Emotions are the most intrinsic parts and parcel of humanity. There can be no man who is emotionally void.
We, including animals, all feel different emotions: hate, love, envy, anger, grief and euphoria. Emotions are the key forces that segregate us from information processors such as computers. The conflict between the heart and mind is legendary, and it shows that emotions are as important as logic. Without emotions there can be no knowledge provided the knower values the knowledge. Did not the naked Archimedes yell “Eureka” to express his emotions on having discovered the reason behind the displacement of water in the bath. Yes, what is of utmost importance is the emotional response to knowledge. Even animals such as lions and tigers can be trained by a trainer provided these animals have emotional propensity and concern for the trainer.
And if not, we know that “one can lead a horse to water, but cannot make it drink.”Emotions as a powerful way of knowing can affect other ways of knowing too. For example they can cloud our reason; make us biased to someone; hate others, and use derogatory language to give vent to our innate feelings. Like the two faces of a coin, emotions are edifying as well as chimerical. They can be a source of knowledge but an obstacle to knowledge as well.
While writing this tok essay my mind winces to think what will happen if this essay is not given a good grade. And this emotional fear or curiosity can deviate me from my pursuit of expressing my views lucidly. Thus, emotions play both positive and negative roles. They can boost a student to climb unprecedented heights and also propel him to commit suicide. This reflection raises an inquiry: are our emotions trustworthy always? Can we pursue our quest of knowledge wholly influenced by and based on emotions? Through this essay I will assay whether we can trust our emotions with respect to other areas of knowledge such as history and human science.
History is an area of knowledge that plays a momentous role in our quest for knowledge. It is said that out future is built on the pillars of the past, and that in order we have a glorious future we need to unravel the past layer by layer. History gives us a keen insight into what happened in the past and opens new avenues and dimensions so that the mistakes of the past may not be repeated in the future. Can it be said for sure that history won’t repeat itself? We have knowledge that the most fateful wars in the past were caused by the whims and egos of individuals.
Some wanted to deify their race while others their domination.And today we understand that it was human foible only that led the dictators amass more power as no one dared to stop them. Emotions help us to understand history minutely. The researchers and historians have deep knowledge of the past because they feel the force of knowledge through the power of their emotions along with other ways of knowing. Since history is deep buried under the recesses of the earth, a historian has to rely on other tools as well: experience, imagination and others sources: primary and secondary. This is the reason it is said that history is part myth part reality and part hope.No history can be a true replica of what had really happened as it is written by a human who can be easily misled by bias, prejudice, discrimination and deliberate motivation.
We have had several accounts of the thirty-year war that was waged in the Holy Roman city between 1618 and 1648. It is not surprising to find that the Catholic Historians eulogized their warriors while the protestant ones sang accolades to their martyrs. And we do not still know who were the real heroes of the war: the catholic or the protestant warriors!But what will happen if a historian writes his journal influenced solely by his emotions. Will he be able to do justice with the historical accounts? No.
I hope not. In the absence of any concrete evidence as to what really transpired ages ago the historian can take a number of liberties, and distort the facts to his ease and convenience. In the field of history emotions can play a detrimental role as they can lead us astray easily because the claims of the historians may not be based upon evidence. The reason: the historian may follow an emotional approach contrasting the cognitive approach that is based upon information, analysis and knowledge formation.