I don’t have 500 emotions. I don’t need to waste electricity and battery on emojis, iPhone. What’s more, I consider myself emoji dyslexic – I don’t really understand but a few of them.
Years ago I accused a friend of having only five adjectives to describe the world (to satisfy your curiosity they were heavy, ugly, crazy, jealous and tacky). I don’t have the courage to count my own. While I believe they would be greater than five, they would probably be far less than those represented by the emojis on my iPhone.
Ten Thousand Things
In astrology, there are four elements – fire, earth, air and water. Emojis, as emotions, are represented by water.
Earth represents our tangible, three-dimensional world. In Chinese, all the things of the world are described as “ten thousand things.” There are clearly ten thousand objects in the world. If I walk through Target, I can see them.
Categorization is our cure to manage the unwieldy ten thousand objects. The top two categories in Target are hard goods and soft goods. We can also categorize many of Target’s offerings as consumer packaged goods. Or we can create other categories that lasso the unruly ten thousand into numbers we can count with our fingers.
Air describes thoughts and socialization; it is the world of idea and image. Are there ten thousand thoughts? That doesn’t even seem to cover half of what goes through our minds daily. We are bombarded with images from marketing to social media communications more than any time in history. A friend pointed out that we make more decisions in a day today than our ancestors did in their lifetimes.
Clearly there are ten thousand thoughts.
Fire represents the spirit, intuition and creative possibility. Are there ten thousand “things” represented by fire? While we could count possibilities and outcomes, fire energy doesn’t seem as “countable” as earth and air energy.
We might also analyze the object of fire desire – love, inspiration and enlightenment. For the spiritually inclined, all these roads lead to the same place although in our human confusion we think they are different.
We see this often in a consumer culture as there are some who continually want new objects, but those objects never truly satisfy. Earth signs tend to derive genuine pleasure from the objects of the world. The over-spending fire sign rarely does as they are seeking something beyond the object that is never contained in the object.
Water, as previously noted, represents the emotions and connections to others. What we describe as emotions (rather than thoughts) does seem to have some volume; I’m just not sure there are 500 emotions. You might carry many emotions about one situation, but 500?
Water focuses on family, intimate relations and communal spirituality. Water is the focus of many a book and movie. There are surely ten thousand books and films. But do they contain ten thousand different emotions? Emotions are like categories – there is love and it is applied differently to parents, siblings, friends and spouses. But we know it has the same core.
There seem to be far fewer emotions than thoughts or objects. But it seems similar to fire in that there are a few basic emotions that guide most of our actions.
Are emojis really emotions? Or are they thoughts?
Ask around the table at your next gathering – what is the difference between a thought and emotion? It’s a tough question and an interesting one to explore if you meditate. It’s also interesting to hear others trying to explain the difference.
My own astrological exploration is here.
Emojis, also known as emoticons, might be better described as “thought-icons.”
Throughout history we’ve shared our thoughts and emotions with others through theater, the written word, motion picture and now social media. It’s not an uncommon or new experience, really.
What’s different with social media is the brevity of the expression. Emojis are part of that brevity. Emojis have no backstory; they are the punchline describing how the words or images are meant to be received. Emojis are the last page. Emojis provide information (this is meant to be a joke) and instruction (you’re meant to laugh).
While I have enough emoticons for a lifetime, I suspect there will be many, many more coming. As objects of the world, we know there are ten thousand of them.