Re: Emotions

From: Kim Jones <>
Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2008 14:46:58 +1100

On 25/10/2008, at 8:10 AM, Brent Meeker wrote:

>> OK - I don't 'know' that except in the sense of having the feeling
>> that I read it somewhere - usually New Scientist...
>> I'm sure that I could dig up the appropriate reference for you but I
>> think you should maybe trust my 'feelings' on this ;-)
>> Or
>> maybe I just have this emotional need for that to be
>> could easily accuse me of that; in fact you're too polite!
>> Feeling=knowing in the sense of recognising (ie a form of
>> perception -
>> the mind's information gathering task; if something fits a
>> recognised,
>> filed pattern we assign it a value so we can extract usefulness )
> I do think that perception is more than just receiving/recording
> data. It
> includes an emotion or feeling that "this is worth noticing", i.e.
> "paying
> attention". You don't perceive everything that impinges on your
> nervous system.
> Brent

Good. I'm saying that that is what a feeling is. You've just described
brilliantly 'a feeling of something'.
There is a minimum 'value threshold' below which we don't even NOTICE
that something is there.
The sense of value is what the feeling is. It can be incredibly subtle
and slight. Maybe there isn't even a word to describe it.

Why some seize the artist's brush and some compose music etc.

It's the low-level energy of feelings that permits exploration of
values and concepts, whereas emotions are for decision-time and action
in the big nasty and deceptive world, the world where everyone is
trying to sell everyone to everyone else - the game of evolution that
we should madly try to escape (IMHO)

Feelings are not always a reaction to something, either. Feelings (and
emotions, yes) can arise 'unbidden' in the mind, although it could
probably be demonstrated that a physiological cause for this exists. I
would add that this is also the interesting dance that the brain does
with data.
What comes out is never the same as what went in. Data has to be filed
- it has to exist somewhere in the mind. The patterns of recognition
do the secretarial work.

Patterns of recognition (the brain's neural network) have 'catchment
areas'. Feelings have small catchment areas and require a precise fit
with data. Emotions have HUGE catchment areas - they resemble Jung's
'Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious" or the collective, racial
memory of a whole social group. Emotions are always big and
monumental. They usually have a face. Everyone can draw an angry or a
happy or a frightened face, but most will have difficulty drawing a
wise or a humble or an interested face etc. because these faces
require an appreciation of more subtle, more low-level emotional
states. The 3rd party visual component of emotion gives rise to drama
and painting and the whole commerce of human interaction

'Terrorism' is vague-enough a concept to have an extremely large
catchment area. Many things can be identified with 'terrorism'. Terror
as a concept (or meme) preys on the mind's weakness for the unusual
and has a correspondingly high emotional charge linked with it.


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Received on Fri Oct 24 2008 - 23:47:16 PDT

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