Writing Prompt – Society that Values Emotional Skills

Skills should be valued, but it’s not realistic to pretend that most people have certain skills they value over others. In most, maybe all, societies and communities I have heard about the most valued skills were either physical or mental. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a society that valued emotional skills over those. I can certainly believe such a society could exist, but I don’t know if such a society does or did exist.

The prompt by Maris McKay proposes just such a society. In an odd way a society that thinks this way is probably not going to listen to the logic of someone who claims mental skills are better, because logic is not as valued as keeping your temper and they aren’t going to listen to someone who argues that physical skills are better, because they are just happy they managed to get through the conversation without being mad. The ability to argue is not valued so much as the ability to do so without raising your voice.

I can see one of the worst skills being things like stalking, because losing control of ones emotions by being obsessed with someone is really bad. Obviously killing someone is worse, but I do wonder if a hired assassin would be admired even while the person who hired them would be reviled since the assassin probably didn’t get emotional about it. It is kind of a weird thought to have.

How extreme would such a society go, because the more I think about this, the more concerned I get. Is loving your family emotionally seen as problematic? Are people allowed to grieve when they lose a loved one? Is humor seen as a bad thing? Are surprise parties made to see who can manage to look the least surprised?

There are some odd potentials that I see here and I wonder what this kind of society would be like. Maybe it is only applied to “negative” emotions such as anger and obsession. Maybe “positive” emotions are not suppressed but instead the skills for them are about how well your express them. How do you think a society who values emotional skills would look at different types of emotions and how they were expressed or not expressed?

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