So I’ve been exploring this idea that suffering and joy are correlated to cognitive ability. Just yesterday, The OFloinn posted a fascinating excerpt describing Helen Keller’s subjective experience of “becoming human”. I recommend reading the whole thing, but here is one short quote:
On entering the door I remembered the doll I had broken [earlier that day, in a tantrum]. I felt my way to the hearth and picked up the pieces. I tried vainly to put them together. Then my eyes filled with tears; for I realized what I had done, and for the first time I felt repentance and sorrow.
Apparently, Helen Keller’s anecdotal experience is quite similar to mine, and could be seen as support for my more general thesis. OFloinn makes some interesting connections to theology that I never thought of, as well.
Of course, neither Helen Keller nor I were recording our experiences in a theology-free context, so it’s possible that our contexts colored our memories. But these anecdotes suggest that it could be worthwhile to investigate using more reliable techniques.