Now? Does emotional education itself change?
From the older site, a new one is emerging, maybe a blog as the learning moves through different ages and different forms of expression. The process does not seem to change, the expression. We now use many more pictures and videos than we did even ten years ago. We know words (and other forms of communication) convey meaning but of course they also show feeling, nuance, notions belonging to their context. The reader and the writer may be in tune, or they may not understand each other, and worse, either may think they do understand, and be simply making assumptions.
What is Emotional Education? Our emotional know-how is experiential, what is experienced, it is our life, our adaptation to our world. Emotional states can be good, bad, indifferent, by the chance of a good experience, or the mischance of bad. Whatever they are, we can learn.
Pay attention to it, and the probability for good experience, for resilience improves.
There is so much that is known about our minds, our feelings, our emotional states, our development, our thoughts, our language, our creativity, it is totally crazy how little attention we pay to this wonderful creation, our own emotional worlds. “Education” is not intended to be therapy or counselling, though any good therapist or counsellor will also enable emotional education, as one’s mind is opened to change. It is just – learning – then do what you will with the knowledge you have acquired.
Emotional education is learning what you can, where you can, by paying attention to emotion, and then its affects, effects, and manifestations in thought and cultures and everywhere. The education is not about expressing feeling, nor hiding or repressing, it is about learning through being curious, becoming interested, and finding out what it is, here, now, that emotion is about, with all the information and help from others that is available. Self education, and life education without paying attention is unlikely to help emotional learning, as it is equally likely to encourage any prejudice or bias you already have. Learning by chance encounter in groups busy with other topics may not get you very far. Pay attention. Find another person, a critical friend, a class if one exists, and learn together, listening, feeling, and asking, asking, asking…what on earth was that about?
There is likely to be some laughing, maybe some crying, or quarreling. Why not? Pay attention, laugh with compassion, don’t care too much about the crying, it is just another kind of information from which to learn.
The words used for the education process are many and varied, some are far too ‘cheap words’, some are jargon, not false but you have to be educated to be educated. Also, you may not like what you learn. Possibly it is difficult to bear, possibly this is why the attention is seldom paid, possibly this is also why the reality of emotional learning is often distorted, made bright and easy, and then is found unsatisfying.
Use of Self
Look these up – they all imply much the same thing but each can be cheapened. I remember one of the first people from whom I was lucky enough to learn: Hanna Segal. In 1992, she wrote: ‘Popularization can be only too easy … [make] disturbing discoveries seem anodyne, deep and complex thought appear easily understandable and acceptable when sufficiently watered down. … a far more daunting task, that of making ideas understandable without denuding them of any of their meaning. … not avoiding what is disturbing and not making superficial or easy what is deep and complex.’ [Anderson, R. (Ed.) (1992). Clinical Lectures on Klein and Bion. London: Routledge, foreword]
Critical judgement is part of Emotional Education. It is not ‘touchy feely’ or ‘gratification’. Look for the learning, and the satisfying “click” when a concept, previously heard about, slots into place, making sense.