Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Emotions are the elementary forces of the mind

"If we resist our passion, it is more due to their weakness than our strength." summed up the French philosopher Francois de La Rochefoucauld. Recently, emotions gained a scientific reputation as a significant contributor to intellectual abilities. Yet, while the essential function to recognize a person is within a range of artificial capabilities, emotions remained an elusive task for robot designers. 

Feelings-based decision-making is far superior to any artificial intelligence. For example, the emotional nature of memories enables a dog to stay away from a person who mistreated him. Emotions are subjective and hardly describable mental products, with unusual decision-making power. Nevertheless, they help distinguish the perpetrator's face from the police lineup, our childhood home, or the overture of a classical opera. Not only the blind that 'feels' his way around the world, but all emotional creatures do. Feelings make consciousness an incomputable process, utterly different from the physical processes accompanying it.

Of course, what scientifically very difficult to propose and prove, philosophers and artists intuitively knew for a long, long time. For example, music is an international language that communicates emotions. We can identify with a Chinese folk song, an Italian opera aria, via the feelings they convey. Because music is an expression of sentiments, it might be written about love, but never about the stock market or the global economy.

Emotions are not just some luxury that birds and mammals (and crocodiles) acquired during evolution, but they are the primary motivation of the animals that have them. Emotions are evolutionary survival tools. With them, dangers can be overcome, opportunities found. We are good, generous, trusting because of our emotions. We betray others, commit a crime, and feel remorse because of them. Emotions are much more powerful than we acknowledge, and we cannot even recognize the extent they play in our lives because we identify with them. I am proposing that the fundamental forces of the mind are emotions. This leads to the many consequences of mental operation, as shown in the book, The science of consciousness

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