Sunday, February 12, 2017

Origin of Emotions, Language and Mind


As i argue in the theory of consciousness i wrote before this, what we call emotions and feelings is actually a primary interface with reality that all living beings have.

This is a copy of that section in my previous article:

We know this because we can see that many "lesser" animals have various "instincts", yet no complicated minds capable of thought like ours.

We know that minds, especially our complicated ones, came much later in the evolution of life.

We call these "instincts" as if that means it's something not worthy of considering. Something "lesser" and easily dismissed. Another way to make ourselves feel greater than the other living beings and so excuse many of our behaviors, which are unfortunately still necessary. But hopefully not for long, as the various “cultured meat” projects and technologies have advanced by strides in recent years.

We know that living beings had such "instincts" since ever life began on this planet.Those early forms of life had no complicated brains or minds to use as interface with reality. But they needed something to understand reality with.
          What some call "sensory input" and usually reduce to just a few basic simplified ones,
despite the actual truth and reality of a very complex and incredibly diverse sensory input
So – the primary interface with reality was created. Physical sensations.

At first very simple, simplest possible, just enough for the simplest survival basics.
The feeling of hot and cold, the feeling of touch, pain, the feeling of hunger, or satisfaction. As life evolved and become more complex, as it expanded into new environments and as those environments became more complex – living beings became more complex, spectrum of sensory inputs became more complex and diverse and so did the primary interface with reality we have.


As we evolved we also developed a separate language to communicate these emotions, better than our gesticulating, body language or other physical behavior can. Better even than our rational language and minds can. Although we try to incorporate and use all of those ways of communication in expressing this understanding of reality through that primary interface.

We call it music.

It is the only language that can properly express the full depth, diversity and width of our primary interface with  reality. There is as many different emotions as there is different kinds of music and songs in the world. And as many as there are different tones, cadences, rhythms, melodies and all other forms music is made of.
Yes, we like to combine the pure emotional language of music and our language of mind and thoughts. To get a fuller, better, more precise expression of all that we are.

 That is why we are at our best when we manage to balance the two main interfaces with reality that we have, our emotions and our rational mind. That is also why we are at our worst when that balance fails or is damaged.

Our emotions provide a deeper primary understanding of reality that our minds cannot efficiently process. Our minds provide a higher level interface with reality that our emotions cannot efficiently  process. They both deeply affect one another - as they should. Both are physical and virtual.

Neither of these two interfaces should take precedence over another, neither should exclude the other. And that is hard to achieve and maintain. Which is why we fail at it so often.


All this got me thinking further and as i was reading other literature and articles about all these subjects it became clear to me that it was this primary interface with reality, the emotions, that created language and so our minds. Or at least pushed the evolution and shape of our minds to a great extent.

I think it is undeniable that the sound is the best tool all living beings have to communicate pure emotions, which are information. Almost every land based animal in the world, even many insects, use sounds to communicate different information on the "emotional" level as we generally think about it. 

The more complex a living being are, the more complex are the sounds they are making.
From the chirping and buzzing of insects to the warning or the rattlesnake to the songs of whales and various guttural sounds various monkeys and apes make. The hissing, mewls and other sounds of cats, the barking of dogs, the howl of the wolves, bird songs, or whistles... I could number different examples for days.

These sounds are the primary, most basic language.
Animals remember and understand them. Even cross species wise. 
A horse will shy away from the sound of the rattlesnake. A dog can remember and understand  human words used for basic commands. A cat will at least understand that its "name" means you are calling it to a meal. And they can all figure out if you are happy or angry, just by the tone of your voice. Apes and monkeys have different sounds they make to make it clear they are angry, or happy or in heat. The birds are the same. (these are basic, simplest examples)

There is a bird in Africa that gives warnings to antelopes or zebras that lions or other predators are approaching by its distinctive calls. Antelopes understand what that sound means. Not on the level of a mind like human is, not translated into words. They understand it on the "emotional" level, in the virtual space of their minds and emotions as a specific meaning. "Instinctual" we call it. 

