Do our feelings change based on our whole lives experiences?


We all know that our feeling changes from time to time. I am wondering if our feelings are related to our whole lives experiences. Genetic also could affect our feelings but lets put that aside. So aren’t we machines when it comes to feelings?


My machine body has prayed to God and through spirit has received peace on occasion. No, not machines, an amazingly complex and wonderful physiology combined with soul, both.

Yes our feelings change through repeated exposure to stimuli but we are so much more than that.


So what form our feeling if that is not our lives experiences? Do you have anything in your mind?


When some saints have experienced ecstasy I would say that what they are experiencing is the Holy Spirit impinging on their minds to such an extent that they are temporarily subsumed. That is external and internal combining in an amazing way. That’s the product of the brain and external spirit interacting.



Feelings, sadly, have come to rule us, our opinions of things, our priorities, our assessments of matters.

A solid priest I know said. “feelings are like dogs; they are good; God made them, like He made dogs, but like dogs feelings need an owner, the intellect and the will. They need to be kept on a bit of short leash.”


In this context when you say feelings do you mean emotions?

Is that suggesting that we keep emotion separate from intellect?


Yes, God can affect our feelings. Do you have anything else except life experience which can form feeling?


There are I think basic feelings (emotions) which are genetic, archetypes we are blessed with in the womb if you will. Such can lead a baby for example to feel love or an immediate affectional bond with the mother. These are too early to be based on exprience, maybe.


And genetic aside?


You have lead me up a blind alley dear stt…

I can’t think of any feelings (emotions) which are not genetic.

Are you asking if any emotions are spiritual and distinctly separate from the brain?


I am wondering that why my feeling changes over time? We are simple machine if our feelings are the result of genetic and life experience. I don’t see any other option.


Feelings can change because they become altered by exposure to new stimuli and can change temporarily due to the temporary exhaustion of neurotransmitters. That’s not a big issue.

The big problem is seeing yourself as a machine or simply as an organic structure which imagines God etc.

I can tell you that God is real, no doubts. Our spirit relies on our body and our body relies on our spirit, after death of the organic body our spirit separates and lives on and it is probably the essence of all our life’s experiences, and from what I have read it also has some capacity for emotion too.


Emotions/appetites/feelings: Yes.

Our intellect and will are what make us: “in the image and likeness of God”.

They are supposed to be superior faculties, above/beyond our animalistic faculties, such as our appetites.

They both should be “ordered to the good”, helping the person come to know the good (intellect) and to do the good (using our will).

Our appetitive senses however must also “serve the good”.

They are good things…as I said God gave them to us as humans, but they can (owing to Original Sin) be habituated to not serving the good (over drinking, over sexing, “immorally sexing”, over eating, uncontrolled anger, pride, lust, distracted attention spans, etc.).

So it’s up to us to practice ordering them to the good, tempering, jerking their chain a bit now and then, fasting, delaying, denying, etc.

This doesn’t at all lead to a dour existence, in fact, it leads to true joy and freedom, since a properly tempered and mortified person won’t be slaves to their feelings and appetites. When we become slaves to our senses, then we can’t give of ourselves in true love. We’re constantly distracted serving our appetites in one way or another! Our intellect can become clouded…not knowing the good any more…and our will can become dull and weak, not able to pursue difficult goods.

Takes practice, takes the Sacraments, takes beginning again, little by little wins.

But eventually a mature Catholic can become more self-possessed of their appetites, and can more constantly be serving God and others, because their feelings/appetites/emotions have been properly mortified/tempered.


Joy is a feeling, but a positive one of course.

I agree, we should develop a higher self which can lead our base self toward peace in Christ. Subdue negative emotion and redirect the energy toward those necessary to fidelity to our faith and love of God.

The only thing I would say is that we are taught by Our Lord to love God with all our being and to love our neighbour as ourselves. The word is love, an emotion, the intellect driven by emotion produces thoughts and actions which lead us to be loving. We seem to have to become excellent tightrope walkers balancing these conflicts born of our underlying nature.


No, joy is far more than a feeling. Today’s secular world calls joy a feeling, and that’s why so many people are unhappy! They don’t understand what joy or happiness really are.

Joy involves the whole soul; it’s our response to the possession of a true good.

Love is not an emotion. Love is a decision of the will to bring good to another.

God sometimes gives us a nice feeling of consolation when we love…but not always. He allows us to be tested, to purify our intention in our actions. Is it purely out of love for Him that we do good things, or is it because we expect some sense of consolation from some action.

Love is far more than a feeling. And that’s another reason why marriages fall apart…the couple assumes that love is a feeling. They think love is feeling. It’s not.


You’re talking about a different kind of love.

STT is concerned that we are simply machines.


Perhaps so. I was talking about both agape and filial love, which includes what the modern world might call romantic love as well, all of which is subsumed by the self-giving love of Jesus on the Cross.

So I was using the Catholic Church’s definition of love.

What sort of love were you referring to?


I don’t see how you can separate emotion from love. Love cant be just an intellectual exercise to have meaning it must contain more of yourself and that comes from emotion.

I don’t think I’ve ever loved without emotion.


Well if you’re not willing to separate emotion from love, consider this.

Is it love when a mother wakes up nauseous, sleep deprived at night to feed her new born child, when she has zero sense or emotion of elation accompany her actions?

Of course it is.

So emotion is not a necessary component of love.

The highest love may not be accompanied by any good feelings…and in fact may be filled with feelings of aversion and effort!

Sometimes God grants us “consolations” from our acts of love…and sometimes He doesn’t.

He wants to see if we understand the real essense of love which is “kenosis”, self-emptying for the good of another.

We need to rehabilitate the understanding of love to the world.

Love is not a feeling.


I’ve done things for my children without feeling great wafts of emotion too, and Ive done those things because I know that I love them emotionally but that at that particular moment I may not feel love because I’m tired or stressed etc. The emotion of love is never far away though and it’s the knowledge and memory of that which has become entrenched enough within my mind that spurs me on to act regardless of emotional input or not.

I have also done things for others out of charity without feeling emotional love for them at that moment because it’s inappropriate or unnecessary but I know that on reflection it was a feeling of love an emotion which underlies the charity.

We may have to agree to disagree I think.

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