Focus on Control

Destructive Emotions. How Can We Overcome Them? A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Daniel Goleman (Author)

Alexander Kopylov


When I was at the airport in Munich I came in a shop where newspapers, magazines and books were sold and quite by chance I saw and bought the book titled “Destructive Emotions. How Can We Overcome Them? A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama” by Daniel Goleman. Once again I realized that nothing happens by chance. I was destined to find this book and read it.

I decided to write about it since this book is devoted to control, that is, to the subject-matter which I practice professionally. For those who probably do not know it, I’d like to say that Daniel Goleman is a famous American psychologist, the author of the book “Emotional Intelligence” which has made him a worldwide celebrity.

The book I refer to is the explication of a collective dialogue which took place in the year 2000 between the group of Western scientists, on the one hand, Dalai Lama and two Tibet monks, on the other hand. The conversation took place in Dharamsala, India, the area where the residence of Dalai Lama is located. It is worth noting that Paul Ekman, whose character served as the original for doctor Lightman in the well-known “Lie to Me” film series was among those who participated in the dialogue. No wonder that the man who had created a unique theory of lie recognition by micro-motions of facial muscles was among the participants. Ability to recognize lie is one of the instruments of control.

In his book Daniel Goleman tells the reader in detail that during five days the participants discussed what destructive emotions meant from the viewpoint of the western traditions and Buddhism, which contemporary scientific context served as the basis for emotions, which effective skills of controlling emotions one must have and how to create and develop them.

To illustrate the above I’d like to list 20 human-sole illnesses which are mentioned in the book.

  1. Anger
  2. Wrath
  3. Resentment
  4. Spite
  5. Envy/jealousy
  6. Cruelty
  7. Attachment
  8. Avarice
  9. Inflated self-esteem
  10. Exicitation
  11. Concealment of one’s own vices
  12. Dullness
  13. Ignorance
  14. Blind faith
  15. Spiritual sloth
  16. Forgetfulness
  17. Lack of introspective attentiveness
  18. Ignorance and attachment
  19. Pretension
  20. Deception
  21. Shamelessness
  22. Inconsideration of others
  23. Unconscientiousness
  24. Distraction

I offer my apologies right now for some people may consider the translation awkward. I think that it is because the right understanding of the above notions requires the knowledge of a certain context, such as the practice of meditation, which I do not have. However, the list is impressive and I am sure it is familiar to many of you.

I paid attention to the fact that all those unfortunate drawbacks, if I may call them so, refer to the category of control. Depending on the degree of intensity it will be the low level or the lack of control as is the case with “shamelessness,” for example.

Several conclusions that I have drawn after reading this book:

Control is an eternal problem both now and always.

There are efficient methods of individual control, first of all, such as the practices of meditation on which much emphasis is laid in the book.

The very fact, that interest to the subject-matter of control has not dropped and I’d rather say it is growing, proves that in the course of historical development the intensity of negativity in a human being (I mean the human being as a generic concept) has not dwindled. And the bitter truth of this topic is that the variety of evil-manifestation forms and the power of evil development are growing. But, however, I personally remain optimistic by reason that despite everything it can be overcome. It is impossible to avoid but can be overcome.

This book is a logical continuation of Daniel Goleman’s work. Everybody needs it since it describes what all of us have to a greater or lesser degree. The reference to this subject-matter is an important factor of control in itself. So, read it but now only in English. And control yourself.