Now, if animals would use any random sound to communicate and express their feelings, it would be just a chaotic white noise. It would be of no use. That is why, even creatures much simpler then we are, start using specific sounds to communicate specific information. 

The most basic primary sound based meanings. 
It is simply efficient and advantageous tool or a system in many ways. While the opposite, using random sounds, simply doesn't achieve anything valuable. 

It is also clearly very advantageous for survival of the species if your progeny can learn them and understand them. This happens very slowly, i would guess through observation of the older individuals and parents behavior and actually feeling their emotional state through the primary interface we call emotions.

Once this process is repeated over and over through thousands of generations it gets embedded into the very physical structure through evolution and survival of the fittest, or those who are fastest to figure out, understand and adapt to this advantage. Then whatever physical attributes support this get propagated to new generations through the genes and DNA. (recently new knowledge about Epigenetic evolution made it clear this can happen much faster then only through thousands of generations)

In this we can see how our environment, our reality if you will, forces living beings to adapt and change all the way down to the DNA. 

Once you have this system, these basic primitive sound-meanings, the evolution starts working on them too. So individuals who are better, faster and smarter about understanding and using them - have better chances of survival than those who are not so apt. The more of these basic sound-meanings you can create and learn, the more diverse information you can communicate - the bigger the advantage.

Thus this advantageous capability clearly forces and supports development of speed and depth of learning and understanding, or in other words, intelligence.

So it is not that we developed intelligence first and then started to develop language. It is the other way around.

  • First the primary interface with reality is developed. The "emotions", our physical sensations of reality. Whoever is better at it has better chances of survival, and spreads the genes that support attributes that create and support that capability. 
  • The sound is an inescapable part of our nature and environment. Movement itself creates sound so it is one of the basic effects of reality living creatures learn to understand as a sign of danger, or recognition of pray at the most basic primitive level.
  • Then living beings start to use sound to communicate the most basic information, simply because the sound is already there and provides clear advantages. 
  • Evolution works again and the most adapted to this new advantage survive. Evolution  pushes and supports any physical attribute that supports this trait or capability.
  • One of the most valuable tools in understanding and reliably and quickly using this advantageous ability is intelligence. 
  • The "vocabulary" then expands and becomes more complex and diverse.
  • This supports survival of the more intelligent individuals or species.
  • In turn the intelligence and survival force and support creation of even more sound-meanings.
  • Which pushes and supports development of intelligence.

Force feedback loops. One affects the other.

After thousands of generations, this process creates first sound based meanings. Sounds that have specific meanings. These sound-meanings force a mind to develop out of primary virtual space. Or in it. A mind that uses mental representations of these sound-meanings.


And accompanying increase in intelligence needed to understand them and use them quickly, reliably and correctly.

That is how and why we think in words today.
That is why our kids have the capability to learn and understand words and learn to think in words. 

To be clear, sounds are not the only reality feature that supports development of intelligence. 
Or the only feature that supports survival. Many other physical attributes are very important for survival. Physical strength is one, physical speed and agility another. Therefore - predators and prey.
The choice of nutrition plays a big role there too, of course.   
Those creatures who are omnivores have a bigger advantage then either predators or prey (usually plant eaters) which are limited by their source of food and nutrition. And the environment plays a big role in that. An ice age, climate change or an asteroid strike... and its all gone, reversed back to the early starting stages. 

Additionally, if your main survival advantage is physical strength then other advantages stagnate.
That is why predators generally don't have complex minds. They have minds and intelligence, but nothing close to humans. And they can be very smart or intelligent in their own way, especially when dealing with their own environment demands.

The same effect can be seen in human race, as it is usual that the biggest and strongest specimens of our kind are generally not that intelligent or knowledgeable. This shouldn't be taken as some kind of absolute, there are always exceptions to the rules and it is also true that intelligent people can be very faulty in other ways. And thats putting it very lightly. Because intelligence alone is not what makes a good person.

