The Manifold of Sense - Part III

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Several psychologists have shown that feelings precede cognition in infants. Animals also probably react before thinking. Does this mean thatrepparttar affective system reacts instantaneously, without any ofrepparttar 126338 appraisal and survey processes that were postulated? If this wererepparttar 126339 case, then we merely play with words: we invent explanations to label our feelings AFTER we fully experience them. Emotions, therefore, can be had without any cognitive intervention. They provoke unlearned bodily patterns, such asrepparttar 126340 aforementioned facial expressions and body language. This vocabulary of expressions and postures is not even conscious. When information about these reactions reachesrepparttar 126341 brain, it assigns to themrepparttar 126342 appropriate emotion. Thus, affect creates emotion and not vice versa.

Sometimes, we hide our emotions in order to preserve our self-image or not to incur society's wrath. Sometimes, we are not aware of our emotions and, as a result, deny or diminish them.

C. An Integrative Platform A Proposal

(The terminology used in this chapter is explored inrepparttar 126343 previous ones.)

The use of one word to denote a whole process wasrepparttar 126344 source of misunderstandings and futile disputations. Emotions (feelings) are processes, not events, or objects. Throughout this chapter, I will, therefore, userepparttar 126345 term "Emotive Cycle".

The genesis ofrepparttar 126346 Emotive Cycle lies inrepparttar 126347 acquisition of Emotional Data. In most cases, these are made up of Sense Data mixed with data related to spontaneous internal events. Even when no access to sensa is available,repparttar 126348 stream of internally generated data is never interrupted. This is easily demonstrated in experiments involving sensory deprivation or with people who are naturally sensorily deprived (blind, deaf and dumb, for instance). The spontaneous generation of internal data andrepparttar 126349 emotional reactions to them are always there even in these extreme conditions. It is true that, even under severe sensory deprivation,repparttar 126350 emoting person reconstructs or evokes past sensory data. A case of pure, total, and permanent sensory deprivation is nigh impossible. But there are important philosophical and psychological differences between real life sense data and their representations inrepparttar 126351 mind. Only in grave pathologies is this distinction blurred: in psychotic states, when experiencing phantom pains followingrepparttar 126352 amputation of a limb or inrepparttar 126353 case of drug induced images and after images. Auditory, visual, olfactory and other hallucinations are breakdowns of normal functioning. Normally, people are well aware of and strongly maintainrepparttar 126354 difference between objective, external, sense data andrepparttar 126355 internally generated representations of past sense data.

The Emotional Data are perceived byrepparttar 126356 emoter as stimuli. The external, objective component has to be compared to internally maintained databases of previous such stimuli. The internally generated, spontaneous or associative data, have to be reflected upon. Both needs lead to introspective (inwardly directed) activity. The product of introspection isrepparttar 126357 formation of qualia. This whole process is unconscious or subconscious.

Ifrepparttar 126358 person is subject to functioning psychological defense mechanisms (e.g., repression, suppression, denial, projection, projective identification) qualia formation will be followed by immediate action. The subject not having had any conscious experience will not be aware of any connection between his actions and preceding events (sense data, internal data andrepparttar 126359 introspective phase). He will be at a loss to explain his behaviour, becauserepparttar 126360 whole process did not go through his consciousness. To further strengthen this argument, we may recall that hypnotized and anaesthetized subjects are not likely to act at all even inrepparttar 126361 presence of external, objective, sensa. Hypnotized people are likely to react to sensa introduced to their consciousness byrepparttar 126362 hypnotist and which had no existence, whether internal or external, prior torepparttar 126363 hypnotist's suggestion. It seems that feeling, sensation and emoting exist only if they pass through consciousness. This is true even where no data of any kind are available (such as inrepparttar 126364 case of phantom pains in long amputated limbs). But such bypasses of consciousness arerepparttar 126365 less common cases.

More commonly, qualia formation will be followed by Feeling and Sensation. These will be fully conscious. They will lead torepparttar 126366 triple processes of surveying, appraisal/evaluation and judgment formation. When repeated often enough judgments of similar data coalesce to form attitudes and opinions. The patterns of interactions of opinions and attitudes with our thoughts (cognition) and knowledge, within our conscious and unconscious strata, give rise to what we call our personality. These patterns are relatively rigid and are rarely influenced byrepparttar 126367 outside world. When maladaptive and dysfunctional, we talk about personality disorders.

Judgements contain, therefore strong emotional, cognitive and attitudinal elements which team up to create motivation. The latter leads to action, which both completes one emotional cycle and starts another. Actions are sense data and motivations are internal data, which together form a new chunk of emotional data.

Emotional cycles can be divided to Phrastic nuclei and Neustic clouds (to borrow a metaphor from physics). The Phrastic Nucleus isrepparttar 126368 content ofrepparttar 126369 emotion, its subject matter. It incorporatesrepparttar 126370 phases of introspection, feeling/sensation, and judgment formation. The Neustic cloud involvesrepparttar 126371 ends ofrepparttar 126372 cycle, which interface withrepparttar 126373 world:repparttar 126374 emotional data, onrepparttar 126375 one hand andrepparttar 126376 resulting action onrepparttar 126377 other.

