Most if not all people are unequipped to deal with the feelings life bestows upon us. While we have the ability to figure out ways to cope with our environment, we are less successful in coping with emotions. The term “emotional intelligence” suggests this is something we can measure and work on but I think that we as a species we are deficient in this area.

In terms of coping with matters like fear, anger, jealousy, humiliation, greed or disappointment, we are like skinless animals left out in the cold. And while we have the intelligence to create heat shelter and body coverings to keep warm, we do not have emotional intelligence to ward off unhappy feelings. The best we can do is deal and carry on. We try to figure out if our responses and reactions are sensible or kind or whatever, but don’t feel much better until something resolves. We use mechanisms like faith, reason, distraction or withdrawal but these tactics help only to an extent.

Some time ago I took an emotional intelligence online quiz, answered about 150 questions and scored 61%. In exchange for revealing personal information and possibly a fee, the quiz offered me training to improve, but I chose not to.

I wonder how many of you would do significantly better or worse or if the quiz was rigged to give everyone a mediocre score.

When Does Process Become Substance?

render of a four step lifecycle flow chart

I ask this question as a layman, not a scientist. Whatever the distinction between process and substance means to experts, to me this distinction predicts the way we will experience life.

Process, is ongoing rather than coming to an end. It is about form. Process is about how we go forward.  Substance is completed and present. It is a result. Substance is consequential.

A message sent by a messenger on a sailing ship in transit for days or weeks and a tweet sent to a large audience in seconds illustrate the difference between process and substance. The message takes time, but the tweet is created, dispatched and disseminated instantly.

Social movements, transfers of ideas, and political revolutions have shown us that the process of change is slow. But sometimes it unexpectedly accelerates. For example, advances in processes like the use of machinery in manufacturing and farming chug along before they suddenly alter our lives.

Today, changes in methods of communication and human interaction threaten to change our relationships. For example, as a result of texting instead of looking, seeing, touching or listening, we no longer exchange emotions. We miss a hug, a tear, a pause, a facial expression, or even a change of tone. We accomplish more and more, but we give and take less and less.

Once the process of getting everyone to wear watches that speak and glasses that see virtual realities takes over, not only our relationships but also our natures could mutate. Or more and more of us may lose touch with our reality. As unreal as our human reality may be, at least it is ours and not virtual. How can we hang on to it? How can we prevent processes from taking over our destiny?