Re: Emotions

From: Telmo Menezes <>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2008 10:44:56 +0100

> Wonder is more of a feeling though - don't need wonder as a survival
> mechanism

I can imagine wonder having survival value for highly evolved
organisms like the homo sapiens. It is the driving force behind great
scientists and engineers. It's an emotion that drive us to want to
decode reality. The knowledge gathered in this process allows us, for
example, to build better tools. I believe there's an interplay between
biological and social evolution (the Baldwin effect). As society
becomes more and more complex, new emotions evolve to guide the
adaption of its individuals.

> Artists love to 'intellectualise' about their inner qualia. They have
> distinctions others find forced or artificial
> that's fine

Sure it is. I'm like that myself :)

> Somebody suggest a better word than 'feeling' for what I am describing
> - I think we all know what emotions are

My suggestion is: thoughts. I'd say one of the main characteristics of
the brain is its ability to anticipate future states. We seek future
states with more positive emotions. As we learn about the environment,
we develop brain mechanisms that guide us away from negative emotions
of towards positive emotions without the need for further emotional

I see artists as mind hackers. They are able to "push buttons" in our
minds without the need for specific scientific knowledge about the
underlying mechanisms. Surrealists, for example, amaze me, because
they are able to evoke emotions that I didn't even know existed.

And then there's the big white elephant in the room: consciousness. I
don't know what it is and I don't believe it somehow "emerges" from
brain function. I do believe this mystery to be an indication that
some very fundamental insights are still missing in our model of
reality. Maybe one day some new Einstein will come up with a great
insight and our current paradigm will be replaced, making all these
discussions seem rather naive.

Telmo Menezes.

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Received on Fri Oct 24 2008 - 05:45:16 PDT

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