Re: META: Emotions "vestigial"? was Re: On being Extropian

Michael Butler (
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 12:12:12 PST

This is not an either or question: vestigal or not vestigal.
Clearly, emotions come from an older part of the brain, the limibic system
we share with mammals, not the medula we share with reptiles (correct me
if I am wrong about this).

Well, that's a big part of the model. But remember that practically
every interesting molecule in our bodies has at least *two* uses.

Example: epinephrine is a neurotransmitter as well as a hormone.
It's evident that at least *some* hormones are older than nervous systems
themselves. And that they appear to serve as a backup system for
signalling even in mammals is well known--vide the original discovery of
histamine as the agent for stomach-acid secretion in cows with all
the nerves to their stomachs cut (the histamine-stuffynose connection
was discovered later, and the histamine-orgasm connection later
still, I seem to recall).

Wild-assed-guess warning!

This suggests that epinephrine as a heart-speeder-upper may have been
"pressed into" service as a neurotransmitter, or the two functions may
have co-evolved. I don't know who would be able to determine that or
how accurately; archaeo-molecular-biology is a tough science to

So, do flatworms (or whatever critters have hormones) have
rudimentary emotions? :)

Unfortunately, it seems that the
"emotional thinking" we share with other mammals continues on and can only
be overcome with conscious practice. [Anyone watch the Presidential

Well, I have been settling for being able to *browse* my emotional
state and getting practice at focusing my attention.

I'm afraid my attention is too precious a thing these days to waste
on Tweedledum and Tweedledumber. :\ :P :

MMB, at but not for, etc.