|An imprint of the flower I smelled this morning|
Either way, compare those emotions. The extreme sad/scare/rage to the extreme happy/thrilled/enthusiastic. They are powerful ends to the same emotional spectrum. If you did as I told you - picked the very worst and very happiest memories you have - these emotions most likely represent the strongest sentiments you have ever felt. It's a little frightening, actually, just how strong these feelings are.
It struck me today, how we sometimes - not too often, fortunately - are overpowered with emotions so strong that they leave a lasting memory for the rest of our lives. By mentioning the thing that triggered these emotions, we can feel a version of the same emotion, even years after. When I asked you to think back, I might have triggered intense grief you almost had forgotten you had in you, but then it is there after all, like an imprint of the original feeling. Or a tingling sensation in your stomach region, reminding you of how you really felt that first time your boyfriend kissed you.
Imagine now that instead of having an aftertaste of an emotion already felt, you had a preview. The same imprint - a mellower version of the original - but before the actual event and your reaction to it. Would you be able to bear it? If it was a happy preview - wouldn't the expectations of the real thing lessen the actual feeling? And worse - if it was a sad preview - wouldn't the premature grief weaken your ability to handle the real thing?
One of the impossible questions I have asked myself after the earthquake in Japan in March is whether I'd gone if I had known. It's an impossible question because it doesn't really matter. I didn't know, and I did go. Plus, I think the answer is given. Had I known for sure that there would be an earthquake, a tsunami, a nuclear crisis, I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere near it - even though I wasn't injured or directly affected. Still, there might have been a part of me that would still have wanted to go - not to play hero per se - but perhaps in a misguided "solidarity" with Japan? Or to prove to myself that I wasn't scared? (Which would be wrong, by the way.) Well, that part would have been convinced if I had had a "preview" of any of the emotions I've been dealing with, during and after the earthquake.
I think it is good that we don't know.
Somewhat related, I'm writing about nuclearism over at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash today. I guess the same questions is relevant there - if we had known, would we have acted differently?