle with the category “Bad.” Looking forward to more of your thoughts on this topic.


    1. Thanks for the insight, Laurel. It sounds like your experiences would be valuable during this series, so I hope you stick around to give more insight.

      Right now, I don’t yet know just what direction this series will take. All I can really do is to look at emotions from my understanding of life. Where that goes, no one knows. 🥴


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