Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fear of Feeling Good

I came to know about this from a site that actually sells treatment for this phobia.It is surprising to find that such a kind of thing exists.Want to know more read on.Fear of feeling good is known as Hedonophobia in medical terms."Hedonophobia" is derived from the Greek "hedone" (pleasure, delight) and "phobos" (fear). Other words derived from "hedone" include "hedonism" (a philosophy that emphasizes pleasure as the main aim of life) and "hedonist" (a pleasure-seeker).

What is it?

An abnormal, excessive, and persistent fear of pleasure. Sufferers with this typically feel guilty about experiencing pleasure even though they usually realize rationally there is nothing at all wrong with taking pleasure. Their guilt usually arises from the fact that they are participating a pleasurable activity while others around them or in the world at large are experiencing nothing but illness, grief, economic hardship and other painful problems. Their guilt may also arise from the belief that life is best lived ascetically (similar to the idea that, for a medicine to do good, it must taste bad).

Where does it come from?

Like all fears and phobias, fear of feeling good is created by the unconscious mind as a protective mechanism. At some point in your past, there was likely an event linking feeling pleasure and emotional trauma. Whilst the original catalyst may have been a real-life scare of some kind, the condition can also be triggered by myriad, benign events like movies, TV, or perhaps seeing someone else experience trauma.

But so long as the negative association is powerful enough, the unconscious mind thinks: "Ahh, this whole thing is very dangerous. How do I keep myself from getting in this kind of situation again? I know, I'll attach terrible feelings to feeling pleasure, that way I'll steer clear in future and so be safe." Just like that fear of feeling good is born.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Fallacies of Emotional Appeal

What is it?
Emotions and thoughts are states of one’s mind. They are information going about in our brain, not physical objects. Hence, they in fact cannot exist in the normal, physical sense of buildings, people, planets and air. They exist only in the sense of culture produced by us, the sense in which numbers or, more generally, mathematics, can be said to exist.

Consider a soft drink ad. There is very little marketing that can be done for soft drinks based upon facts alone. If they were advertised solely on facts, we'd hear that they are sweet and carbonated and that's about it. That doesn't make you want to run out and buy any, does it?

So, marketers create much more interesting advertisements by linking the drinks to comforting images or home and family, or to sports and recreation. The implication is, you can enjoy similar feelings in reality by consuming their product.

This is known as Appeal to emotion which is a type of fallacy of relevance. In simple terms we can define it as "An appeal to emotion is a type of argument which attempts to arouse the emotions of its audience in order to gain acceptance of its conclusion."

Its Forms

Appeal to Fear

The emotional appeal of religion is strong. It is appealing to think that there is some sense of cosmic justice where good is rewarded and evil punished. It is nice to think that in the afterlife, those who suffered unjustly will be rewarded and that there is a heavenly war trial where all those who have been responsible for willful and major human suffering would face their ultimate comeuppance. I think that it is this emotional appeal that keeps people faithful to religion.

But atheists know that no such cosmic justice exists. The fate that evil people ultimately face is the same as the fate that anyone else faces, and that is death. If this is the one life that we have, it becomes clearer that our obligation to ourselves and to others is to make sure that it is the best it can be, so that everyone had a chance at a decent life.

Appeal to pity

A familiar type of emotional appeal is the appeal to pity or sympathy, which is used by many charities. Photographs of crippled or hungry children are shown in order to arouse one's desire to help them, with the charity trying to motivate you to write a check. However, there may be little or no connection between your check and the poor children you wish to help. Certainly, your money will probably not help the specific children you see in such appeals. At best, it may go to help some similar children who need help. At worst, it may go into further fund raising efforts, and into the pockets of the people who work for the charity.