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10 hours ago, Peter said:

It's always fun to introspect and remember your oldest thoughts and emotions. I can remember wanting to be held, talked to, and loved by my Mother. I may have been two years old. Where did those emotions come from? Instinct? Learned response? Pleasure/pain response?   

Every indication to me (um, by "instinct"? Heh) is that it's the pleasure-pain response, Peter. The human animal must also need the 'grooming' which the other mammals (when infants and as mature adults) visibly need. Funny how touch always seemed secondary for me to sight. Now I think it's the king of sensations, and not for nothing is our skin and the thousands of nerve receptors considered the largest organ in the body. One can touch with one's sensitive fingertips and be touched. Sense the changes in air pressure and humidity, etc. The psychological stimulus of being stroked and soothed is positive - life-affirming - to the subconscious, I guess and I sort of recollect from extensive research made that lacking that in infancy has some psychological consequences. A baby commonly gurgles while being groomed and hearing baby-talk, and that is about all the evidence needed about values, that she feels "good".

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From "the particular" (this trade, today's sunrise, this water, etc.etc). to "the general" (all trades, all sunrises, all oceans) IS induction. And it requires cognitive effort to avoid drawing f

Top down and bottom up are not either-or. They are mental frames for perceiving and mentally processing reality. You need both to get a clear picture. Choosing one over the other is linear t

You might also want to check out Harlow's monkeys: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Harlow Ellen

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2 hours ago, anthony said:

The psychological stimulus of being stroked and soothed is positive, life-affirming, to the subconscious, I guess and I sort of recollect from extensive research made that lacking that in infancy has some psychological consequences.

Folks here will likely remember something of the plight of those in Romania's "child gulags."  A new Atlantic article offers a deep dive, which some might find useful to discussion:

30 Years Ago, Romania Deprived Thousands of Babies of Human Contact | Here’s what’s become of them

Quote

[..] The benefits for children who’d achieved secure attachments accrued as time went on. At age 4.5, they had significantly lower rates of depression and anxiety and fewer “callous unemotional traits” (limited empathy, lack of guilt, shallow affect) than their peers still in institutions. About 40 percent of teenagers in the study who’d ever been in orphanages, in fact, were eventually diagnosed with a major psychiatric condition. Their growth was stunted, and their motor skills and language development stalled. MRI studies revealed that the brain volume of the still-institutionalized children was below that of the never institutionalized, and EEGs showed profoundly less brain activity. “If you think of the brain as a light bulb,” Charles Nelson has said, “it’s as though there was a dimmer that had reduced them from a 100-watt bulb to 30 watts.”

[...]

 

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5 hours ago, Peter said:

It's always fun to introspect and remember your oldest thoughts and emotions. I can remember wanting to be held, talked to, and loved by my Mother. I may have been two years old. Where did those emotions come from? Instinct? Learned response? Pleasure/pain response?   

Of course, the interactions between a mother and child are so important for a child's development. Being touched vs not being touched makes a huge different. The sound of a mother's voice will calm a child. Reducing emotions to a product of reason precludes all this valuable information about what we are.

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1 hour ago, william.scherk said:

MRI studies revealed that the brain volume of the still-institutionalized children was below that of the never institutionalized, and EEGs showed profoundly less brain activity.

That's amazing. I've heard Jordan Peterson reference these studies several times.

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10 hours ago, Dglgmut said:

If it's unknown, how can it generate an emotion? If you're going to break it down into a logical process, the unknown should have no value. This is another example where the value is very clear in the evolutionary terms that you reject. In a state of nature the unknown is very dangerous, and we still see that instinct even though a child is safe in his/her room but is afraid of what might be in the closet.

This is what I'm saying. You're getting all of your information from introspection... it's not enough. What you're describing is not compatibilism; it's another form of dualism where the mind controls matter. You've restricted this metaphysics to the brain for some reason.

