The Emotions: Our New Annual Theme

Every year we at the Ethical Society of St. Louis organize our programs around a theme. This year, our theme is the emotions: each month we’ve chosen an emotion (or a closely-linked duo of emotions) which we will explore in our Sunday meetings and our other programs. The upcoming slate includes months on joy, curiosity, anger, fear, and more. Every month we will examine how these emotions affect our lives, including how we can respond to our emotions and the emotions of others.

Why spend a year exploring our emotions? Because human beings are an emotional animal. Our emotions – how we feel – are an extraordinarily important aspect of our lives. We are driven by our emotions, literally: the words “move” and “emotion” come from the same root, and one way to say that we were emotionally affected by something is to say that we are “moved” by it! In our personal lives we seek love, are enticed by curiosity, work through grief and sadness, and try to avoid hate. Our experience is shaped and colored by emotions at every turn.

It’s clear that our emotions are playing an enormous role in our current political climate, too. One look at the photos of torch-wielding white supremacists in Charlottesville reveals how powerfully emotions like hatred and anger can affect our politics – often for the worse. Science tells us that the emotions of those near us can change how we feel, so it’s no surprise that our emotions make a significant social impact, and it’s important to ask how we can move society in a more emotionally positive direction.

Finally, we’ll be examining the role of the emotions in Ethical Humanism, the worldview we promote at the Ethical Society. Traditionally, many have thought of Humanism as an especially “rational” point of view, and some have even sought to downplay the role of our emotions in favor of a more logical approach to life. Perhaps we should try to be more like a Vulcan, and “get beyond” our emotions? No. Our emotions are central to our lives as Ethical Humanists, and this year we’ll dive deep into them.

We begin in September with an emotion which is the bedrock of any community: trust. Join us on 09/10 to kick the year off with our annual Fall Gathering, and then again on 09/17 to hear more about what this year on the emotions has in store. This is going to be an amazing year at the Ethical Society – trust us!