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Why You Shouldn’t Trust Your Feelings

Why You Shouldn’t Trust Your Feelings


It’s easy to grow up with a sense that our feelings are reliable guides to ourselves, the people around us, and the world at large. We can call this optimistic thesis the ‘clear pane’ theory of the mind, iImplying that we are able to look out onto the world pretty much as if through an undistorted, and blemish-free pane of glass. Yet a long tradition in philosophy has sought to warn us of a far trickier truth. The school of thought, known as skepticism, that began in Ancient Greece in the third century B.C. proposed that a great many of our solid-seeming sensory first impressions should not be assumed to be accurate and must instead be submitted to the laborious process of rational unscrambling. Far from our minds being clear panes, they’re full of scratches, blind spots and warps. To be wise, therefore, means for the skeptics to strive to be permanently vigilant no matter how much we’re inclined to misunderstand reality by trusting our first feelings. One tiny instance of our distorting minds that particularly fascinated the Greeks was a strange phenomenon that occurs when a stick is partially submerged in water. It immediately seems as if the stick angles into a “V” just at the point where it meets the surface. But, if we pull the stick out, we’ll see that it’s of course, still straight. The skeptics took this tiny example as a gateway to a vast truth: that our senses are humbling fallible. The way things appear to us is often simply not how they, in fact, really are. Skeptical ideas were to be the leading force behind the development of modern science. In the middle of the 16th century, the Polish philosopher and astronomer Capernicus demonstrated that whatever our senses might have suggested to us for hundreds of thousands of years, according to logical reasoning, the truth is that the sun does not, in fact, revolve around the earth. But the skeptics weren’t only interested in the errors we fall into when doing astronomy– they were fascinated by our tendencies to fall into error in our personal lives under the influence of our emotions. For example, our minds are seldom free of the influence of moods: a kind of emotional weather that scouts over our mental horizons normally without us having any understanding of where these moods have come from, when they might lift, or even that they exist. However, these moods can have a decisive impact on our ideas. We might in one mood consider ourselves fortunate with a bright-lit future, and feel grateful to those around us. And then, a few hours later, without anything in the outer world having changed, another mood might lead us to a whole set of re-evaluation of almost everything about us. Devilishly, part of what it means to be subject to a mood is not to realize that we are in its grip. We simply feel that our friends, who we liked quite a lot yesterday, are no good. And our job, which once offered us so much, is absurd. Tiredness can be a particularly powerful agent that silently and invisibly perverts our judgement. The 19th century skeptic, Friedrich Nietzsche, remarked, “When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we thought we’d conquered long ago.” Though crucially, it’s extremely rare and counter intuitive to judge that it really might be tiredness that’s affecting our outlook rather than certain objective facts in the world. We are keener to conclude that we’ve suddenly developed a deep resentment against humanity that we urgently need to get to bed. Lust can similarly play with our judgement, leading us to see sensitivity, kindness, and a decent alternative to our current partner. But there is, in truth, just an exceptionally beautiful profile and perhaps not much else. As the German skeptical philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, wryly concluded, “Immediately after copulation, the devil’s laughter can be heard.” Appreciating how flawed our minds are forms the basis upon which the story on emotional skepticism is founded. This skill, defined as a cautious awareness of the misleading power of our feelings on our judgement Having surveyed the fragilities of our minds, the Ancient Greek skeptical philosophers recommended that we learn to develop an attitude of what they called “Epoche,” translated as “reserve,” or “suspension of judgement.” But where of our tendencies to error we were never to rush into decisions. We were to let our ideas settle so that they could be re-evaluated at different points in time and we were to be especially vigilant about the impact of sexual excitement and tiredness on the formation of our plans. For a range of historical reasons, we’ve collectively been extremely reluctant to recognize the benefits of emotional skepticism. The romantic movement of the 19th century bequeathed us that beguiling would often distract solution but it’s our emotions that we always find us guides to the truth. But we would’ve gone a long way to counteract the problems of our minds if we sometimes do ourselves the honor of not listening to our feelings. Instead, waiting for some unhelpful moods to pass and accepting that we are at heart, highly viscous bags of saline solution who stare out at reality via a highly unreliable and distorted pane of glass and must therefore frequently suspend judgement, moderate our impulses, watch over our diet, and strive to get to bed early.

Comments (99)

  1. Yes, unease.. and uncertainty..

  2. Interesting, I tend to think there is more than one form of non rational thinking. There is the knee jerk, and there is intuition for example.
    One is unhelpful and another can offer unseen foresight. You just gotta be able to able to recognise ,understand and compartmentalize the impulses to appropriately manage them.

  3. Facts, not feelings u gonna say?

  4. I find your videos interesting but I have a simple mind so I don't understand most of the words you use, are you on about gut feeling? Because that guy feeling has never let me down.

  5. Most of what the thinking mind puts out is bollocks. But it can be overcome by paying attention to what's actually happening. Although that sort of attention is quite demanding and most people lack the training for it.

  6. I liked it all up until “strive to get to bed early” lol

  7. I've spent my whole life suffering from anxiety and depression, and had to learn this in order to function. Now, in order to move ahead, I'm having to learn that what makes me feel fulfilled actually matters.

