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There's an idea that I picked up in the past that emotional conclusions are sent from the subconscious to the body in the form of feelings. The conscious then detects that feeling from the body and identify the emotion conceptually if it pays attention. Each of our emotion ranging from fear, guilt, anger, love, lust, happiness, etc. can be associated to feelings that affect a specific part of the body. For example: When I feel fear, my upper back tense and I feel a chill come down my spine. When I feel guilt, my chest tighten and I find it hard to breath. When I feel anger, the muscles on my face tighten (external observer may see redness on the face). Lust feels like hunger.

I noticed that when I feel something, if I look for the area of my body that's affected, I can then quickly identify the feeling that I have and use that to search for the thoughts that's causing me to have that feeling. In other words, I do not automatically know what that feeling is without first searching for it in the body.

Does this match Objectivist's Epistemology (OE) or does OE states that the emotion is sent from the subconscious directly to the conscious AND the body simultaneously?

asked Jan 26 '12 at 01:45

Humbug's gravatar image


edited Jan 26 '12 at 18:14

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Objectivist epistemology says that there is no mind/body dichotomy; the mind is part of the body.

I would describe the path or process of emotions to be that they originate in the subconscious, as a near-immediate assessment based on previous value judgments. The emotions are perceived by the conscious mind, which can then focus and use or ignore them, or not focus and be driven by them.

From medical research, it's clear now that felt emotions can be mediated to the rest of the body via the autonomic nervous system; a wide range of conditions (such as allergies, IBS, vasomotor rhinitis, asthma and back and neck pain) are often influenced, if not entirely caused by, emotional stress. However, I'm not aware of any research that says particular body parts are influenced more than others by particular emotions -- at least not in a general sense, though I could imagine that might be true for certain individuals.

If your question is whether feelings reach the conscious mind before the rest of the body, I would say yes, since emotions originate in the subconscious.

answered Jan 26 '12 at 04:16

Rick's gravatar image

Rick ♦

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Asked: Jan 26 '12 at 01:45

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Last updated: Jan 26 '12 at 18:14