How Emotions Are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett

“Your experiences are not a window into reality.”

One of the first things people learn about me is that I am colorblind. Once someone knows this, without fail, they point to their shirt or nearest object and demand to know what color I see. It’s funny and a little annoying. I’m not going to go into specifics here, but I can see color, I simply have difficulty distinguishing a few colors.

But it’s when you get philosophical about color that people’s minds start to melt. Color only exists in your mind. It must be observed to be a color. That’s why when you turn off the lights, you don’t see color. Now, I know someone can counter with a more scientific response, but essentially, that’s the nature of color. It needs to be observed to exist.

In fact, that’s everything. Everything transpires in our minds, not in reality. When I see something, the light strikes my eyes, which through a combination of electrical and chemical reactions, make an image in my mind. That is the only reality that exists.

I know, this sounds a bit farfetched and new-agey but it’s logical.

In How Emotions Are Made, I learned how our emotions are not simple, innate reactions to the world around us. They are actually constructed individually, socially, and culturally. Furthermore, how emotions. In fact, emotions are our reality.

This is a book backed by some comprehensive scientific research and great read. It definitely felt long and a little inaccessible for me. I didn’t start getting into the book until halfway.

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