Quora is an interesting site when anyone with any question at all can post it and hope that one of its many users will answer. It is much broader than most places where you can read interesting pieces. Here you will find prisoners recounting all manner of events. You might ask a reaction to most anything and be regaled with facts and stories you never dreamed existed. Quora is among the good ideas made for the Web.

I get a digest from Quora and today I read an answer to the question, "How does Barack Obama feel after losing his presidency?" I have embedded it below.

The writer, an academic, notes the obvious, that Obama never lost a presidency. He won twice. The writer then goes on to suggest all the good reasons Obama should be happy about his record.


The Quora answer leaves out the reasons Obama might feel a whole range of emotions. But she gives us a good argument that may, in fact, be close to correct as a guess.

But I am wanting to make a point about feelings. To answer how someone feels in a specific sense is almost impossible. Feelings in themselves are lights on the Spectrum of self. They go up and down.

Up lie regions of contentment and happiness and exultation. Down, you find depressed thoughts, pains, anger, and other obvious things.

How someone feels cannot be answered by another in any but speculative terms. Obama seems happy. He ought to be climbing the wall over Trump's hostility. Even then, we stray from the elusive and slippery truth.

We guess mostly as we try to fathom what others think and feel. We know if we look within that we are a bushel of feelings, a jumble of reactions.

Why is this important?

The importance of spectrum thinking is that it frees us from what I call the binary box. To know that nothing is fixed, that everything is in play, that reality is both chance and habit is to acknowledge quantum reality.

A reality that does not assume everything works one way or the other.

It is to accept diversity not merely as the state of the world but of each person in the world.


My guess is that Barack Obama has multiple reasons to be happy. But I don't really know. Our attribution of feelings to others as if they were fixed and true is a stretch. The answer to most questions about feelings should be, "How do I know?"

Even our own account of our feelings might benefit from the use of the past tense. Everything we can speak of is over. How I felt when I began typing this is lost in a miasmal mist.

Of course, we are interested in the fates of public people and we continually make judgments. To say they are untrue is too severe. Let's just say they are speculative and may tell us as much about the speaker as the one spoken of.