Affectivity means the subjective totality that acts, situations and relations are living with. It is gradually building up along the personal existence and is intimately entailed in biological, cognitive and intentional processes from which a unity is formed. To know -and love- action depends on the satisfaction of needs and tendencies and their integration in one’s own world. Sometimes, we express it saying: “what is loving is effective”, and also with “to have a heart” (in its double meaning of fondness and bravery).
Affectivity brings colour to personal live positively or negatively. And so, for instance, it is able to encourage the election of valuable aims and tasks (showing the search of truth, good, relation, service…); and, on the contrary, can influence negatively with rejection, dislike, or even conflict with the will. In any case, its integration in everyone is achieved from knowledge, will and honesty.
Although the dynamics between affectivity, knowledge and will can begin by any of them, knowledge usually is at the bases of human behavior, perhaps being moved by affectivity and will. So the good is able to awake love (as known good), wish (as future good), hope-despair (as achievable or unattainable good), or happiness (facing a possessed good). However, if something is perceived as bad, affectivity will appear as aversion, fear or sadness.
Today, frequently, not to integrate affectivity –experienced or lived- in the unity of the person, has leaded to take refuge in feeling and what is sensitive, pleasurable and sensual, with some demonstrations as:
– me) Affectivity as the central dimension of life and so creator of good, values and behavior (I like it, enjoy it, it please
– The affective would be understood in terms of pleasure and usability (happiness would be equivalent to pleasure)
– The dynamics of affectivity would belong to the unconscious sphere and so freedom in the face of instincts is denied.
– Hedonism and overtolerance become dominant over truth, objective good and values, which are considered as unrealistic.
– What can be done facing an environment tinged with feelings?
– The answer presupposes the recognition of objectivity and the spheres of reality and human being. It is not a matter of ignoring but integrating. For that, remembering these specific characteristics of human affectivity can be used:
– The affective is as human as intelligence or will in the unity of the person.
– Human affectivity joins together what is sensitive and spiritual. It is different from that belonging to an animal.
– Other feature is its plasticity to be ordered by knowledge and will, with some limits in pathological cases.
– Emotiveness and the law of feeling lead to sentimentalism and volatility.
– The domain over feeling and acting are not assured, but it demands honesty and a commitment to the best.
– José Arnal