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Emotions are complex psychophysical processes that evoke positive or negative psychological responses (or both) and physical expressions, often involuntary. Emotions are often related to feelings, perceptions or beliefs about elements, objects or relations between them, in reality or in the imagination. They typically arise spontaneously, rather than through conscious effort. An emotion (reaction or state) is often differentiated from a feeling (sensation or impression), although the word feeling can mean emotion in some contexts.


  • "I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me."
    After a pause full of intense thought on my part, I asked: "But if one hasn't always emotion. What then?"
    "Do not paint," he quickly answered. "When I came in here to work this morning I had no emotion, so I took a horseback ride. When I returned I felt like painting, and had all the emotion I wanted.
    • Henri Matisse, as quoted in an interview with Clara T. MacChesney (1912), in Matisse on Art (1995) edited by Jack D. Flam, p. 66
  • People who think they can control their negative emotions and manifest them when they want to, simply deceive themselves. Negative emotions depend on identification; if identification is destroyed in some particular case, they disappear. The strangest and most fantastic fact about negative emotions is that people actually worship them.
    • P. D. Ouspensky, in The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution (1950), Fourth Lecture, p. 70
  • The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts: the less you know the hotter you get.
    • Bertrand Russell, as quoted in Selling : A Behavioral Science Approach (1966) by Joseph Wilmer Thompson, p. 197

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