Thursday, April 28, 2011

322: The Brain, Shame, Guilt and Pride

Of course we could spend hours debating the exact definitions of the emotions we discuss here. We won't do that and just follow what distinctions are found in scientific literature.

We used a distinction between basic emotions and complex emotions, or in other terms, primary and secondary emotions. So far we have scrutinized the primary emotions.

We looked at them through our Darwinistic glasses. Let's check out what we see through these glasses , when we look at the secondary emotions.

Although we are no definition freaks here, there can be made some clear distinctions between primary and secondary or social emotions.

A first typical difference between the two is, that primary emotions can be experienced individually. I can experience fear, grief or joy all on my own, while secondary emotions need other people, a social context.

We are talking here about the emotions shame, guilt and pride.

A second difference between the two is, that the primary emotions are controlled by the evolutionary older parts of the brain like the amygdala and the limbic system.

The complex emotions mainly reside in the neocortex - the part of the brain which is responsible for our cognitive functions - and more precisely in the prefrontal lobe.

A third difference - and some regard it as the most important one - is that the social emotions are always related to what in philosophy and psychology is called the "Self".

The concept of the Self or Personal Identity is a difficult philosophical subject and we'll save it for later, but it is clear that our awareness of an inner Self requires highly developed cognitive capabilities, like for instance self-reflection.

Sometimes it is suggested that in every complex emotion at least one basic emotion is present, like you can experience joy when you feel proud, or fear when you feel guilty.

There may be cultural influences in basic emotions, of complex emotions it is clear that they are highly influenced by culture.

It is difficult to draw clear demarcation lines between basic and complex emotions like there is a fluent transition from basic almost physical disgust to moral disgust, which is mainly culturally determined.

We'll focus in the next couple of lectures on the complex emotions Shame, Guilt and Pride, which Michael Lewis (1937 - …) called "self aware emotions". They require self-reflection.

Michael Lewis's research has focused on normal and deviant emotional and intellectual development. Through his pioneering efforts in both theory and measurement, he has been one of the leaders in the study of emotional development.

While the causes of basic emotions ( e.g. fear for snakes and spiders) may provoke identical reactions in most people, social emotions work quite differently.

I could feel shame, when someone points at the fact that I "forgot" to inform the income tax about some earnings, while another would feel proud about his getting away with it.

There is another peculiar relation: the relation between secondary or social emotions with obedience. What does that mean?

No society without rules. If we wouldn't follow rules our social world would be a complete chaos. Maybe a kind of Hobbesian world.

To solve the problem of social control evolution has developed a special mechanism. Some call it conscience. We constantly evaluate our behavior

and the result of this permanent evaluation are the feelings of shame, guilt and pride. And this is the advantage of evolution of social emotions: we all have an inner police officer. He watches over our behavior.

The rules and standards are not biologically inherited, but passed on by parents, educators, teachers and so on. It is cultural transmission, but our brain uses them for constant quality surveillance of our actions.

This makes me think….. in an evolutionary sense our basic emotions have served survival of the organisms for millions of year,

while our social emotions, which are closely related with our morality and mainly reside in the prefrontal lobe have an evolutionary much shorter history.

Is this pointing at an explanation why morality is not 100% integrated in the system of the species, like fear?

And that morality sometimes only looks like a thin layer of varnish that is easily broken, so that we are capable to atrocities, genocides, murder, crime and the like? Are we just a fist step in evolution?

