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TEN ANGER, FEAR, AND SPEED I put a dagger in that pain, and it was no more. Jim Spivey THE FIRST MAJOR WESTERN THINKER to formulate a “mind-body” theory of human emotions was seventeenth-century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza. In a stark departure from the Western tradition of conceiving the mind and the body as completely separate entities made of wholly different substances, Spinoza defined the emotions (or “affects”) as consciously felt physical responses to influences affecting the body’s well-being. He wrote in his Ethics, “By emotion I understand the affections [changes in state] of the body by which the body’s power of activity is increased or diminished, assisted or checked, together with the ideas of these affections.” In other words, according to Spinoza, the primary source of feelings is changes in the state of the body that occur in response to some influence, internal or external. Two centuries later, the development of the theory of evolution provided conceptual tools that enabled thinkers to begin the process of transforming the study of human emotions from a philosophical endeavor into a scientific one. Charles Darwin himself wrote an entire book about human emotions. As you might guess, Darwin argued that emotions are inherited traits that have survived the process of natural selection because they are useful to the organisms that exhibit them. In Darwin’s view, emotions are fundamentally the same in humans and other animals. “Negative emotions” such as anger, fear, and disgust are useful because they encourage us to avoid and defend ourselves against threats and harmful influences, while “positive emotions” encourage us to seek after healthful influences. Darwin also went a few steps further than Spinoza in specifying the changes in body state that underlie the felt aspect of emotions, such as increased heart rate, perspiration, and muscle tension in the case of anger. In the late twentieth century, scientists developed instruments that allowed them to observe the inner workings of the brain. These advances enabled researchers to learn a great deal more about what the emotions are, where they come from, and how they work in relation to other functions of the body and the mind. One of the great pioneers in this field of research has been Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California. Damasio’s work led him to propose that emotion is fundamental to the very fabric of consciousnessthat there is an emotional aspect to every single thought we think and sensation we experience. In The Feeling of What Happens, Damasio argued that consciousness is basically a representation of the state of an organism with respect to both its internal environmentthe bodyand its external environment. These representations of states are inherently evaluative. In other words, the myriad systems that make up the organism, and the organism as a whole, are represented in consciousness always as good or bad, well or unwell, threatened or fortified, to some degree. Hence, consciousness is fundamentally emotional. There is no preemotional or extraemotional consciousness. Consciousness exists solely to let the organism know how it’s doing and to enable the organism to act for its own well-being in more sophisticated ways than it could act if it were not conscious.No money, No problem in NYC \u2013 All the FREE fitness classes listed … Bestcelebritystyle

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