Usually when I discuss emotions with a person, the conversation goes a little something like this.

ME: "But, you're ignoring the fact that there is a rational, definite basis for each emotion you experience."

THEM: "That's not true! Sometimes I feel happy or sad for no reason."

ME: "There is a cause. You just have not made an effort to identify it. The emotion itself was triggered by the subconscious, but there is a rational basis for it. I have never felt an emotion which I could not explain if I tried."

THEM: "Man, do I feel sorry for you..."

Why? What is this unnamed, pristine value that people place on the uncertainty of emotions? The fact of the matter is, emotions ARE caused by rational thought or subconscious integration, and these causes CAN be identified by the conscious mind if necessary. The human mind is not some mysterious, random, arbitrary device. There is a real method to its operation. An emotion is the subconscious responding to some perceived event or rational thought. To deny this is to deny the cause-effect relationship between the "mind and heart."

Granted, there are times when it is difficult, or certainly trivial, to determine the cause of emotions. If a person wakes up in a good mood some morning, and ready to take on the world, it isn't necessary to attempt to link that emotion to a definite event or thought. One would do better to accept the good spirit and put it to productive use.

The problem with emotions is that they are often considered mystical or magical events, which one should use to determine courses of action. There is danger to all involved, when this is the case. Suppose a tenant in an apartment fails to pay his rent a particular month, so the landlord of course evicts him. At first, the evictee will certainly feel sadness (caused by the loss of his dwelling, and his realized failure to produce enough value to keep it) and even anger (against the landlord, which is completely unjustified). Thus, if the former tenant acts on his blind emotion, he might act on his ignorant feelings, arguing, destroying property, or worst of all, possibly harming other people. A third party observer can obviously see that the man is not justified in taking such actions, since he lost his appartment by his own fault. However, the tenant treats his emotions as his guidebook, recognizing unquestioningly their role in helping him make decisions. Sadly, this is often the case in real world scenarios. In our society, increasingly, it's a persons "feelings" that matter, and not the rational basis for these feelings. It's almost as if blind emotion holds a trump card over reality. If I feel angry at you, then dammit, I am justified in doing something about it. It doesn't matter who is truly at fault. This notion is passed on implicitly all the time, through movies, politicians, schools, etc. Therefore, we should recognize the dangers of allowing unbridled "feelings" to serve as infallible baromoters of life. Emotions are caused by rational thought, but incorrect premesis can lead to inappropriate emotions, just as errors in knowledge can lead to mathematical errors.

So I stand up and proudly declare that I have never felt a causeless emotion in my life. I have carefully considered every person I have respected, hated, and loved before I felt these ways towards them. For every sense of pride I have experienced, I have identified it as the result of hard work and ambition. I have clearly noted every gain in value that has caused me to feel happy, and every loss that led to sadness, and I can say with absolute certainty that my life is better because of it. What an amazing feeling, to realize that life is not some mysterious chaos, and that my greatest moments of emotional ecstasy have come from very real sources.