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 major contributor to intellectual abilities. While the essential function to recognize a friend is within a range of artificial ability, emotions remained the most elusive task for robot designers. Feelings based decision-making is far superior to any artificial intelligence. 

A dog stays away from a person who mistreated him in the past because of the emotional nature of memories. Emotions lend unusual power, such as the ability to make decisions based on feelings, subjective, and hardly describable mental products. It is not only the blind that ‘feels’ his way around the world, but all emotional creatures do. Emotion makes consciousness an incomputable process, utterly different from the physical processes that accompany it. Emotions help distinguish the perpetrator's face 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 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, 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

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