as far as we know all thought is embodied – it doesn’t have existence outside our bodyminds, and it’s completely bound up with the functioning of our hormones, endocrine systems, neurology – our moods essentially. Yes there are a computers that can do fantastically complex calculations but can we really say there are thinking? So thought is always an emotion, always an expression of will – something has to motivate it, others it wouldn’t happen. And that applies even to the most purified and rigorous and seemingly transcendental thinking on the part of philosophers, mathematicians, astrophysicists etc etc.  Somewhere in there, motivating it at the deepest level, there is a drive to mastery, to knowledge and understanding and curiosity, to achievement, to status etc. So I don’t think there is any such thing as pure thought. Or at least the exercise of this pure kind of thinking still depends on energies and motives that are irrational or maybe better to say, pre-rational or outside reason.

And it’s impossible to be a moral being without emotion -  ideas of justice don’t have weight or traction without the idea of compassion or retribution. Compassion has the word passion in it, empathy has ‘path’ which  relates to the Greek word ‘pathos’, whose meanings include suffering, experience, emotion. All moral rules are based on ideas of value – and a value-judgement is emotional, it takes as its basis some kind of idea related to the value of other people, of human flourishing, kindness, protection etc.

 

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