RE: emotions

Clint O'Dell (
Thu, 19 Aug 1999 14:44:44 MDT

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

Rob Harris wrote:
>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?

When I was thinking of how emotions worked I took notice that there are quite a few of them. A lot of them are just mixed emotions. I all also recognized that all measurement is is just degrees of differences between objects. (I know this doesn't sound related but just stick with me for a sec) It seems that all things are a struggle between two forces. Gravity vs. Fusion(?repulsion?), Positive magnetism vs. negative magnetism, positrons vs. electrons. It seems that between gravity and quarks is what the universal laws are made up from. Very simple. With variations in amounts it would get quite complex.

So what I'm doing with emotions is looking for a similar pattern. Perhaps I'm mixing apples with oranges but before I try to expand my idea of emotions let me first respond to some of your easier questions and comments because I have to go to a student loan orientation pretty soon.

>A word is not an emotional concept.

I agree and admit I clouded the situation by adding that line which is obviously irrelevant. Of course I didn't do this on purpose.

>The discomfort IS the fear.

That is a very good point. So the discomfort triggers a chemical response in the brain, right? I agree, but discomfort and fear are two different feelings. Perhaps a sudden, large dose of hormones from discomfort causes a feeling of 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

I'm not so sure that the baby can comprehend danger. After all, how does it know that it has any predators. It's parents couldn't tell it, and it would have no idea it is in a position to be attacked unless it has happened before.

Something just occurred to me! Could facial expressions be linked to emotions some how? I've noticed that when I smile at babies, sometimes they smile back and give out a joy like scream, waiving their arms around. They appear to be very happy. Is it possible that the babies are mimicking me and the facial muscles have some sort of impact on emotions? Perhaps giving the command to release certain brain chemicals?

>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.

Again, you are right. I need to learn some new words :-|

>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

>Also, don't forget that many emotions are not concerned with danger, and so
>do not involve fear.

So when an animal recognizes danger it triggers fear. That makes perfect since! A dangerous situation occurred before, or a the animal has that previously a dangerous situation, or even the animal at the moment matches previously stored memory patterns to predict the current situation is dangerous. It associates the dangerous situation with discomfort because discomfort also is remembered and is stored in the same memory areas as the recognized danger, or discomfort is stored in a way that in pattern matching the discomfort is recognized. Finally, like a variable in memory, when the brain comes across that discomfort it releases chemicals in the brain is it is programmed to do (from its genes) when current discomfort occurs.

When you get a chance to look over my post on consciousness please let me know your opinion of this. It would help me place emotions in the widely distributed "I".

>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.)

You have obviously done a lot more thought on this issue than I have, and thanks for setting me straight on it as well. Any information you can contribute helps me to better understand my self and therefore helping me to find ways of achieving immortality.

David Blenkinsop wrote in Re:longevity vs singularity/Question:
>If this identity-defining pointer is a physical process, are you saying
>that a copy only gets the pointer if it somehow inherits the actual,
>original, atoms that the original person was made of?

No I'm not.

>If so, you get into the logical difficulty that living organisms like
>ourselves exchange atoms with the environment on a continuous basis.

I'm well aware of this. But I know more about it than what I've written so far. For the past two years I've been working on an idea that would allow a person to be uploaded into a computer, living a virtual world and be able to still interact with the outside world.

I've responded to your post here because I have to be somewhere in a few minutes and I wanted to let you know I'll post my responses at a later time at Re:longevity vs singularity/Question

For all the other emails I've received lately I'll respond as soon as I can. Thanks for your support.

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