The Balance Wheel

The Balance Wheel

All emotions evolved because they were advantageous to the human species. This is not to say that we always use emotions to our advantage. Many emotions are widely abused. However, the vast range of human suffering that I see is not caused by an abuse of emotions such as desire, rage, fear, anxiety. No. Most human suffering is the result of a failure to use the emotions to our advantage.

Emotions are the tools we use to process complex stimuli. This Balance Wheel is not intended to simplify or “dumb down” a complex process. I developed it as a sort of exercise machine in order to strengthen the mind for the complex task of processing stimuli.

“My mind works just fine! I don’t need a balance wheel!”

We use more than reason to process stimuli. We also use emotion. It is common to attempt to reject and avoid emotions since they seem to cause so many problems. The Stoic philosophers of the Roman times practiced overcoming negative emotions through reason. Another group of philosophers, the Epicureans, practiced seeking pleasure as the highest good. They considered the highest pleasure an absence of powerful emotions such as fear or even excitement. The Balance Wheel demonstrates how to apply any emotion toward its intended purpose through reason.

The Balance Wheel divides all stimuli into positive and negative. Positive stimuli are processed by three general emotions or feelings: Love, Pleasure, and Joy. Negative stimuli are processed by three general emotions or feelings: Contempt (love’s opposite), Disgust (pleasure’s opposite), and Grief (joy’s opposite).

Please examine the peculiarities of the Balance Wheel. Love and contempt stand on opposite sides of the center point. The other opposite pairs are pleasure/disgust and joy/grief. Notice also, that each pie piece grows wider farther away from its opposite. This represents the spectrum of intensity that operates through each pair of emotions and the neutral ground in the middle.

“What the hell is this? Six emotions? People have six emotions?”

I could list emotions to the bottom of the page and beyond. Fear, anxiety, shame, lust, compassion, desire, and on and on . But what is the purpose of such a list? What is the purpose of any emotion? Unfortunately, many people feel that emotions are worthless annoyances. However, the purpose of any emotion is to process a stimulus so that we can respond to our own advantage. The Balance Wheel sorts all emotions into six general areas. Fear belongs in the “Disgust” section, for example.

“Oh, nice! Why isn’t the “Disgust” section called “Fear” then?

I’ve named that section “Disgust” because fear and anxiety are innate (inborn) responses, whereas disgust is a more conscious response that can be directed toward positive action. Fear is a response to an external threat. There is also anxiety which is a response to an internal threat such as rejection or illness. Disgust literally means the opposite of pleasure. Just as pleasure has many uses, the various forms of disgust have many uses which I will explain on other pages.

More about the Balance Wheel

I have explained each section of the Balance Wheel on separate pages on this site with examples of how each section is used to process feelings. As time goes by, I will post more examples for using the Balance Wheel in the “Updates” section. The pages about the Balance Wheel offer general explanations of how each section works.

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