We started by saying thatrepparttar 126378 Emotional Cycle is set in motion by Emotional Data, which, in turn, are comprised of sense data and internally generated data. Butrepparttar 126379 composition ofrepparttar 126380 Emotional Data is of prime importance in determiningrepparttar 126381 nature ofrepparttar 126382 resulting emotion and ofrepparttar 126383 following action. If more sense data (than internal data) are involved andrepparttar 126384 component of internal data is weak in comparison (it is never absent) we are likely to experience Transitive Emotions. The latter are emotions, which involve observation and revolve around objects. In short: these are "out-going" emotions, that motivate us to act to change our environment.

Yet, ifrepparttar 126385 emotional cycle is set in motion by Emotional Data, which are composed mainly of internal, spontaneously generated data we will end up with Reflexive Emotions. These are emotions that involve reflection and revolve aroundrepparttar 126386 self (for instance, autoerotic emotions). It is here thatrepparttar 126387 source of psychopathologies should be sought: in this imbalance between external, objective, sense data andrepparttar 126388 echoes of our mind.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and

Visit Sam's Web site at

The Manifold of Sense - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

The proto-psychologists James and Lange have (separately) proposed that emotions arerepparttar experiencing of physical responses to external stimuli. They are mental representations of totally corporeal reactions. Sadness is what we callrepparttar 126337 feeling of crying. This was phenomenological materialism at its worst. To have full-blown emotions (not merely detached observations), one needed to experience palpable bodily symptoms. The James-Lange Theory apparently did not believe that a quadriplegic can have emotions, since he definitely experiences no bodily sensations. Sensationalism, another form of fanatic empiricism, stated that all our knowledge derived from sensations or sense data. There is no clear answer torepparttar 126338 question how do these sensa (=sense data) get coupled with interpretations or judgements. Kant postulatedrepparttar 126339 existence of a "manifold of sense" repparttar 126340 data supplied torepparttar 126341 mind through sensation. Inrepparttar 126342 "Critique of Pure Reason" he claimed that these data were presented torepparttar 126343 mind in accordance with its already preconceived forms (sensibilities, like space and time). But to experience means to unify these data, to cohere them somehow. Even Kant admitted that this is brought about byrepparttar 126344 synthetic activity of "imagination", as guided by "understanding". Not only was this a deviation from materialism (what material is "imagination" made of?) it was also not very instructive.

The problem was partly a problem of communication. Emotions are qualia, qualities as they appear to our consciousness. In many respects they are like sense data (which brought aboutrepparttar 126345 aforementioned confusion). But, as opposed to sensa, which are particular, qualia are universal. They are subjective qualities of our conscious experience. It is impossible to ascertain or to analyzerepparttar 126346 subjective components of phenomena in physical, objective terms, communicable and understandable by all rational individuals, independent of their sensory equipment. The subjective dimension is comprehensible only to conscious beings of a certain type (=withrepparttar 126347 right sensory faculties). The problems of "absent qualia" (can a zombie/a machine pass for a human being despiterepparttar 126348 fact that it has no experiences) and of "inverted qualia" (what we both call "red" might have been called "green" by you if you had my internal experience when seeing what we call "red") are irrelevant to this more limited discussion. These problems belong torepparttar 126349 realm of "private language". Wittgenstein demonstrated that a language cannot contain elements which it would be logically impossible for anyone but its speaker to learn or understand. Therefore, it cannot have elements (words) whose meaning isrepparttar 126350 result of representing objects accessible only torepparttar 126351 speaker (for instance, his emotions). One can use a language either correctly or incorrectly. The speaker must have at his disposal a decision procedure, which will allow him to decide whether his usage is correct or not. This is not possible with a private language, because it cannot be compared to anything.

In any case,repparttar 126352 bodily upset theories propagated by James et al. did not account for lasting or dispositional emotions, where no external stimulus occurred or persisted. They could not explain on what grounds do we judge emotions as appropriate or perverse, justified or not, rational or irrational, realistic or fantastic. If emotions were nothing but involuntary reactions, contingent upon external events, devoid of context then how come we perceive drug induced anxiety, or intestinal spasms in a detached way, not as we do emotions? Puttingrepparttar 126353 emphasis on sorts of behavior (asrepparttar 126354 behaviorists do) shiftsrepparttar 126355 focus torepparttar 126356 public, shared aspect of emotions but miserably fails to account for their private, pronounced, dimension. It is possible, after all, to experience emotions without expressing them (=without behaving). Additionally,repparttar 126357 repertory of emotions available to us is much larger thanrepparttar 126358 repertory of behaviours. Emotions are subtler than actions and cannot be fully conveyed by them. We find even human language an inadequate conduit for these complex phenomena.


Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and

Visit Sam's Web site at

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