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The Interpreter

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Happiness and love. Two themes that are inseperable throughout the vast majority of all stories, whether old or new. For those of us who come across these concepts, what do they mean to you?


'Happiness' and 'love' like all other words, are a combination of symbols arranged in a horizontal manner to relay meaning. This is a vast part of the difficulty in communicating. In our minds we bear witness to the influences of hormones, apparently ruled by something we call 'emotion'. What, then, is 'emotion' and how can we define it? When do you FEEL?


Say your partner cheats on you with someone.


Genuinely, sit there and contemplate you are going through it right now.


How would you feel?








Due to the information you received, your brain responds by flooding your system with hormones. This is more than simply the fight or flight response, because your life is not directly at threat here. Perhaps you are having the response because this is the anti-thesis to your concept of 'love' and of 'happiness'. That solidity that you had, that brief construct of permanency, changes before your very eyes. Is the purpose of emotion, then, to throw us around from pain to pleasure, and vice versa?


We cannot know the meaning of the words of others. It is only them who experiences what they feel, and it is them who place the labels of 'love', 'anger', 'hate', etc. on their internal experiences. My concept of 'love' is very different to yours because my past is different, and because my internal scenery (brain chemistry and neurological make-up) is different. Arguably, my internal scenery is different due to inheritted traits and due to my perceptions of the world. Are those two indistinguishable? Do I inherit my perceptions, or are they learned? It's the old nature vs. nurture argument. We don't all end up like our parents, do we? Eitherway doesn't really matter in this case.


The fact is that there is a part of us which interprets our experiences... the information from our senses as well as the flow of hormones. It is the difference in interpretation that makes us individual and our consciousness which is simply aware of what our condition is at any given moment. I would postulate, therefore, that our meaning of concepts is individual too. Just as you cannot truly know if someone sees the colours in the same way you do - one man's green could be another's yellow and there is simply no way to know the difference. No way at all, other than direct experience of the other person's perception. So 'love' and 'happiness' are as different as they are to each of us.


Generalisations can be, and usually are, made. 'Love' for example is frequently used in experiences of mating, companionship and service. It can also be linked to certain hormones. Yet, the experience of it still remains with the witness, the interpreter, the individual. So let's list a few actions that are associated with 'love':



Mutual enjoyment


Strangely enough, I am actually stumped. I cannot think of anything more to add to the list which wouldn't be a variation of what's already there.


Actions and emotions directly affect each other. The actions of ourselves and others have an impact on our emotional state. Emotions themselves have an impact on our actions... for if you are feeling happy do you not want the whole world to know about it? Or, if you are lonely, do you not seek the company of others or wallow in your solitude? Our actions and our emotional state are clearly interdependent. This creates an interesting model. A feedback loop.


Two variables in the equation are related to each other. This means that if you do 'loving' deeds, you will impact your emotional state for the 'better'. If you do 'un-loving' deeds you will impact your emotional state for the 'worse'. Similarly, if you feel 'loving' you will do 'good' deeds and if you do not feel 'loving' you are much less likely to do 'good' deeds. The relationships are clear, there exist both constructive and destructive cycles.


In these linear relationships it is evident that once you are on one path you will continue along it - being either destructive or constructive. By no means is this a new idea. It is perhaps as old as human thought itself, or may even predate it. Cause and effect. Or if you prefer, karma. Although by no means the only application: do good and be happy, do evil and be unhappy. But who is the judge of what is good, bad, or even happy and unhappy?! Quite simple. It is you; the interpreter; the individual. Your upbringing has brought you this far and has shaped your values and beliefs. It is also you who determines how you are affected by your emotions, how you decide to feel at any one given moment.


The elusive happiness and love, therefore, are not a consequence of external and internal manifestations. They are your choice.


Yours in humility,


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