The discussion

[13:24] herman Bergson: Thank you...
[13:24] herman Bergson: You have the floor..
[13:24] herman Bergson: Feel free if you have any question or remark
[13:25] Doodus Moose: guilt experiences are written deeply within the brain....
[13:25] Doodus Moose: but it seems there is not a similar mechanism for "forgiveness"
[13:25] Doodus Moose: therefore guilt "accumulates"?
[13:25] herman Bergson: INteresting Doodus.....
[13:26] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): the basic emotion don't change much..while the morality changes a lot during the ages
[13:26] herman Bergson: these secondary emotions are closely linked to primary emotions....
[13:26] Clerisse Beeswing: sounds like selfish acts should accumulate too
[13:26] Doodus Moose: perhaps if you feel guilty from being selfish
[13:26] herman Bergson: a thing as forgiveness requires a high involvement of our cognitive is not an emotion...
[13:27] herman Bergson: in guilt there always is an element of fear....
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: aaa that can be true
[13:27] herman Bergson: The fear to be judged by the group on your actions...
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: like " what have i done now ill get shit for this!"
[13:28] herman Bergson: But forgiveness is something completely different...
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: hmm
[13:28] herman Bergson: But on the other also is an essential feeling to keep society going....
[13:29] Clerisse Beeswing: when as children to we develop that fear..what age?
[13:29] Doodus Moose: i'm thinking about "self forgiveness" i guess - some manner to make the guilty memories less "well-written"
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: to forgive is to accept what the one feeling guilty have done and say its ok sort of
[13:29] herman Bergson: But I see no link with basic emotions...
[13:29] herman Bergson: yes...a product of our prefrontal lobe then :-)
[13:29] herman Bergson: You are sentenced to prison for three years...
[13:30] herman Bergson: after that you are accepted as a normal member of the group again...(which you arent of xcourse)...
[13:30] herman Bergson: Serving the sentence would be the forgiveness of the group...
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: hi Jeroen
[13:31] Jeroen Foss: :-)
[13:31] Jeroen Foss: hello
[13:31] Doodus Moose: forgiveness of the group - but the offender still has to live with what he's done
[13:31] herman Bergson: I think here you see a fundamental difference between basic emotions developed in evolution and really cerebral social solutions to situations
[13:32] herman Bergson: Something you don't encounter among social animals...forgiveness...
[13:32] herman Bergson: That is what I mean Doodus....the perpetrator has to live with its stigma..
[13:34] herman Bergson: I think that this makes clear that with a phenomenon of forgiveness we have left the real of evolutionary qualities of the homo sapiens...
[13:34] herman Bergson: And entered the realm of ethics
[13:35] Mick Nerido: Does shame guilt and pride get stronger in more in some societies than others
[13:35] herman Bergson: Oh yes....Mick....
[13:35] Mick Nerido: More developed?
[13:35] herman Bergson: No..culturally determined....
[13:35] Clerisse Beeswing: brainwashing
[13:36] herman Bergson: Pride for Europeans is something completely different form pride for Arabs for instance...
[13:36] Mick Nerido: Like a Japanese committing Hari Kari over guilt
[13:36] herman Bergson: european or American would do that...
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: no
[13:37] Mick Nerido: It is cultural there brains don't look different?
[13:37] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): you mean 'harakiri'?
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: hmm and we also have a very nasty situation with middleast people murdering their daughters for their pride when a 14 year old refuse to marry a 50 year old man that family haven't choosed
[13:37] herman Bergson: Yes indeed......Mick...we all have the same brain.....
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: have been lot of such cases in sweden
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: honor murder
[13:38] herman Bergson: But what we regard as standards and moral values.....these are not just evolutionary products...
[13:38] herman Bergson: the cognitive powers are...
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: its complex
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: really complex
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: pride can be good pride can be bad
[13:39] herman Bergson: But it leads to the question...why do people differ of opinion even about basic things of life...
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: depending on how it is defined for a person
[13:39] herman Bergson: and then you are in the midst of the philosophical discourse :-)
[13:39] Clerisse Beeswing: learning and education might have something to do with that
[13:39] Mick Nerido: A mother dieing to protect her child is not cultural
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:40] herman Bergson: Education is indeed a crucial matter in this Clerisse..absolutely
[13:40] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): depends what the education is
[13:40] herman Bergson: But even there starts the philosophical debate ....What should be the content of that education??????
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: yes education should be about actuyal fact otherwise u tend to brainwash people in things that isn't true
