A thief knocks down your door and you are flooded with fear. Your baby smiles up at you and you are filled with love. It feels like this is how emotions work: something happens, and we instinctively respond. How could it be any other way? Well, the latest research in psychology and neuroscience shows that's not in fact how emotions work. We offer you a truly mind-blowing alternative explanation for how an emotion gets made. And we do it through a bizarre lawsuit, in which a child dies in a car accident, and the child's parents get sued by the man driving the other car.
Can you discover an emotion? We travel to the jungles of the Philippines where an anthropologist named Renato Rosaldo lived with the Ilongots, an isolated tribe of headhunters. There he learns about legit, an emotion so intense, and varied, and scary to him, that he can't really map onto the usual palette of American emotions. It takes many years, and a shocking and tragic event, for Rosaldo to fully grasp legut. Then we follow a young woman who does something on dates that virtually guarantees their failure. Along the way , she gains insight into her own emotions, and those of a generation of kids raised to be happy.
We all have a future self, a version of us that is better, more successful. It can inspire us to achieve our dreams, or mock us for everything we have failed to become. A note to listeners: this episode contains some disturbing content related to teen suicide and grieving parents.