Monday, September 26, 2011

Emotions V. Feelings

The difference between Emotions and Feelings appears in the prerequisite for what makes an emotional state versus what makes a feeling. To have an emotion is to have a reason for that emotion, i.e., I am happy because I had a good day, or I am sad because I have had a bad day. To say that I feel happy or sad but I don't have a reason or don't know what my reason is would be to simply have a feeling. I feel happy, or rather, the emotional state that I am in reminds me of happiness. There is a necessary difference between these two when speaking about music. Because music cannot possess an emotional state (the music cannot be happy or sad because it does not possess the consciousness to be happy or sad), we are simply speaking metaphorically when we say whether it is happy or sad, i.e., "The music is upbeat, and it makes me feel happy" or "The music itself is not happy, but it reminds me of when I feel happy, so I feel happy by listening to it". The language used here is very important to understanding the difference between emotions and feelings, especially in relation to music, and contributes to the overall understanding of how we can distinguish that which can make us react a certain way from that which possesses the inherent quality of being that reaction itself.

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