Emotion (from Latin: ex "out" and motio "movement, excitement") is a state of violent excitement of man in which feeling and willing and almost the entire body with all its organs is involved. Unlike pure feeling, the astral body and especially the I are loosened and moved a little out of the body, whereby the person partially loses control over his soul life, similar to the dream experience. The astral body, insofar as it remains more strongly connected to the body than the I, gains dominion over the mind with its unbridled, libidinal power. Emotions, like feelings, can run the whole scale of pleasure and suffering, of joy and pain, of sympathy and antipathy, but as a rule they are experienced more intensely than feelings. It is precisely through this intensity of experience that the higher members of man are loosened. The more highly spiritually developed a person is, the stronger the feelings he is able to experience without them turning into uncontrolled emotions through which the I loses fully conscious control over the life of the soul. He is capable of emotion regulation and can thus influence the strength and duration of the emotions himself. The third subsidiary exercise, which trains the equanimity of feeling, is particularly beneficial here.
Depending on the defining distinction from feeling and sensation, emotions can also be only slight, subtle stirrings that do not have to be distinguished from feeling in the experience. If, for example, an uneasiness rises in the soul during an encounter with a person, this would accordingly be an emotion, and the (often only unconscious) perception of this emotion would be described as the feeling.
From a neurobiological point of view, emotions are complex, largely unconscious automatic actions, ranging from facial expressions, gestures and body posture to changes in the internal organs. „Feelings of emotion, on the other hand, are composite perceptions of what is going on in our bodies and minds when we have emotions.“ (Domasio, p. 150)
- Antonio Damasio: Selbst ist der Mensch. Körper, Geist und die Entstehung des menschlichen Bewusstseins. Siedler, München 2011, ISBN 978-3-88680-924-0