…iness, and if I am feeling sane and balanced, my emotional responses do not dictate my next action. My personal autonomy, such as it may be possible, depends on my recognition that nothing compels me to feel any specific emotion, and that my emotions, surprising and extraordinary as they may be, arise naturally. I own my own emotions and I am responsible for any action I take that may follow from them.
I agree, Ian, that we need to start from a place of self-authority and self-responsibility for learning to respond and not just react to our emotions. At the same time, there’s a concept of valence which describes observable behaviors of people in groups over-reacting because ‘their feelings’ exceed their individual capacity: a spillover effect from ‘taking in’ other’s similar emotions and ‘acting out’ as a representation of aggregate group sentiment.
Which is just to say that there’s a lot going on, and individual accountability had to be balanced by other group members’ self-responsibility too.
Also, this whole individual-centric-ness is a cultural value. There may be other equally-effective or even better strategies for managing the complexities of maintaining social stability.