 

What is the ultimate value in your system of self-programmed emotions? Life, right? Okay, the desire to live is the foundational emotion. There is no reason there, it's just a feeling. Life is better than not life, then you use reason to build on that and find derivative values from there (which are further built upon with reason). Can we at least agree that the value for life itself is automatic and not a position we've reasoned ourselves into?

You keep skating past what I actually say, Dg. Break it down "into a logical process", the unknown has to have (non)value if life is the objective. Rationality and "knowing" ~must~ be the highest value. The life-value which is subconscious at first, and explicitly learned later, the value of your life, of staying alive.

Nine times along you assert the emotions come first, in every respect, of procedure -and- importance, but all you have is the assertion and won't hear of anything else. This "automatic desire" for life is exactly what humans don't have. That attitude leads usually into altruism and negation of the self. It is instead a consciously-aware, rational and selfish desire

Not monism and not dualism, I need to repeat. Trouble is, your approach is that much influenced by materialist-monism - "it's all physical" - that you mistake the compatibilism/integration of mind/brain as meaning I indicate 'spiritual'-monism. Or even, dualism.

Your approach is very much in line with scholars of the no-mind, no-self.

"Eliminativism" this view is sometimes named and "eliminative-materialism", going as a philosophy of the mind...

btw, do you accept there is subconsciousness? Probably not, you'd need to accept consciousness first.

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3 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Folks here will likely remember something of the plight of those in Romania's "child gulags."  A new Atlantic article offers a deep dive, which some might find useful to discussion.

You might also want to check out Harlow's monkeys:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Harlow

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Harry Frederick Harlow (October 31, 1905 – December 6, 1981) was an American psychologist best known for his maternal-separation, dependency needs, and social isolation experiments on rhesus monkeys, which manifested the importance of caregiving and companionship to social and cognitive development. He conducted most of his research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow worked with him for a short period of time.

Ellen

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1 hour ago, Ellen Stuttle said:
4 hours ago, william.scherk said:

A new Atlantic article offers a deep dive, which some might find useful to discussion.

You might also want to check out Harlow's monkeys:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Harlow

Harlow was briefly mentioned in the Atlantic article ...

HarlowMonkeys.png

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Thanks, William/Ellen. The Harlow study of maternal deprivation ( and implied, of its contrast) seems to confirm the view of the pleasure-pain "mechanism" being the essential base to the person's developing values and evaluative system. So of a healthy psychology when undeprived.

I think it certainly bears on (the emotion of) empathy, but not how you'd conceive it. I'd accede to some early reciprocity - i.e.the feeling of pain (and pleasure) for me, the child, equates with the same in the other little beings. Sensed: They feel just like me. For the same 'causes'. Fell down, bumped his head, cries, wails, etc.

However, with individuation into adulthood, one is making vastly more value-judgments that might greatly differ from others and theirs. We can and do identify differently and so value accordingly. Therefore, to a person seen/identified to be in some trouble or pain ( alternately, in delight) it is to our own value-system that one instantly turns. By one's own standards comes the empathy one feels, therefore is ultimately self-based. This explained for me the once-puzzling range of emotional reactions I'd always noticed different people have to the identical "disturbance", situation or occurrence - and others' discomfort.

At times, from a person I knew well.

Obviously: differing value-judgments.

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16 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Folks here will likely remember something of the plight of those in Romania's "child gulags."  A new Atlantic article offers a deep dive, which some might find useful to discussion:

30 Years Ago, Romania Deprived Thousands of Babies of Human Contact | Here’s what’s become of them

William,

I just read that.

It makes me angry.

Why in hell would anyone want to be a socialist or promote socialism knowing that was possible with just one bad actor?

There was no way to fix that kind of human experimentation under Ceaușescu except one--overthrow the system and kill him.

Nowadays people want technocrats to experiment on humans and treat them like lab rats. And it's all so very interesting for people to talk about and feel about--unless you are the rat.

Michael

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Dg, You should be interested in the major experiment on emotions already under way.

Millions of human test subjects have been separated into 3 test groups.