  8. I really like this video. It gave me insight on how my emotions are not always the trustworthy thing, and my thought process may not always be correct.
    But I left this video with a feeling of not being able to trust myself, until I realized that there is a good thing about not trusting your emotions. You are probably at your lowest when you are the most emotional, and that also means you are most creative when you are emotional. Creativity not only strives from inspiration from outside sources but inspiration of someone's deep self and someone's past experiences.
    I also think meditation is a very healthy thing to do when you feel emotionally overwhelmed and can't "see clearly." When you meditate, you are looking inside yourself and what is troubling you, making your thoughts a bit more thoughtful of what is bothering you, instead of an excuse brought onto you by your emotions. I don't meditate regularly, but I think I should now since it seems like a healthy and fun thing to do.

  9. This video helped me today.

  10. I have to say he does make good videos

  11. Furthermore, why one should not trust one's rationality. As it is often based on assumptions gleaned from minimal experience and limited imagination. See history again.

  12. Rationality is nothing more than a tool of the essentially emotional self.

  13. Thanks for reminding me of this obvious fact which I have to rediscover every single day. A more modest attitude towards our positive impulses may allow us to take the few steps back needed when confronted with harder times.

  14. I'm not what I seem.. I really an mentally ill old white man that has a jheri curl

  15. On a side note, how brilliant the ancient Greeks were!!

  16. ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR INTUTION.

  17. Knowledge, wisdom, and intellect are a fascinating trio.

  18. Feelings are unreliable because they are inconsistent. Truth is philosophy. Facts matter?

  19. Helpful hint: turn down the level on the background “nat sound”.

  20. I feel that school of life makes me wiser ahaha

  21. Trust your feelings and trust your intuition. This is a stupid fucking video. Nothing matters outside of yourself. This video has a very reductionist view on your own heart. All I do is trust my feelings and my intuition and I’m doing incredible things in my life. Question everything people. Especially the bs you find on line. Your opinion is the only thing that matters. Not the opinions of others.

  22. I love school of life but this one seems a bit misleading. Skepticism in philosophy was not only or chiefly about the unreliability of feelings. Skeptical traditions also talk about the unreliability of reason. This video (unlike others) is a bit on the reductive side.

  23. increase your volume

  24. Audio needs to be enhanced

  25. “Get to bed early..”

    I just finished it at 4am.

  26. Can something make sense to us in a sub-rational way which generates a legitimate and logical feeling, yet the feeling makes no sense to our conscious rational mind? If so, then yes, you can trust your feelings at times. Many people in cults can’t get out of the logic they are trapped in, but they know somethings wrong based on a feeling. I don’t believe feelings should be trusted implicitly, but they should also not be distrusted implicitly either. Lastly, the video makes the romantic era out to be a time when people lost their faith in reason. What if they were instead reacting to blind faith in rationalism, and they were attempting to bring it to a balance.

  27. My friend is stupid 😭

  28. Is that green guy an alien or something ??? 🌝🌝

  29. The problem these days is that we are so rushed into making our judgment. What it is is just sorting things according to one's belief which is not necessarily a sober observation of the world. In result, of course nothing gets really fixed and we just end up hating each other.

  30. Get rid of the distracting sounds. Excellent thought

  31. Could you do a video of the fear of being a ‘bad’ person, and what it really means to be one

  32. Copernicus only postulated a theory; he couldn't prove that the Earth spun without any observable or measurable proof.. in other words, you accept as 'science', something which fails at the scientific method.

  33. I suddenly remember the methodic doubt, that we shouldn’t trust our senses because it is unreliable.

  34. 3:51 and 4:55
    This video should be age-restricted

  35. I really like this channel but the fact that it most prominently references western works of art and ways of thinking is tiresome and narrow-minded. I would love it if more african philosophies were explored to present a more holistic multicultured worldview. Allowing viewers to make decisions that fit themselves instead of presenting one that may be most popular in todays culture.

  36. Watching this while I'm doing a snack raid of my fridge at 1AM, in an unstable mood. Now I've learned to not trust my emotions lol

  37. Bullocks..old thinking

  38. I have the opposite problem. I’m so skeptical that I’m unable to ever trust my own judgement.

  39. There are many people walking around who think their feelings and intuitions are totally correct and treat people in that manner rather than letting people express themselves. What is even worse people actually believe rumors and treat people according to what are usually lies.

  40. Whatever they're telling us: complete BULLSHIT!!! Excuse me, by now everyone knows that ONLY your feeling counts because this serves as a guideline with all the knowledge you have ever comprehended whereas your brain only processes around 15 % of the input.
    Ridiculous not to listen to your gut LOL

  41. Try telling this to a Gestalt Therapist. Great video BTW. I'm glad someone said it

  42. the video is so trippy that i cant focus on what he is saying

  43. No, I will take my feelings over that shit.

  44. Fuck that.. I trust my feelings

  45. I think this basically highlights the need to balance your feeling based thinking and your rational thinking.
    In a given situation, explore both options equally. Because sometimes our mind has a way of tricking itself and self sabotaging.

