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. But only recently have emotions gained a scientific reputation as the major contributor to intellectual abilities. kind is not without reason. While the essential function to recognize a friend we have not seen for a long time is becoming within range of artificial ability, emotions remained the most elusive task for robot designers. A dog stays away from a person who mistreated him in the past because of the emotional nature of memories. Emotions give unusual power to animals, giving them the ability to make decisions based on feelings, subjective and hardly describable mental products. Feelings direct the life of animals that have them, giving them decision-making ability, far superior to any artificial intelligence. It is not only the blind that ‘feels’ his way around the world, but all emotional creatures also do. Emotion makes consciousness an incomputable process, utterly different from the physical processes that accompany it. Emotions help distinguish the face of the perpetrator from the police lineup, recognize the fence of the childhood home and the overture of a classical opera.

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 about emotions. A Chinese folk song, an opera sung in Italian has the power to affect our mood because we recognize the feelings in them as our own. Because music is an expression of sentiments, they 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, we commit a crime, and we 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 elementary forces of the mind are emotions. This leads to the many consequences of mental operation, as shown in the book, The science of consciousness. Sign up for my mailing list to never miss a post. 

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