Emotion : The Blind Man And The Elephant Essay

2235 Words Nov 26th, 2016 9 Pages
Emotion is one of the most difficult aspects of the human condition to explain in its totality, yet its existence is thought to be one of the most fundamental parts of being human. The study of emotion has taken many forms, shifting the focus from facial expression, to language, to cultural history and beyond, varying not from discipline to discipline, but also from person to person. Strictly speaking, though the vague idea of emotion as a conscious experience of feelings resulting from situations and producing actions is generally agreed upon, the true essence of what emotions are and how to account for them scientifically remains uncertain. Trying to capture emotion is often alluded to being like the blind men and the elephant – with each individual only being able to catch an aspect, but never the entirety, of the thing we wish to describe (Russell 2003). Within anthropology, the main contention has been on whether the nature of emotions is universally the same in all humans, whether culture creates and construes the emotions felt by an individual – an argument which this essay will initially draw out and then collapse as it reconsiders what 'emotions best understood ' really entails. This will be achieved through the consideration of two ethnographic examples and a third textbook example which will serve as a proxy for how anthropologists consider the study of emotion in our own culture, elucidating that anthropology must reconsider its methods if it wishes to…

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