Complicated feelings

“I’m sad,” I said.

“Why are you sad?” she asked.

“I’m sad because I think I’m sad,” I said.

“Why do you think you’re sad?” she asked.

“I think I’m sad because I feel sad,” I said.

“Why do you feel sad?” she asked.

“I feel sad because I always feel sad. I’m sad that I think I’m sad all the time,” I said.

(Thirty seconds of silence.)

“Come to think of it, I may not even be sad. It’s possible that I just think I’m sad. This sadness that I feel could be completely fake. That I may have been suckered in by counterfeit sadness saddens me,” I said.

“Why do you think it might be fake?” she asked.

“I know how it feels to feel sad. The feeling of feeling sad is something that I’m very aware of when I’m feeling it. But since this feeling is familiar to me, it is possible for me to feel the feeling without feeling the sadness. And I know I’m feeling it. I can feel myself feeling it,” I said.

“Just because you know you’re feeling something, and can feel yourself feeling a certain way, it doesn’t mean you’re not really feeling it. It’s a real feeling. Feeling is independent of truth. If you feel sad, you are sad, regardless of whether you are actually sad. Feeling is also independent of metafeeling. If you feel sad, you are sad, regardless of whether you feel yourself feeling sad,” she said.

(Thirty seconds of silence.)

“So. Are you sad?” she asked.

“Yes?” I said.

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