Group A. Acts out *anger*.

B. acts out *guilt* at A.'s anger

and Test Group C, acts out their *disgust* at both A and B.

Three "points of view" are represented but only one emotion can be empirically declared proper to the circumstances.

Adjudicators are processing the data, the future of civilisation hangs on which group best uses its emotion as a tool of cognition.

(But many observers object: "Emotions are instinctively given. All groups and their emotions are right and proper, they have the right to their feelings! We will not allow the supremacy of one emotion over others!")

 

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21 hours ago, anthony said:

Group A. Acts out *anger*.

There are layers to this, it's not just one emotion and one step of cognition. It's a basic emotion, cognition, another emotion, more cognition, another emotion, more cognition.... An error in cognition will create an error in emotion and will taint further cognition. So "anger" is far from the starting point. The fulcrum, I think, for the deviation that leads to the anger is shame, but that isn't to say shame is the foundation of the whole belief structure. The starting point for everyone is something like the desire to be/do, or perhaps the "will to power" (ego)--which is even more fundamental than the desire to know, as knowledge ultimately serves as a means to that end.

 

Emotion is not a tool of cognition, it's the FUEL for cognition. There is, again, evolutionary justification for this. Anger is not a good emotion for understanding the complexities of a situation, but sometimes it is not in your best interest to think things through, because there simply isn't time. Sometimes acting rational can put you in more danger when being feared is the only thing that will keep you alive.

 

I think the problem is that you feel, and Rand felt, the need to explain how free will works... and you can't. I just know determinism doesn't make sense because there is such a thing as self-awareness, and self-awareness bridges the gap of duality. If all processes of the mind are predetermined and are only observed, then there would be no self to be aware of.

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3 hours ago, Dglgmut said:

There are layers to this, it's not just one emotion and one step of cognition. It's a basic emotion, cognition, another emotion, more cognition, another emotion, more cognition.... An error in cognition will create an error in emotion and will taint further cognition. So "anger" is far from the starting point. The fulcrum, I think, for the deviation that leads to the anger is shame, but that isn't to say shame is the foundation of the whole belief structure. The starting point for everyone is something like the desire to be/do, or perhaps the "will to power" (ego)--which is even more fundamental than the desire to know, as knowledge ultimately serves as a means to that end.

 

Emotion is not a tool of cognition, it's the FUEL for cognition. There is, again, evolutionary justification for this. Anger is not a good emotion for understanding the complexities of a situation, but sometimes it is not in your best interest to think things through, because there simply isn't time. Sometimes acting rational can put you in more danger when being feared is the only thing that will keep you alive.

 

I think the problem is that you feel, and Rand felt, the need to explain how free will works... and you can't. I just know determinism doesn't make sense because there is such a thing as self-awareness, and self-awareness bridges the gap of duality. If all processes of the mind are predetermined and are only observed, then there would be no self to be aware of.

THE aspect you are still missing, that comes between cognition - emotion - cognition - etc. (and this sequence, you refer to, is simple introspection of ones' emotions, while good and necessary. Like checking your premises it "fuels" further investigation about your emotions and how fitting or not they were ), and what is your missing gap,  one's evaluation: Cognition - evaluation - emotion.

Is this thing or idea I identify, good or bad for me? THAT is what becomes repetitively self-programed in the subconscious, THAT is what gives rise to an emotion (really only an instantaneous, automated 'dumb' response to the value-judgments you feed it).

If one feeds in good and true information with objectively true evaluations, you get out appropriate emotions. They tell you only, warn you, that something is wrong, The negative emotions, anger, fear, guilt, hatred - are perfectly good and true, IF they are responses to reality from prior rational judgments. There is everything proper about negative feelings if your judgments were proper and certain circumstances warrant them. Likewise the positive emotions are one's deserved rewards informing you that something you do or perceive is "right". Then one would receive positive feedback encouraging further cognition and similar actions.

