How Are You Feeling?

What are you feeling right now? Curious or bored? Restless or content? Anxious or serene? None of the above, but plenty of other emotions?


Indigentology sees emotions as messengers, only communicating needs. Whether directly experienced or indirectly as in recollection, this section we will see “emotion” and “need communication” as virtually interchangeable.


What Do You Think?

Emotions can be potent, compelling us to act in ways we may later regret or even deny. This section seeks to unpack this potency, to normalize all of our need communicating emotions.


This normalizing of emotions stems from an indigenous perspective. We’ll extensively use 4-part cycle diagrams of indigenous wisdom to bring this point home. Other perspectives will be integrated as well.


This is also about being engaging. At the bottom of each article is space for your feedback. You are encouraged to share your perspective, your understanding, your wisdom. After all, it’s your needs we are implicitly talking about. Let’s communicate about communicating needs. What do you feel you need right know?

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This exploration of need communication is broken down into separate articles, each featuring an illustrative diagram.


Need communication

Section Outline      .

There is no good or bad except for need.


Perceptions of what we regard as good or bad typically begin with a feeling. This theme is broken down into these subsections.



E0000s  Overview.  Goes into a little further depth what this outline merely introduces.


E0100s  Emotion=communication of need.  Emotion conveys the cyclic experience of needs.


E0200s  Intensity=urgency of felt need.  Emotion reports homeostatic need along a continuum of felt intensity.


E0300s  Awareness=cognition of felt need.  Emotion includes memory of experiencing need and experienced responses to it.


E0400s  Decision=relief of felt need.  Emotion often includes suggested behavior for relief.


E0500s  Conclusion=result of felt need.  Emotion provides feedback to response to need.


No.     Diagram               Article title & summary (click on title or image to open in same window) 

Whatever we regard as good or bad conveys our experience with some need. This is the first provisional principle of indigentology. If something helps to resolve some need we readily categorize it as good. If it gets in the way of easing our needs we readily categorize it as bad. This estimation almost always starts out as an emotion. Every emotion communicates some need.

This section relies on the wellness wheel symbol, based upon the Native American 4-quadrant sacred circle. This article takes you to blog post 027, where its useful application to illustrating the dynamics for indigentology is introduced.

What we call pain or desire is nature’s alarm to draw us back into balance. The 4-quadrant "humanity cycle" is covered here in blog post 029. It illustrates how our experiences shape our beliefs, resulting in thoughts, producing behaviors, leading back to experiences. All human activity can be accounted for in this simple cyclic process.

There is no good or bad except for need.

Each emotion conveys an experience with need. Two intersecting dimensions form four basic categories. Conveying an unmet need: pain and desire, generally regarded as bad. Conveying the need is met: relief and pleasure, generally regarded as good.

Persisting pain and unfulfilled desire form the dimension we generally label as bad, along with anything contributing to such feelings. Relief and pleasure form the dimension we generally label as good, along with anything contributing to these typically preferred feelings.

Neuroscience shows no significant difference between emotion and cognition. A distinction can be found in intensity of the felt need. Let’s consider this gradation with working definitions for anger, fear, guilt, denial, and depression.

Emotions with a positive valance let you feel good: relief and pleasure. Emotions with a negative valance typically leaves you feeling bad: persisting pain and unfulfilled desire. Four short-short stories try to bring these to life, to see them in action.

 Each emotion conveys the homeostatic experience of one or more needs. From moving away from homeostatic equilibrium to returning toward equilibrium. Then moving past this equilibrium in the opposite directing, in an ongoing 4-part cycle.

Indigentology is about parsing needs. It suggests each need we can ever experience is a cyclic process, starting in a relative state of rest and returning to some state of rest.

This article is temporarily available as blog post 028.

E 203

3 Homeostatic Zones of Emotion: safe, danger, and damage

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