RE: emotions

Rob Harris Cen-IT (
Thu, 19 Aug 1999 15:02:05 +0100

>This depends on whether or not the entity is conscious, and has functioning

>systems to provide pain to that consciousness. I personally doubt that
>embryos are conscious, but this is merely a hunch, as the truth is we just
>don't know yet.

>So are you saying that we should hold off experimenting with human embryos
>because we don't know if they're conscious or not?

No. The above doesn't state this. However, you are fortunate in being correct. This would be my preferred course of action.

>What about other animal embryos? Is it ok to experiment on them

No. Same as above.

>because their not human? Why?

I have said nothing like this. I clearly stated that it's consciousness that counts. I have nothing against other species, so why would I exclude them?

>The fear of death as a concept is a primal instinct - as with the vast
>majority of concepts humans come into contact with, there is an associated
>emotional response. This is not built on logical thought - and as such is
>knowledge independent. Again, the question is does an embryo have the
>necessary systems?

>It has occurred to me that all emotions are varying degrees of fear, and

Maybe for you. I feel very different conscious sensations and physical effects in my emotions. I do not feel fear of varying magnitudes for all emotions. Just fear. If you're not drawing a parallel based upon the nature of the sensation, then what quality is it that all emotions share with fear that brought you to this conclusion?

>I assume that hate must be developed after fear because you hate
>someone that can do you harm.

So hate is "developed" (what? arises?) after fear because the target of the hate can do you harm. This makes no sense to me. Fear is certainly not the sole reason for hatred arising if that's what you're saying........

>To recognize that you must fear the thing you hate.

What? Hatred and fear are very distinct emotions in my case.

>A baby learns that it is happy when it feels good

It learns that the WORD "happy" is associated with feeling good. A word IS not an emotional concept. Words attempt to classify emotional concepts (and much more) for communication purposes.

and its parents reinforce that feeling.


>Later it learns the word for happy. I'm not sure
>how it learns fear.

The same way it learns the other words. Fear is probably the most ancient instinct that we share with probably all conscious species. You don't learn how to fear, the fear is presented to the consciousness in certain triggering situations from day one. Fear is only a word to describe the emotion we can all associate with.

>Why is a baby scared when no one is around? Is it
>because it is feeling uncomfortable, looks around for its parents that
>usually make it feel comfortable, can't find them and starts to fear that
>will always be uncomfortable?

The discomfort IS the fear. The baby feels the fear then reacts by crying or whatever, cos it doesn't feel good. There is an obvious reason for this instinct, and that is the fact that if the baby is alone, then it is in danger of being killed by predators. The crying will draw the parents' attention to the baby, rectifying the situation without the individuals involved having to think first -too risky from an survival point of view.

>It seems to me that this infant would
>eventually associate situations with varying degrees of comfort.

The learning component will notice the situations in which emotions are instantiated, yes.

>Sounds pretty logical to me. What do you think?

Sounds a wee bit dodge.

>we're still animals after all. We don't use logic to create emotions

>Above I think I showed how an animal (an infant anyways) creates emotions
>based on fear and comfort.

I disagree with "creates emotions". The use of the word "create" implies that the animal designs the emotion and implements it. This is clearly not the case. I see what you are trying to say though. You're saying that such animals will predict (after learning the associations) a situation that will create an unpleasant sensation and try to avoid it - based upon fear (which is instantiated by the prediction of all things unpleasant). I agree with this. What I don't agree with is that fear is an inherent component/the true source of all emotions. You fear the other imminent negative emotion. The fact that fear and negative emotions have a direct association does not imply that the two emotions are not completely distinct, with very different conditions associated with their instantiation. Also, don't forget that many emotions are not concerned with danger, and so do not involve fear. What about lust, the uplifting effect of certain types of music, love, want for food (and don't say that this is built upon the fear of starvation and therefore's clearly a result of the hypothalamus detecting low blood sugar, and providing an emotion to the consciousness in order to rectify the situation.....nobody has to "know" that low blood sugar leads to death to make this designed-by-evolution system possible.)

> I have taught myself to control my emotions by
>picturing certain situations or changing my thoughts to create desired
>emotional responses.

Bollocks. It's true that you can attempt to alter your internal state away from the conditions necessary for the negative emotion you're experiencing (anger? count to ten.....), but this only works for some emotions (those solely dependent upon alterable internal states --that's err...just about none if you think about it), and you certainly cannot prevent the emotion from arising in the first place unless you can predict the situation that will instantiate it in time.......

>So you can use logic to create emotions.

No way. Create ? No. The nature of emotions is defined without us. You mean instantiate them? Only in some circumstances. As I say, some emotions such as lust, for instance have an easy-to-replicate triggering situation, Read porn etc......, but there's no way you can avoid getting a boner upon the sight of some foxy chick, unless you can predict this situation and look away before you see her. You may try to counter the emotion by directing your thoughts away from the triggering state, but you never prevented it in the first place. Same with your favourite emotion, fear. I defy you, even knowing beforehand, to walk into a dark alleyway packed with baad ass niggaz with pipes and chains wearing a klan outfit and not shit it. Control? Precious little.

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