[13:41] herman Bergson: Our idea could be...learn them to read and write and let them read what they want and then come up with their own opinion
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: like religious sects
[13:42] Mick Nerido: Didn't Plato say philosophers should rule?
[13:42] herman Bergson: Yes Beertje..that is what I meant
[13:42] Clerisse Beeswing: right professor
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:43] Clerisse Beeswing: but I am not saying some religious sects are bad
[13:43] Mick Nerido: The writers of the text book decide
[13:43] herman Bergson: another issue Mick..indeed
[13:43] herman Bergson: But notice....
[13:44] herman Bergson: we have moved from evolutionary based emotions and responses into the realm oth the neocortext....the part that makes us so human....makes us think...
[13:44] Doodus Moose: (the part that torments us)
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: i guess
[13:44] Mick Nerido: Good point Doodus
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:45] herman Bergson: What counts here is that you have to keep an eye onhow our basic emotions coontrol our behavior
[13:45] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): can we control our basic emotions?
[13:45] herman Bergson: Yes Doodus....In that sense you could follow Sartre..
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: and not just letting it speed away but stop and thing, is tthis the right thing to do?`
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: think
[13:46] herman Bergson: Only to some extend Beertje..fear is fear...and the responses are rpogrammed
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: guess that is how we work basically
[13:46] herman Bergson: we work in a very complex way Bejiita...
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: and what we learn decide how we toggle our instinctive emotions
[13:47] Mick Nerido: I think basic emotions and secondary emotions are like geology what is deep inside is hidden but can cayuse earthquakes
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: what is right wrong sort of
[13:47] herman Bergson: We love to divide it in rational and emotional....but that is such a simplistic look at human behavior and the functioning of the brain
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: thats just the basics i guess
[13:48] herman Bergson: To some extend you are right Mick....
[13:49] herman Bergson: Our basic emotions are faster than our rational responses..
[13:49] Doodus Moose ponders
[13:49] herman Bergson: First there is the fear.....
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:49] herman Bergson: you react...
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: thats why we often act before we think
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: its like a reflex
[13:49] herman Bergson: only afterwards you rationally reconstruct what you did as a response
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: then we stop and "OOOUUUPPPS!"
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: HEHE
[13:50] herman Bergson: the response is not the product of the prefrontal lobe or neocortex....they only may have assisted as brainparts
13:51] herman Bergson: down...^_^
[13:51] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): lol
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[13:51] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): to much fear i guess
[13:51] herman Bergson: 7 left..:-)
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:52] herman Bergson: Well...thank you for your inspiring participation......
[13:52] herman Bergson: before others go down.....Class dismissed :-)
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:52] Mick Nerido: Enjoyed the class...
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:52] Clerisse Beeswing: thank you professor
[13:52] Doodus Moose: always, thankful, Professor
[13:52] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: aaa was nice the stuff i snapped up
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:52] herman Bergson: It was a good discussion!
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: really
[13:53] Jerome Ronzales: :(
[13:53] herman Bergson: What troubles you Jerome?
[[13:53] Jerome Ronzales: :P bad timing
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: read the blogg Jerome
[13:54] herman Bergson: I see...
[13:54] Jerome Ronzales: ok
[13:54] herman Bergson: Dont worry..there always is a next lecture
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: will check that too for the beginning
[13:55] Jerome Ronzales: well its almost impossible to attend all the classes
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: bye all :)
[13:55] herman Bergson: Isn't required Jerome...there always is the blog....
[13:55] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): bye Ciska
[13:55] Doodus Moose: "My brain - that's my second favorite organ" - Woody Allen in Sleeper
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: cu CIska
[13:55] Jerome Ronzales: ok
[13:55] Jerome Ronzales: cya next time
[13:55] herman Bergson: lol..Doodus....
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: aa cu
[13:56] Doodus Moose: feel myself - getting - transparent.......
[13:56] Jerome Ronzales: thats a good one
[13:56] herman Bergson: A lot of men in SL even don't seem to have a second organ
[13:56] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): very true!
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: ㋡