When someone makes subjective identifications and evaluations, the anger, etc. will be, inappropriate to circumstances, irrational, and terrible tools of cognition. And acting out the anger will generally cause harm to someone and oneself. Say one regularly feeds in a destructive/hedonistic activity as being 'good', the emotion which follows will be "pleasure". (Evidence enough that emotions do not "know" better). The pleasure inclines one to further self-destructive activity, and so on. Subjectivity comes down to "because I feel like it". The subjectivist is the one most likely to use his feelings as tools of cognition, when he should be the last.

The prerequisite of "good or bad" objective evaluations is one and one's life: do I see and have the highest (objective) value in myself and my living? By one standard, the ethical standard "man's life" corresponding to the standard, reality.  

 

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What you are dancing around, Dg, is the glaring fact that there is a host of possible emotions which a host of different people will and do experience to the same thing. That was the point of my Experiment, playing out globally at present. Whose emotions will prevail? The outraged haters, or the hater-empathizers who prostrate themselves in guilty atonement - or who?

The same thing or individual or idea has its emotional proponents and its antagonists. (And others who think-feel it's all wrong). Those who e.g. feel empathy for a person, and those who feel hatred. Who is right? If one is that way inclined one can feel empathy for the most hateful actions and persons or ideologies. One's empathy then is meaningless or corrupted. Only an objective assessment, not one's own emotions, can elicit any truth. 

That empirical fact of competing emotions, demolishes any notion that his emotion is a true and moral indicator for everybody or anyone. Second, it is final proof that each person forms his emotional responses (by default, much of the time).

When arguing this with others I observed that in defending primacy of emotion, people are always defending their OWN emotions. Explains why some get so angry. Many apparently feel their OWN emotions, are right and moral. Sure, they are invested in them. Emotions make them feel virtuous and connected. There is a certain conceit in that, I believe. 

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3 hours ago, anthony said:

Is this thing or idea I identify, good or bad for me? THAT is what becomes repetitively self-programed in the subconscious, THAT is what gives rise to an emotion (really only an instantaneous, automated 'dumb' response to the value-judgments you feed it).

This process just doesn't happen. People know what is bad for them in some cases, and still feel the desire to do or move towards that thing. Some people know what is good for them and sometimes it feels bad. You're saying they have not programmed themselves properly... no, nature did not program them properly.

 

You do not feed your subconscious value-judgments... you feed it what you experience and what you do, and your subconscious  evaluates those things based on natural criteria. For example, social status is very important to us for evolutionary reasons. Subconsciously we are evaluating our own status whether we are aware of that or not. Behaving in a low-status way may seem more comfortable in the moment, but the long-term repercussions will be lower production of serotonin.

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When arguing this with others I observed that in defending primacy of emotion, people are always defending their OWN emotions. Explains why some get so angry. Many apparently feel their OWN emotions, are right and moral.

This is a straw man and a red herring in one... Who is "defending" emotions? Who is saying emotions are always right and moral? Who is getting angry?

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4 hours ago, Dglgmut said:

This process just doesn't happen. People know what is bad for them in some cases, and still feel the desire to do or move towards that thing. Some people know what is good for them and sometimes it feels bad. You're saying they have not programmed themselves properly... no, nature did not program them properly.

 

You do not feed your subconscious value-judgments... you feed it what you experience and what you do, and your subconscious  evaluates those things based on natural criteria. For example, social status is very important to us for evolutionary reasons. Subconsciously we are evaluating our own status whether we are aware of that or not. Behaving in a low-status way may seem more comfortable in the moment, but the long-term repercussions will be lower production of serotonin.

This is a straw man and a red herring in one... Who is "defending" emotions? Who is saying emotions are always right and moral? Who is getting angry?

I wasn't thinking of you. And be a little more precise, I wrote "defending ~primacy of~ emotions". A big difference. I will and you've seen me defend emotions, for example, as with any rational and healthful mind action..

Did any of Branden's writing sink in?

"Your subconscious evaluates..."

