Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 September 2020
Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.Yoda, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
A good Jedi must resist the influence of emotions that subvert reason. Jedi Master Yoda's warning of the consequences of fear and the graduated descent to the dark side, referred to above, does not however categorise all emo-tions as dangerous. Instead and as noted by Stephens, the Jedi philosophy appears to be somewhat stoic in character. Stoicism, as first advanced by Hellenic philosophers, advocates the passivity towards disturbing emotions (or apatheia), while at the same time recognising ‘ “good emotional states” that are not pathological movements of the soul, namely, benevolence (wishing someone good things for his own sake), joy (in virtuous deeds), and caution (reasonable wariness)’. The stoics suggest that one must separate what can be controlled and what remains outside of one's reach. This appears to be reflected in the fictional Jedi teachings and is manifested when Luke Skywalker urges his father to ‘let go’ of his hate and the dark side.
But how separable are emotions practically, and should we really delineate emotion (or indeed particular emotions) from reason in order to make effective decisions? Is there not something to be said for letting our emotions guide our responses? And is this not the de facto reality? It is clear that emotions play a key role in decision making and this is aptly reflected in their role in advertising and marketing. These questions are becoming increasingly relevant, given the rise in emotion detection and monetisation online. In this vein, one can further wonder how a wide-scale adoption of such technologies would be affected by (and indeed affect) the law. In aiming to reflect upon these points this chapter examines the emergence of such technologies in an online context. Although, as discussed elsewhere, there is a clear debate to be had regarding the emergence of empathic media and their use vis-à-vis fake news, its use in public spaces for commercial purposes, its deployment for public security and safety purposes and also issues relating to the accuracy of the certain emotion detection techniques, such matters remain outside the scope of this targeted chapter.
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