The Engineer’s Baby – Emotions

I’d like to talk about emotions today, because a lot of people don’t understand them. As a scientist and engineer (yes, both) I study everything. What the heck are these “emotions.” First off, let me tell you what they are not. There is no background environment for emotion. In other words, if the tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it… nobody cares either. If you feel happy, it isn’t because the background level of H+ is high, it is because your mind/body interaction decided on happy.

But not to focus on “simples.” If you feel that you should wear a nice outfit to work you have made a decision. It is actually an intellectual decision. You have weighed factors such as Dress Code, Peer Approval, Comfort, Desire to Display Status, and built a matrix. Then you weighted each of the factors – dress code is important, so x2, Peer approval is about the same as comfort, maybe status gets a X3 when you know you will see the boss… I don’t control your weighting factors, but maybe you don’t either. In the end, you build a matrix with these values, for each of your outfits on the bottom, and the ranking of each outfit depending on the weight factors across the top. Then you EMOTIONALLY adjust each of the weight factors. In the end, you chose an outfit. You FELT like wearing the suit on Tuesday. You FELT like wearing jeans on Friday.

Ok, so picking out clothing is actually a complicated intellectual endeavor, but so is everything. Emotions are how we determine our responses to complex inputs. Which is why Geeks exist. Why are geeks poor at social interaction when they have the same ability to use emotions as everyone else? Because most of us in the science fields have a “better” use for our emotions.

You have seen me make a number of predictions and discussions on the blog. I have spend my life applying the emotional matrix to scientific problems. Our minds walk down the mathematical paths, but figuring out which path to travel is a guess. Our history, thousands of hours of research, tens of thousands of hours of experience, and our specific knowledge from the problem at hand suggests multiple solutions. I am rarely given a problem with only one solution, often the problem has dozens, but I can usually FEEL which solution is going to give the better answer. I can feel when a project is doomed, because people are choosing low probability of success options. I can feel when a project is BS because the science/politics ratio crosses 1. It basically feels (to me) like a bad relationship. One side is doing all the romancing, the other side is reading porn on the internet.

Yes, any scientist could cure his lack of social skills with a bit of study, but frankly the insanity of the “normal” people make it hard. People make all sorts of decisions with … poor … understanding of the reasons they are making them. People are frequently irrational, showing out, uneducated, or simply unintelligent. Trusting people usually ends up biting you in the ass. It is easier to satisfy your emotional needs with an interesting scientific problem than to deal with people.

So, I’ve been married – twice – and still trying to make the second one work. The strains of kids in college, high school, and diapers doesn’t help. (Or the fact that I tend to marry crazy women, something I’ve had to come to grips with.) I’m still trying to raise my current baby right. How much should she depend on those weird “social” emotions, that women speak so highly of. (And then weirdly complain about, as if society was stuffing those emotions down their throats.) My older daughter appears to have escaped, I may ask her advice. Despite the fact that she is an artist, she appears to be sane. Maybe some level of geeky-ness helps.

In any case, here is a picture of my bundle of joy. She decided to get up at 3 am last night, she looks none the worse for wear. I think I do: wide staring eyes, exhausted. (oh, thats Pinky Bear, not me laying there dead on the floor, I guess I’m not that stylishly dressed.)


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