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

Crosby_M (
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 12:10:00 -0400

Chris Hind:
<Why deny the fact that emotion is vestigial and only for mere
entertainment now that we have logic?>

Michael Butler:
<Eliminate dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine from my
system, take out all the endocrine substances that are not currently
known to act as neurotransmitters -- I doubt that I'd feel like doing
anything at all, even think.>

David D.:
<I wouldn't mind volunteering for that experiment. But without
experiment we'll never know. Emotion might be to
extropian/transhumanists as the genes that produce fetal hemoglobin are
to adult humans. Worthy at one time, but now, so much garbage.>

As Anders likes to sometimes say, "It's a little more subtle than that

Thalamus damage seems central to some comas. The thalamus being a
mid-brain structure and the central relay station in memory retrieval.
Also, the brain stem, particularly the reticular activating system, is
essential for attention. The midbrain structures are primarily
dopamine-driven while the brainstem structures are primarily

It might be that these neurotransmitters and endocrine substances are
_somewhat_ like the software elements of the brain, compared to the
hardware of the neural circuitry. Which of these 'essential nutrients'
would you chose to give up first in your quest to become a 'Vulcan'?

On the other hand, coma cases, as well as the less extreme cases of
autism, or even experiments with ones own brain chemistry (want to try
some ketamine?), can perhaps tell us much about what we may expect to
occur in the first uploaded human minds (where there is not yet a
sophisticated artificial reality for them to live in) or minds that have
primarily sealed themselves off their own virtual reality 'basement
universes' or 'dungeons'.

Mark Crosby