How do you Know how you Feel?
In order to announce to the world that one “is” angry, one must first perceive how one is feeling in relation to some other feeling. Otherwise, one would have no means for discriminating how one feels at any given time.
Rather than possessing a system focused on the changes to how one feels moment by moment, people generally possess a system focused on the relation between that which one feels in the moment and that feeling determined as one’s “sense of self,” or the feeling that it is to be whom one is ‘unperturbed’. And so it goes, moment by moment, that one is able to assess how one feels relative to how one identifies oneself. And if “I feel angry” it is because the difference between how I normally feel and how I feels this moment is such that the distinctions between the two are matched to the lexical entry ‘angry’. So too is such a distinction set mapped to episodes in which I have previously felt angry.
The expereince of this “I” oneself is subjective. When one holds oneself as the object of one’s focus, one is not experiencing oneself “objectively” as the case may be as when one holds as the object of their focus (i.e. pays attention to, attends to) the sight of a building, on another person, or the arriving sounds produced by an orchestra. For while each of the aforementioned external objects may be sensed with one or more of the external senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, or smell, the sense of oneself is entirely subjective.
As one hears the arriving sounds of the orchestra, one might like or dislike such sounds. This liking or disliking is a subjective sense and one may refer to the sounds as ‘music,’ or if one greatly dislikes the sounds, as ‘noise.’ Before one can refer to the sounds as such, one might only refer to that which is objectively sensed, namely the frequency, the amplitude, and harmonical interactions of the arriving soundwaves. Whether such qualify as music and whether one appreciates, likes, or dislikes such is a matter of another nature. And while it may be of another nature, it is still part of that same said self that is able to recognize such.
In order to recognize anything as that which it is, it must exist in one’s mind previously to one’s perception of it. And if it be that it is not in one’s memory, then one recognizes not that which one senses, but rather something one has sensed previously along with that which is different.
Recognition is the process of sensing and identifying a set of distinctions that one can recall having sensed previously.
When one states “I feel angry” (for one cannot simply BE angry) one is identifying those present distinctions between how one felt in the moment just past and how one feels in an unperturbed state. In the moment that one recognizes the distinctions, in that moment, one is not attending to both feeling and thinking. Rather, one is thinking ABOUT how one feels, thereby encapsulating one’s feelings with their own thought. In such a moment, one’s feelings are the object of one’s attention and more specifically the distinctions between one’s self and how one is currently feeling. Again, such a thought about how one feels is subjective.
Comparing Self to Other — Dispositions are Relative
And while one who seems to have an angry disposition may appear to act in ways that would evidence such; to that person it is simply who they are. For their sense of self is such that it has been associated with the actions that other’s tend to perceive as those that one executes when one feels angry. To the person so disposed, the distinctions between how they feel in the moment and their sense of Self (how they feel in an unperturbed state) are coherent. Given the lack of distinction, they sense nothing out of the ordinary. Note that the kermudgeon doesn’t agree with other’s perception of him as such. In fact, this crotchety individual tends to disagree with many other’s perceptions not only regarding their disposition, but also with regard to much in the world.
The kermudgeon has a sense of Self that tends to lead them to such perceptions without “knowing” it. For at some point one finds the end of oneself, a singularity that identifies that point from which one begins their approach to the world and all that’s in it. It’s at such a point, an origin, that one cannot turn oneself inwardly in self-examination.