Emotions… Meaningless? Meaningful? Does it matter?

Deep, dark and sometimes overwhelming, the human compulsion to seek revenge is a complex emotion that science has found incredibly hard to explain. Despite popular consensus that “revenge is sweet”, years of experimental research have suggested otherwise, finding that revenge is seldom as satisfying as we anticipate and often leaves the avenger less happy in the long run. New research is adding a twist to the science of revenge, showing that our love-hate relationship with this dark desire is indeed a mixed bag, making us feel both good and bad, for reasons we might not expect.

Psychologists sometimes use the terms emotion and mood interchangeably, but there are important differences, as evident in the current paper. Emotions usually relate back to some clear and specific trigger and can be intense but are often fleeting. Moods, on the other hand, may come about gradually, last for an extended time, and are often of low intensity.

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In this study, Eadeh and colleagues used sophisticated linguistic tools along with a standard mood inventory to tease apart the differences in self-reported emotions after reading a revenge-related passage. This analysis replicated previous findings that showed reading about revenge put people in a worse mood, but it also found that the same experience was capable of generating positive feelings. (1)

Live the moment.

Seek eternity.

Is there a difference?

Feelings. Mood. Trapped into a cosmos with no sense, we are trying to find a way. Sad people. Happy people. Ephemeral moments.

Sitting by the shore. Along with the waves. Not thinking anything. Feeling. For no reason at all. A tear comes into my eyes. Along with an absent minded smile…

The breeze is chilling.

But I don’t want to go inside yet…

I like it here.

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