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Friday, April 22, 2011

321: An interesting sidetrack: John Gray

Charles Robert Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry.

It meant, that not only the world of physics was about matter, but also the homo sapiens was tied to this material earth.

It is almost irresistible for humans to believe that we have some special relation to the universe, that human life is not just the more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents
reaching back to the first three minutes of the universe, but that we were somehow built in from the beginning ….

This concept of a material world, which we are part of was a very threatening idea in Darwin's time - to begin with (and still is for some).

The inventor of the word "telepathy" and the writer, Frederic Myers (1843–1901), classical scholar, poet and philosopher, was one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research.

Supported by some of the leading figures of the day, including the Cambridge philosopher Henry Sidgwick and Arthur Balfour, president of the society and later prime minister, the psychical researchers believed human immortality might prove to be a scientifically demonstrable fact.

Their quest for an afterlife was partly driven by revulsion against materialism. Science had revealed a world in which humans were no different from other animals in facing oblivion when they died and eventual extinction as a species.

Spiritism, serious scientific matter in those days, was the answer to the shock evolution theory had caused. That the homo sapiens was just an animal among other animals in a bare, materialistic world was hard to accept.

However, the undercurrent of materialism in scientific thought couldn't be stopped anymore and thence our belief moved from God to science

We now often hear: it is just a matter of time. Then science will come up with an answer or solution. We can make it. We believe that our world is malleable. Just give us some time.
John Gray (1948 - …) was professor of philosophy in Oxford and at The London School of Economics. In his book Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (2002) he attacks humanism, which he regards as a worldview founded on religious ideologies.

According to Gray the will is, and therefore morality, an illusion and he sees humanity as a predatory species , which eradicates other life, while destroying its natural environment.

He is a serious critic of the belief in the manufacturability of our world and -in a recent publication- of our belief in progress.

He doesn't deny at all that there is scientific progress. This progress is even irreversible, but, as he says: " The average history of ideas is not only incorrect, but also misleading. It gives us the illusion, that we are absolutely rational…(…)

The most obvious contemporary example is economics. The financial crisis has shown, that it is a pseudoscience.

It claims accuracy, because of which individuals but also governments, companies and banks believe that they can control risks."

So, all the more reason to continue our quest into the Mystery of the brain and exploring the basic emotions, which most of the time outflank our so beloved ratio.

I started this project, which I regarded a a renewed look at my thesis of 1977, which was about the Identity Thesis and materialism, in other words, a materialist theory of the mind.

With philosophers like John Gray and a lot others it is amazing and exciting to see in what direction I was looking in 1977 and what was behind the horizon then for me…..