But if you are lucky, an omnivore, and had developed diverse advantageous usage of sound-meanings - which forces development of intelligence - well, that intelligence also has other uses.
Development of a mind that then develops more complex language and starts to think in "words" is only one of them. 

As i argued above, and as we all know, this does not substitute or removes the old primary interface with reality, our physical sensations, our feelings - our emotions. It provides us with another layer of understanding reality, another tool which has its own specific uses and limits, or faults. Just like the primary interface has its own specific uses and limits, or faults.

The primary interface, our emotions and instincts provide us with a quick reaction time to a whole spectrum of sensory inputs that our minds would simply take too long to comprehend. 
It also enables us to feel and care. All of the incredibly diverse spectrum our emotions are.
Which are as diverse as they are because they translate reality in all its diversity. Objective and subjective too. 

Our minds on the other hand give us capabilities to disassemble reality, to simplify and constrain it into specific and useful meaningful terms and descriptions which then evolve into our language, culture and science. None of which could be achieved by our primary interface alone.

Yet without emotional anchors to reality we would become careless, empty husks without meaning.
Limited in our understanding of reality to the point of being delusional. Separated from it.

This is why we need both of them and why we are at our best when we manage to balance them.

Or... at our worst when we fail at that, one way or another.

Further assumptions, thoughts and meanings:

It seems that after our minds slowly developed, as our cerebral cortex grew and evolved through millions of years and as we gained so much advantages through our abilities to disassemble and simplify reality into specific terms, sounds that carry specific meanings - words, we started to think that is the most important feature we have.

Understandably so, because it obviously gave us so much. And because that inner voice in our heads is very noticeable, right? But our mistake is in thinking that thinking is the only thing we should value, to the exclusion of our primary interface with reality.

This is why today so many of the intellectuals value thinking and "rationality" so much they almost despise emotions. (see what i did there?) The rejection is deep and diverse, although it is at the same time really obvious no human can divest himself from emotions entirely, and that many of these rejections are actually emotionally motivated and fueled.

Emotions are just chemical reactions, right? They are just instinct, evolutionary leftovers, etc, etc.

Our minds are strongly focused on this kind of dissembling of reality.  Our thinking is deeply dependent on reduction of anything we are trying to figure out into some kind of simplest ingredients.
Everything we think of, we have to first slap some kind of label (a word) over. To simplify it. To constrain it into a specific meaning.

And that is the very reason why we have problems thinking about our emotions.
Because when you try to disassemble them, or reduce them into specific words - we feel something is lost in the translation. That is not just a "feeling" but actual understanding that is deeper then our thoughts. While we know we are not capable to even properly describe some emotions at all, by using words or our thoughts, which are the virtual representations of these sound-meanings in our virtual minds and consciousness.

Bellow this i added several links to various articles and scientific studies that support my ideas.
From the way how a monkey figured out a specific sound gives him advantage over the others which lead directly to capability to understand lying, to how and why even Science itself suffers from falsification by various scientists who wish to become more famous or to falsely push their own preferences, agendas and desires as true to such an extent that scientists themselves cannot handle the amounts of false studies anymore.

To the newest neuro-science discoveries about much more complex role our primary cerebellum has.
Our deeper "little brain", the earlier evolutionary product around which our cortex and higher intellectual capabilities formed much later.


Fish recorded singing chorus just like birds

Monkeys lie to one another

How insects like bumblebees do so much with tiny brains

Neuroscientists just accidentally discovered a whole new role for the cerebellum

Why facts dont change our minds

High tech war on cheating in Science

A higher-order theory of emotional consciousness
A new proper scientific paper that basically argues for the same as i do

and the link to the pdf of it:

A Higher-order theory of emotional consciousness PDF

Jordan Peterson: 2017 Personality 15: Biology/Traits: The Limbic System

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