In Milan Kundera's novel Immortality (1991), one of the narrators critiques the notion of what he terms 'Homo Sentimentalis... the man who has raised feelings to a category of value'. For him, this notion leads to a romantic conception of the self, the wish of people to distinguish themselves, to make their mark on the world, to imagine that what they feel, and are seen to feel, is supremely important. In turn this leads them 'on to the great stage of history' with often terrible consequences: 'What makes people raise their fists in the air, puts rifles in their hands, drives them to join struggles for just and unjust causes, is not reason but a hypertrophied soul. It is the fuel without which the motor of history would stop turning and Europe would lie down in the grass and placidly watch clouds sail across the sky'.
The origins of all this go back to music: 'The transformation of feelings into value had already occurred in Europe some time around the twelfth century: the troubadors who sang with such great passion to their beloved, the unattainable princess, seemed so admirable and beautiful to all who heard them that everyone wished to follow their example by falling prey to some wild upheaval of the heart'.
This became further embedded as music developed: 'Music taught the European not only a richness of feeling, but also the worship of his feelings and his feeling self... Music: a pump for inflating the soul. Hypertrophic souls turned into huge balloons rise to the ceiling of the concert hall and jostle each other in unbelievable congestion'.
Maybe there's something in this, but is the 'feeling self' always such a bad thing? The self-romanticising hero may have their share of crimes, but the unfeeling cold subject is at least as responsible for the disasters of history.