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“Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue With the Dalai Lama” by Daniel Goleman Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Jul 6th, 2021

What Are the Most Appealing Ideas Expressed by the Author(s)?

Self-reflection and re-evaluation of personal characteristics are essential steps for any person to go through, helping people grow and healthily nurture their character. As a religion rooted in not only peace but also kindness and empathy, Buddhism urges people to show this compassion to everyone, including their own selves, which requires recognizing and handling a multitude of emotions. Therefore, the book Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama is the result of a conversation between the scientific and religious approaches to thinking, both of which support a careful approach to self-evaluation (Goleman 5). Recognizing that people can retain control over their emotions further permits them to manage the effect of their feelings over their lives and, thus, approach universal harmony.

The book’s author and narrator Daniel Goleman presents science and Buddhist philosophy to be equal actors within the endeavor of human advancement, whether scientific or spiritual. The author and other contributors highlight this kind of coordinated activity as a critical step when attempting to achieve any progress, effectively rooting the book’s meaning in creating this middle ground (Goleman 10). Written as a narrative of the conference involving both scientists and the Dalai Lama, the book goes beyond dismantling the dichotomy of science versus religion and touches upon the contrariety of western and eastern philosophy. Demonstrating the detriment of certain mental practices that are prevalent in our society and how humanity may repurpose them into beneficial actions, thus, becomes the book’s goal.

The appeal of Destructive Emotions lies in its thoughtful approach and straightforward language, which clearly explains complicated concepts and practices. Of such ideas, it is essential to mention three, the relevance of which goes beyond narrow specialization and, therefore, pertains to all aspects of life. The first notion is that for a person to act effectively, it is necessary to recognize the purpose and benefit of the action (Goleman 283). This practice, in turn, leads to the encouragement of compassion through developing a rational approach towards any process in which one chooses to be involved (Goleman 284). Therefore, through the joint implementation of these two methods, even developing empathy may become an action that is motivated by logical reasons. Together with the last idea, which is that the stimulation of positive thoughts brings internal harmony, it would seem that any individual might overcome any adverse mental state and change the situation to their benefit (Goleman 348). This kind of readily perceivable psychological discipline may be essential for students, especially those who may struggle with their education.

What Are the Implications of the Ideas in the Book for You as an Educator?

Despite acting as a guiding book for all kinds of individuals in the pursuit of both personal and professional attainment, Destructive Emotions holds a particular interest for those involved in the education sphere. The three ideas of recognition, encouragement, and stimulation that contribute to the creation of mindfulness already seem deeply rooted in existing teacher-student relationships (Goleman 145). However, their active appreciation and implementation by educators may be an essential step in cultivating a healthy learning atmosphere, which could urge students to find their own motivations, pivotal to the schooling process.

These techniques could be acute for educators who want to retain their professional integrity as individuals directly affecting the world’s future by influencing their students. Since the goal of adopting the suggested structure is creating a support framework, which would both motivate and encourage learners, its recognition may be acute for a variety of students’ future circumstances (Goleman 274). Teachers demonstrating the professed competencies may be decisive when instilling them within pupils, and this could highlight not only the ease of implementation of mindful tactics but also their possible profound effect on others.

What Ideas of the Author, If Any, Do You Challenge? Why?

The author and all associated contributors are wholly in awe of Buddhist mindfulness tactics, stressing their positive potential for all individuals and members of society while, however, underestimating the deliberate nature of all suggested practices. The chapter “The Anatomy of Mental Afflictions” presents a compelling argument, which explains how humans sabotage themselves through following negative thinking patterns and how this may be changed, therefore, restoring people’s emotional balance (Goleman 87). However, taking self-motivated steps for personal betterment may only be possible when an individual is in control of all their actions, which is the step that may be unavailable to people with mental illnesses. Therefore, the mental state of people may not be wholly dependent on their own willful thoughts but rather on the effects of the disorder that they are unable to control and alter.

While those with mental disorders may use the outlined tactics as a therapy method, depending solely on Buddhist ideas when attempting to alleviate people’s ailments may not be sufficient. Recognizing that rules are not universal may be a new but equally as significant step when creating the framework of support that people require to maintain their mental health and positive attitudes. What remains acute, however, is sustaining a compassionate approach, even towards oneself (Goleman 218). Through a position as respectful as the one it propagates, Destructive Emotions attempts to highlight possible courses of action for those who want to have a positive impact on the world, starting with themselves.

Work Cited

Goleman, Daniel. Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Bantam Books, 2004.

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""Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue With the Dalai Lama" by Daniel Goleman." IvyPanda, 6 July 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/destructive-emotions-a-scientific-dialogue-with-the-dalai-lama-by-daniel-goleman/.

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IvyPanda. ""Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue With the Dalai Lama" by Daniel Goleman." July 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/destructive-emotions-a-scientific-dialogue-with-the-dalai-lama-by-daniel-goleman/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. ""Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue With the Dalai Lama" by Daniel Goleman." July 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/destructive-emotions-a-scientific-dialogue-with-the-dalai-lama-by-daniel-goleman/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '"Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue With the Dalai Lama" by Daniel Goleman'. 6 July.

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