Friday, September 13, 2013
Human emotions are the phenomenological side of instinctive physiological responses.
This was William James' view, expressed in a chapter of PRINCIPLES, and with a proper extension of credit to James' co-discoverer, Carl Lange.
"Common sense says, we lose our fortune, are sorry and weep; we meet a bear, are frightened and run; we are insulted by a rival, are angry and strike. The hypothesis here to be defended says that this order of sequence is incorrect, that the one mental state is not immediately induced by the other, that the bodily manifestations must first be interposed between, and that the more rational statement is that we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we tremble.... without the bodily states following on the perception, the latter would be purely cognitive in form, pale, colorless, destitute of emotional warmth. We might then see the bear, and judge it best to run, receive the insult and deem it right to strike, but we should not actually feel afraid or angry."
Not only are those words very wise, they give me an excuse to put in here some clip art of a bear, which is always fun.
Below is a cuter bear just in case the one above is too intense.