Its The Thought That Counts

What tells you more about a person—the way his body works, or the way his mind works? "How does this guy think?" is something you probably tried to figure out before. But "how does he sweat?" is something I'll bet you never wondered about. More than anything else, we are language. It's how we're different from all other animals. We put words on everything. And the mind never stops. We're always thinking, talking to ourselves—urging, coaxing, warning, pressing, punishing, praising. Heidegger said, "Language is where being dwells." Our thoughts are one of the most revealing expressions of who we are.

Now, I've given you an extreme situation (gun in the ribs) to make sure you'd have an emotion. In this kind of experience, the emotions, thoughts, and physical responses happen so fast that they feel simultaneous. Nevertheless, the thought is first. Something has to register in the mind. You have to recognize what's happening and evaluate it before you get frightened. In fiction, we slow it down and take it step-by-step to capture the feel (the truth) of the experience.

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