The prime emotions

After much philosophy, I've identified 16 prime emotions, not counting the negatives separately. Note that I'm not done with this - I'm sure this isn't entirely right, but it's close, and someday I'll understand it all. Also note that I had to fudge the English language a bit, even to the point of outright reusing names, because English was not invented by philosophers.

(Note that the "future-minded" emotions like fear and excitement are actually reducible to these; they're just the partial-certainty forms: if you think there's a 50% chance that something upsetting will happen, you'll experience half the upset.)

Intrinsic, self-based

Intrinsic, power-based

Intrinsic, activity-based

Intrinsic, existential

Intrinsic, analytic

Ideal-dependent, self-based

Ideal-dependent, interpersonal-based

Ideal-dependent, other-based

The magnitude of emotions is affected by a few things other than the magnitude of the trigger:

Another concept I haven't cracked yet is "shadowing". You can experience a diminished form of an emotion through certain means other than its actual trigger. Works of art, in particular, whether stories, music, poetry, or something else, contain bottled emotions that are experienced when the work of art is. That's why art is so powerful and so important to every culture. It's actually what defines art.

Curiously, it seems like you can also shadow to some extent by simply imagining the trigger. For example, I very often entertain imaginary conversations with real or hypothetical people where I explain what I'm thinking about and they mostly just listen and acknowledge. This is me shadowing companionship.

Footnote on Empowerment/Disempowerment: This accounts for the pleasure of physical exercise, but also things like the powerful feeling of the weapons in Halo 1 and the way a lot of CCG cards seem to appeal to an "awesome factor". It's also part of the enjoyment of winning at games in general (the other part being pride), and the enjoyment of customization.

Disempowerment is the frustration we often feel "at nature"; hence why empowerment (manifested in outlets like punching bags) relieves it.

Footnote on Engagement/Boredom: This can be understood as the "fun of trying", whereas Empowerment is "the fun of winning".

Footnote on Novelty Fun/Boredom: This "feeling of progress" notion is the reason why game players seem to universally enjoy mechanics like having levels be locked until they've beaten the previous level, even though it seems like this is strictly worse for the player.

Footnote on Exhilaration/Restlessness: This has a lot of manifestations, including getting to the climax of a good game or story, being on a large team and/or playing with stakes in a competition. It can also show itself in more meaningful ways, such as playing an important role in one's real-world cause (although most people have little to no experience with that, myself included).

Footnote on Admiration/Disgust: The concept of "ideals" is one that took me a long time to pin down. I think it's "what you'd will if you didn't have a personal stake in it". So that's why you can admire someone for being *closer* to your ideals than you, whereas back when I just called it "other wills in accord with self", I couldn't understand how that was possible.

Footnote on Validation/Embarrassment: A lot of things are accounted for by this.

A few notes about things that aren't on the list and what they're composed of:


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