Your subconscious does not evaluate anything. It is incapable. It receives. One *consciously* makes value - judgements  (you think this is good and continue judging it to be good with actions and more thought) - then, forever after, the value is ingrained, or self- programed, into the subconsciousness.  Unless one in future *consciously* changes that value-judgment and the emotions will eventually follow. That girl friend we once had? When you split up, her value to you had to lessen dramatically and (sure enough, for more validation of the causation) those strong emotions aren't there any longer.

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Dg, An explanation of emotional capacity more concisely, I hope: Each infant human animal begins with a necessary (for its survival) animal pain-pleasure mechanism - the sense, touch. (Which she doesn't lose). As her cognition increases, she becomes able to make better and more self-aware pain-pleasure assessments: Does this hurt me, does it please me? And anticipation: Will that hurt me, will it...? etc. And recall: That hurt me ...etc.

"That" is an identification she makes (It is of some "thing" or action). With her even more sophisticated abstraction of such entities, comes too an evolved awareness of "good" and "bad", no longer - only - the physical sensations, pleasure and pain, but advanced value-judgments which could be very complex, which give rise to an incredibly nuanced and wide range of emotional responses. In an instant, faster than thoughtful judgments. As long as Its kept in mind that those judgments from an infant to an adult are subconsciously held - but consciously made. And while the survival element remains, those emotions will relate as much to "flourishing". One's values have become so much higher with mental maturity, and emotions keep pace with them. 

Just think, all those word-concepts that man has developed for each emotion. If you can feel it, you can name it, (maybe not right away) which is to objectify its nature. If you name it, you would not be able to induce it fully, but you certainly know if it is a positive or negative emotion and in what degree. Not concise enough but as long as I communicated how reasoning was the first action in one's mind. For anyone who thinks otherwise as well.

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3 hours ago, anthony said:

As long as Its kept in mind that those judgments from an infant to an adult are subconsciously held - but consciously made. And while the survival element remains, those emotions will relate as much to "flourishing". One's values have become so much higher with mental maturity, and emotions keep pace with the

What's your schematic of the conscious process which results in the typical adolescent's libidinous drives?

Ellen

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9 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

What's your schematic of the conscious process which results in the typical adolescent's libidinous drives?

Ellen

Lust? How conscious is that? Yes of course those chemicals, here testosterone and estrogen have a causal effect. Not instinctual, biological. I saw results of a study: "Testosterone is found to override judgment". You don't say!

But my interest is broader. The sequence of the "psychophysical" emotion, in my view, can only be from consciousness to physicality. E.g. the simultaneous presence of the appropriate brain chemical, seratonin, oxytocin, etc.  released in the blood  ~with~ an emotion only begs the question: What came first? What caused which?  It's made clearer by backtracking from the final physiological effects, which were caused by chemicals acting in parts of the brain, which were caused by subconscious value-judgments, which in turn were made consciously. The last sequence, physiological effects on one's body, are by which one *experiences* an emotion and so mistaken for the real thing.

Sensations and accompanying brain chemicals can be addictive, we know. One is able to cut one's value-judgments "out of the loop". An adrenaline rush (or testosterone rush) can be sought for its own sake, dangerous activities like some partake in, extreme sports and in combat zones. They feel 'good' - the risk and proper fear, induce massively heightened senses - therefore, are good?

(The older man- much younger woman phenomenon is urban legend. Again, sometimes the man (and a woman too) finds some pleasure in those heightened sensations because they take him back to adolescence and its "libidinous drives" as you call them).

It is a kind of reversal, the activity produces the chemicals.

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28 minutes ago, anthony said:

Lust? How conscious is that? Yes of course those chemicals like testosterone and estrogen have a causal effect. Not instinctual, biological. I saw a study which concluded that "Testosterone is found to override judgment". You don't say!