JOHN GRAY in youTube

Straw Dogs
part 1

Straw Dogs
part 2

Straw Dogs
part 3


The New Atheism
part 1

The New Atheism
part 2

The New Atheism
part 3

The New Atheism
part 4


Australian Broadcast Coop
54 minutes interview


The Discussion

[13:23] herman Bergson: I prepared an eastern egg for you too..:-)
[13:24] herman Bergson: when you click it you get a notecard with a number of youTube URLs with John Gray and a 54 minutes interview fron Australian Fora tv
[13:24] herman Bergson: thank you ^_^
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ok
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: oki
[13:24] herman Bergson: it is this golden egg here on my desk
[13:26] herman Bergson: This John Gray is one of those philosophers like Dawkins and others ...
[13:26] BALDUR Joubert: don't get it herman..this gray guy tries to tell us what wiht the finacial crisi9s
[13:26] herman Bergson: He got a full page interview in my newspaper last week
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:27] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): I got nothing
[13:27] BALDUR Joubert: good for him but so did madonna
[13:27] herman Bergson: He tells us that economis isn't a science...
[13:27] herman Bergson: I liked that interview too Baldur, but she wasn't that philosophical in her answers ;-)
[13:28] Doodus Moose: an investor will tell you that the driving forces of the market are greed and fear
[13:28] Mick Nerido: Economics is irrational like people
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes I know Doodus...but these are exactly the emotions that bypass rationality
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well sounds correct
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and too much information sometimes
[13:29] BALDUR Joubert: who said economy is a science?
[13:29] herman Bergson: Universities can get a degree in Economics like you can in physics
[13:29] BALDUR Joubert: its a subject for study.. but ..has it the same value as history?
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh i think so
[13:29] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): much more it deals with our money
[13:30] Doodus Moose: becoming a better investor is constantly overcoming one's irrational urges
[13:30] herman Bergson: Well Economics could be a branche of psychology..not an independent science
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: well it might be science but in this case a thing we ourselves have invented and made up
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: normally science is about what nature have created
[13:30] Mick Nerido: Its more like psychology yes
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: lite ex physics
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: lol.. a degree... that's enough'
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: '?
[13:31] BALDUR Joubert: not that i am against theories in science...
[13:31] BALDUR Joubert: but application another thing..
[13:31] herman Bergson: well...what I wanted to show you is that materialism as a philosophy plays an interesting role in contemporary thinking...
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): science is alll theories!!!!!!!
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): theories are what is studied to be proven
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma...Science is all beliefs ^_^
[13:32] Mick Nerido: Its like a ball game you can have a lot of statistical probabilities but no sure bets
[13:32] BALDUR Joubert: as far as economy is concerned the philosophers are lacking with answers to what economy should be like..
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and they are not theories until there is a great deal of background studied
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: lite the standard model and my LHC machine that wil get the proof of some of the theories
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: first u get a theory and then u get the proof for it , thats how science work in general
[13:33] herman Bergson: I dont agree Baldur.....
[13:33] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): exactly
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: to understand how things really work
[13:33] BALDUR Joubert: models my dear are the basis of economics of all times..
[13:33] herman Bergson: At the basis of the present crisis you find Ayn Rand and her Atlas Shrugged....
[13:33] herman Bergson: Greenspan was her disciple
[13:33] herman Bergson: then there is John Stuart MIll
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: in the case with the standard model for ex everything have meen prooven in accelerators that the theory have calculated that should be like this
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: therefore they say there MUST be a Higgs boson
[13:34] herman Bergson: and liberalism...also our toy of today
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: otherwise no matter would exist
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: cause math dont lie
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: natures language
[13:34] BALDUR Joubert: romans thought ..conquer the countries to get the economy going.. smile so did the dutch..the brits the french in the colonial times so whats new
[13:34] BALDUR Joubert: the method not the intention
[13:35] herman Bergson: to tease you Bejiita..higgs particles don't is imagination :-)
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ah have you seen the new interesting information about the difference in the brain size between conservatives and liberals??????
[13:35] herman Bergson: but that is a different subject :-)
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): actually different shapes
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: well they say at CERN it would be even more sensational if it didnt exist
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i will find the article
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes I heard about it Gemma.....
