Friday, June 13, 2014

Emotions form the basis of consciousness and even if unnoticed, direct our lives from the background

More and more scientific data point to the unconscious origin of not only arbitrary decisions but even conscious goals. Research suggests that goals themselves arise motivated and primed by social situations outside of awareness. These goals operate in our lives, even before we are conscious of them. Our conscious decisions are just a final rubber stamp on the plans of our social subconscious. The representation of the body in the mind is abstract and based on the region's sensory importance. The brain, an anatomical, physiological entity, regulates animal behavior through emotions. The mind forms the self, which is a mental, emotional representation of the body in relating to the environment. The muscle system closely mirrors the state of consciousness, as it tenses up in fear, and relaxes in joy and loving situations. Feelings start hormonal cycles, and hormones regulate our feelings. Even taking a breath of air is emotional. If you do not believe me, try to postpone it by holding your breath. First of all, you cannot do it! But if you could do it, you would feel fear, angst, the urge to breathe and fill your lung, after which you would feel elation, relief.

Emotions form in the mind with the participation of the entire body. As emotions affect the body, the muscles the hormonal system; in turn, the body, its muscular and hormonal system influences our emotions. Emotions form a sophisticated energy system. It is not our consciousness that produces our emotions, but the other way around. So emotions are primary. Consciousness is the clearinghouse of the emotional states that warrant attention, as it supervises the emotional forest, trying to make sense of its diversity. We have to contend with the fact that some feelings are hidden from our consciousness and often we cannot figure out what we feel or why we feel them. Emotion is an evolutionary survival tool, so we are emotionally prohibited from taking our lives; suicide has to be planned carefully.

On a conscious level, the display of emotions can turn into a tool of manipulation that can save energies over the physical movement. As a consequence, mammals and birds display complex, interpersonal relationships and behavior.  For example, a lion can save his energy, because his roar effectively scares away annoying monkeys from his den. But even emotions require enormous energy to maintain. When we are angry, when we argue, we can get just as tired, or even more so, than doing physical work. It can be shown that it is possible to increase the efficiency of the mind even further; it is possible to achieve conscious aims without the energies wasted on (negative) emotions. The book that details the operational principle of the mind already exists. Its title, The science of consciousness and it is available on Amazon. You can also sign up for my mailing list.

Picture credit: Prayer by Eva Deli

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