But my interest is with emotions. The sequence of the "psychophysical" emotion can only be from consciousness to physical, and the simultaneous presence of the appropriate brain chemical, seratonin, oxytocin, etc.  released in the blood  ~with~ an emotion only begs the question: What came first? It's made clear by backtracking from the final physiological effects, which were caused by chemicals acting in parts of the brain, which were caused by subconscious value-judgments, which in turn were made consciously. The last sequence, physiological effects on one's body, are by which one *experiences* an emotion.

Sensations can be addictive, we know. One ~can~ cut one's value-judgments "out of the loop". An adrenaline rush (or testosterone rush) can be sought for its own sake, dangerous activities like some partake in, extreme sports and journalists in combat zones. They feel 'good', the risk and fear inducing vastly heightened senses, therefore, are good? (The older man-younger woman phenomenon is legendary. Again, men (and women too)often chasing those heightened sensations which take one back to adolescence and its "libidinous drives" as you call them).

It is a kind of reversal, the activity produces the chemicals.

You have at least three outs built into your argument. Any natural, automatic directing of the mind can either be explained as: "good for me," biological, or the pleasure-pain mechanism. Fear of snakes? That's just because you consciously evaluated the snake as a threat! Sex drive? That's not instinctual, that's just your biology. A child instinctively craves the attention of its mother? That's because the mother brings the child pleasure.

 

Value judgments are not made consciously, and we won't agree because of this. Psychology would not exist if value judgments were made consciously because there wouldn't be a general pattern across all humans. Of course "natural" and "good for me" can overlap quite a bit, depending on how much mental gymnastics you do, so you have your explanation, and if I point out exceptions you have your two other options.

 

However there is one last piece of disconfirming evidence I can think of for your theory: the process of intentionally reprogramming your emotions. If you believe values are consciously chosen, that means significant psychological improvements can be made by thinking alone. This simply doesn't happen. Do the same things in the same environment and you will continue to feel the same (or more of what you were already feeling).

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48 minutes ago, anthony said:

An adrenaline rush (or testosterone rush) can be sought for its own sake, dangerous activities like some partake in, extreme sports and journalists in combat zones. They feel 'good', the risk and fear inducing vastly heightened senses, therefore, are good?

They feel good because you're using hardware that you don't normally use... but is meant to be used semi-regularly.

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It is a kind of reversal, the activity produces the chemicals.

Activity creating chemicals is not the debate, is it? Your claim is that you can think the chemicals into existence. Of course science has essentially proven that the chemicals come before the thought.

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There is a specific brain chemical which is released in the presence of a snake? I think you have badly mixed up biology and instincts and consciousness.

I want to know how anyone can have fear of e.g. snakes without a). being bitten by one b). being warned they are harmful.

You think a child abandoned in the bush would  -instinctively - know to avoid snakes or any possibly dangerous animals?

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7 minutes ago, Dglgmut said:

They feel good because you're using hardware that you don't normally use... but is meant to be used semi-regularly.

Activity creating chemicals is not the debate, is it? Your claim is that you can think the chemicals into existence. Of course science has essentially proven that the chemicals come before the thought.

Then the "science" is rubbish.

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1 hour ago, Dglgmut said:

 

 Your claim is that you can think the chemicals into existence.

 

No you must be right. It is chemicals which control our minds, um - brains. A relevant emotion is determined by our brain chemicals which magically decide what we ought to feel.

So why think at all?

The person is a slave to his random effusion of brain chemicals and that explains why his emotions are a). beyond his understanding b). beyond his volition c). always "perfect" in every situation d). a spiritual connection to others.

 I am learning. 

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On June 22, 2020 at 11:01 AM, Dglgmut said:

I think the problem is that you [Tony] feel, and Rand felt, the need to explain how free will works... and you can't.

The problem of how "free will" (volition) works is solvable.  I know how to solve it in principle, but I need help with the mathematical particulars from a physicist who understands what I'm going for.  My husband, who's a physicist, is fully competent to handle the math, but he doesn't quite get the "gestalt."  He's too influenced in his notions of biology by Aristotle and Rand.

Ellen

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