  46. in other words don't trust your disgust of slavery capitalism and the rich . JUST DO WHAT YOU ARE TOLD BY YOUR MASTERS . I have often wondered if the actor who does the narration for the school of life ever stops to think about the evil brainwashing he is party to .

  47. I feel brain-wracked

  48. Some peoples gut feelings are spot on first time every time. Some people have no instincts at all. You know which you are after a few fails or successes.

  49. ''''Why You Shouldn't Trust Your Feelings''''? i wish i actually could get this right- Too vigilant to search for this answer….

  50. ..And strive to get to bed early

    The most simple solution!!!

  51. Let your head rule over your heart. I think this video is one of the most important life lessons a person could learn.

  52. Summary: Our feelings are just a reaction to what's happening and not what's actually happening, i.e. despite no actual physical changes occurring in the outside world we view it differently from day to day depending on our mood at the time and thus our feelings cannot be trusted. Oh, and go to bed early. That's it.

  53. My duty is to my country god and family I am last

  54. Title should be "shouldn't always trust" or "shouldn't completely trust". Good lecture, however! Thanks!!!

  55. i just couln't watch this cause the visuals are making me wanna go blind

  56. Trust feelings i dont trust anybody let alone myself

  57. hey this video is good but the wordings are really difficult to understand can you lease use simple wordings

  58. I love these animations SO funny SO true..Ha,Ha,ha

  59. There's nothing like a good meal when you're hungry to lift your spirits.

  60. Mind judges. Feelings are always correct. Watch the mind judge this now.

  61. "The way things appear to us are not exactly as they are…"

  62. I think I found my thesis topic

  63. Ben kenobi would disagree

  64. The Bible said this eons ago

  65. The end of the video is a very good summary ^^

  66. I disagree with this video's title. There seems to be overlap between feelings and judgment in our minds but I don't think you should have to go so far as to not trusting your feelings. Sometimes having gut feelings is extremely useful and can potentially be life-saving. The examples they cite—such as not trusting our perception that a stick underwater is actually a curved stick rather than one sticking straight out—that has to do with our sensory perception rather than our intuitive feelings. Maybe "initial impression" would've been a better word. Humans are limited, but we are still intelligent. Our feelings don't just arise from nowhere.

  67. You should trust your feelings, no matter what consequences. It's what makes you a real person. If you don't, you will become a person with no integrity.

  68. The tiredness is true. And the lust!

  69. Considering it's 2:20am, the get to bed early advice, is about six hours too late.

  70. I don't trust my feelings, but do give me validation

  71. 👍 👍 👍 👍 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 👍 👍 👍 👍 Deep.. Insightful

  72. Feelings have always ruined everything for me in life….totally toxic

  73. I injured a guy punching him. I needed this

  74. Anyone watching this at 2am????

  75. The animated cartoons that go with these topics are hilarious!

  76. By the end it tells that we should strive to go to be early.

    Me watching this video at 11:55pm in the evening: 😐

  77. In a shorter furry term, Humans be animals?

  78. There are no wrong feelings. – Alan Watts

  79. Ive been running from my emotions so much, and what it did yo me wounded my soul, we are emotional beeings, theres no wrong emotion. If you feel the pain, stay with it, and ask yourself, when was thefirst time you felt this way… and then let go, and in silence magic happens

  80. Actual video of Why You Shouldn't Trust Your Feelings starts at 4'00

  81. Sometimes "gut feeling" is our 6th sense and emotions distort the red flags or facts that we knew from the start.
    Not relying on our emotions and letting it settle for a while is a self discipline that takes practice and a lot of skills.

  82. thanks school of life, your videos helped me a lot in my life. i hope if you can make a video about "how not to be doomed by your own mind"
    thanks a lot, best wishes for all the team that works to do such an amazing job.

  83. What a pile of your understanding dumped here.

  84. This is very interesting, but was hard to hear the narrator at times because of the background musid and sound effects. It retracts way too much from the message of the video..

  85. who do u want me to trust condom???

  86. I Love your shows! So well done, thank you!

  87. Accepting that we are at heart highly viscous bags of saline solution who stare out at reality via a highly unreliable and distorted pane of glass and must therefore frequently suspend judgement, moderate our impulses, watch over our diet, and strive to get to bed early”

    That’s me screwed then! 🤦🏻‍♀️

  88. Ur devil… Shake!

  89. Learning the difference between an external stimulus and my reaction to it is a skill I'm currently working on. This doesn't necessarily mean ignoring or pushing away my feelings, but rather noticing and acknowledging how I'm feeling, while simultaneously recognizing that it's just a feeling and that it's not caused by the slow car ahead of me, but, instead, my own reaction to it. This is how we gain freedom from our emotions without denying them.

  90. Trust ur feelings no matter what!!!!

  91. Never never never trust those feelings they say! I put on a jacket when I'm feeling cold, I loose the shirt when I'm hot. These sensory receptors have always worked well for me!

  92. I promise to get to bed early, starting tomorrow.

  93. I love this animation.

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