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The Nature of Emotions

Monday, September 1, 2008

I often wonder...
Are they the core language of the mind?
Are most basic level functioning of the thought process?
Are they to the human brain what machine language is to a microprocessor?

Or is it quite the contrary?
Are they the highest level of the thought process?
Are they the shorthand summary of thinking?
Are they to the human brain what a very high level language is like to a computer system?

There are days when I feel this way. Then there are days when I think that way.

Sometimes, even when you have the thought, you need to develop the feel to finally be able to do it. Thus it is just how a higher level language needs to be first converted to machine language code. Only then can it be executed. For us in this case the thought is the higher level language and the emotion is the lower level or machine language. (That I have used emotions and feelings interchangeably in the above discussion is inconsequential to me. I think the debate of their
difference of definition is purely academic.)

Then again I look at it in a different way and conclude differently.
Sometimes when I think a lot about something, the thinking gets fuzzier and fuzzier. Finally, there is just an emotion or feel left. That emotion or feel summarises the whole thought. Next time when I 'think that emotion' directly or indirectly, I am 'reminded of' all the thoughts I had thought. My mind can further derive and develop upon that thought by memerly attaching to and uploading that one summary emotion in memory. Such 'emotion thoughts' help me in every thing. Number processing, visualising, stc. So you see a very compact emotion carries in itself a lot of involved thought. Just like a single high level instruction may actually maps on to thousands of machine language instructions.

So what do you think? Emotions: The core form or the derived tool of the brain?
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  1. Your post has quite many conflicts.

    Thoughts and emotions is an oxymoron.

  2. Is that what you think or what you feel ;)

    (Half of that question is in serious sense, showing that maybe they are not so different after all)

  3. This is not a psychologist's opinion.
    This is my opinion. I just happen to be a psychologist but am really not thinking about the theories that I have learned in class.

    People say that we either use our heads to make a decision or our hearts.

    If we are using our head, its a thought.
    If we are using our heart, its a feeling.

    So how can a thought and feeling be the same thing? Moreover, though I have not taken many classes in physiological psychology, I am pretty sure that different areas of the brain are activated when one is thinking as opposed to when one is feeling.

  4. Dude... dont ask me why, but i enjoyed reading it!!

    But then i am an ardent fan :D

  5. Wow, conflicting ideas. I'm not too sure though.
    Although I love the way you write :)

  6. Hey solitaire,

    I'll have to answer your comment in detail. Will do it in a few days.

    Paradox Philic,

    Thanks. Glad you like it. I actually feel/think there may be something like it. Have not written it just like that or for-the-heck-of-it like I usually do. AI remember ;)?

    Ki, are you related to computers or brain science? If not, you are forgiven for not being sure. After all, there is a famous song
    "Bulla KI jana mein kaun....!" ;)

    But if you are related or do have some thoughts about it, dont hesitate to post in comment!

    And thanks for the compliment :)

  7. Nope, I'm not related to either, thank god! :)

  8. Core form, I guess. Because that is what happens to me most of the time rather than happening of 'emotion thoughts'.

  9. @ki,

    Why? They are both so fascinating!


    Aha welcome back.
    Such a cryptic comment!
    Tell me if I understood you correctly...

    You think emotions are the core or machine language of the brain-processor. Because thats how you find your brain functions rather than lots of thoughts bundling up into a higher level emotion - 'emotion thought' right?

  10. No. I meant other way round.

    I meant that most of the time I will conclude my thoughts with feelings. For example, when thinking thinking & thinking about some movie at last I will end up with emotion or say feeling. No thoughts will remain. Only emotions/feeling.

    But when I think about that movie again those thoughts will not come again. Only an emotion is attached to it. No thoughts will be attached with those emotion.
    So all in all, when I think deeply conclusion of it comes to be just an emotion. But when I think again about that thing those same thoughts are not re-appearing. Only emotion re-appears.

  11. Well Stupidosaur, I couldn't understand your post, or maybe didn't even try to do so very hard. :P Sorry about that. But commenting here is irresistible 'cuz I just had to actually think very intensely for 2 min to answer this; and you might know how much 2 min of intensive thinking actually is!

    So, I put down my conclusion.

    The most tempting-to-point-out difference is the sense of volition we feel with 'thoughts'. But as you might already agree, this feeling could be illusory.

    What differentiates thoughts from emotions is the specificity and variety of the former, whereas, latter is somewhat nonspecific, and can be categorized into very few narrow categories.

    Just like how it had got discussed on my post of free will, it's the extraordinarily high number of options that we have in matter of thoughts that brings about this feeling.

    Also, genesis of thoughts requires a certain kind of learning. For instance, in your post on amulicecream, the thought about 'lice' came because you knew such a word exists. Whereas, the yucky (for want of a better term--vibhatsya--in Hindi) feeling that visualization of lice cream could bring is sort of inbuilt.

    But yes, 'new' emotions can develop--for instance, sexual attraction. But if Freud is to believed, then even sexual attraction is inbuilt, and just not recognized correctly in childhood.

    I know I've not been adequately able to address what you wanted to know, but couldn't get more coherent than this.

    This is the most spontaneous poem I'd written. Very vaguely related to this post:


    And, one of the readers went missing since long [don't know what punctuation mark to put here]



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