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: cause then we have got everything wrong even we are soooooo close
[13:36] herman Bergson: patience Bejiita ..patience
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: even if i think the higgs mechanism seems a bit weird
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: taken out of the air
[13:37] herman Bergson: There were brian differences indeed between conservatives and democrates...
[13:37] herman Bergson: but I thought that the conclusions were kind of inconclusive....
[13:37] herman Bergson: both had a pro and a contra
[13:38] BALDUR Joubert: can you remind me of what the subject of your lecture was herman
[13:38] herman Bergson: Well..keep you eyes open for news and articles in which you can read materialistic ideas....
[13:38] BALDUR Joubert: as i am lost in particles.....
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i have to find it
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:39] herman Bergson: Try to identify the influence of this philosophy on our thoughts
[13:39] BALDUR Joubert: which philosophy ..ssorry didn't get the point
[13:39] herman Bergson: Baldur..we are pixels in fact...:-)
[13:39] BALDUR Joubert: disgusting:)
[13:40] herman Bergson: the materialist philosophy Baldur....
[13:40] BALDUR Joubert: hm.. pixels as a basis for materialism:9
[13:40] Kyra Neutron: and what is so surprising is...
[13:40] BALDUR Joubert: ?
[13:40] Kyra Neutron: we are talking pixels!
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: but we are real persons behind the pixels
[13:40] herman Bergson: You find it in those who show up in the news media as atheists..or scientists...
[13:41] herman Bergson: You are talking to my brain Kyra...dont worry :-)
[13:41] Kyra Neutron: idk..herman
[13:41] Kyra Neutron: you are a brain?
[13:41] Kyra Neutron: me is a bunny
[13:41] herman Bergson: well talking to = my brain...that is the idea here :-)
[13:41] Kyra Neutron: :)
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:42] herman Bergson: ok..
[13:42] Mick Nerido: And mind
[13:42] Kyra Neutron: if...
[13:42] Kyra Neutron: ?
[13:42] herman Bergson: Have a look at John Gray...a representative of the present ideas among anglo - american philosophers....
[13:43] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ok
[13:43] herman Bergson: what I find interesting too is, that continental philosophy is almost silent...
[13:43] BALDUR Joubert: silent to what
[13:43] Kyra Neutron: kk kkk..but reminds herself..dorian gray was more fun..
[13:43] herman Bergson: We have Sloterdijk..if I spell the name right..unreadable :-)
[13:43] BALDUR Joubert: you didn't look at the link i sent you..
[13:44] herman Bergson: If you have no more remarks or questions it is time to catch some nice Bunnies….Eastern Bunnies I mean ^_^
[13:45] herman Bergson: Thank you all...
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:45] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): see you next thursday
[13:45] Mick Nerido: Bye
[13:45] Doodus Moose: Easter bunnies, with potatoes & carrots!
[13:45] Kyra Neutron: sees hopefully
[13:45] Kyra Neutron: oh yes!
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: Thank you Herman - bye all - enjoy easter
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: cu
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: happy easter
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:45] Doodus Moose: Thanks Professor, and all
[13:45] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): happy easter holidays
[13:46] Kyra Neutron: have a great night all..
[13:46] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman:)
[13:46] Kyra Neutron: nite nites
[13:46] herman Bergson: If you have a few days off ...enjoy your vacation..
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: dont eat too many eggs now
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: or candy
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: cu all soon again
[13:46] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): thank you here it is sunny and warm
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: time for me to find the higgs
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:47] herman Bergson: Bring us some Bejiita :-)
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: I will
[13:47] herman Bergson: If not higgs then at least hugs
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: LHC broke intensity record again in physics today
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: looking good
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: machine work well
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: cu soon
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:48] herman Bergson: ok Bejiita..I'll keep my fingers crossed ^_^
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:48] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): have a good night all:))
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: happy easter
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:48] herman Bergson: Bye Beertje

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

320: The Brain and [ moral ] Disgust

Let's have a closer look at disgust today. We can make a distinction between the real, initial core of disgust and the more social form, that evolved from it.

The primary form of disgust relates to spoiled food and all kinds of secretions of the body. It is again an emotion that orchestrates a series of behaviors.

When we see something disgusting, and I'll save you the examples, we show a specific facial expression, we feel nausea or even vomit. A clear response of the organism on a threatening situation.

Most important is that we want to keep it as far as possible away from our selves, especially from our mouth.

Paul Rozin,who I mentioned in the previous lecture, did a nice experiment. He offered people chocolate. They refused to eat it. Why ????

The chocolate was in the shape of a realistic looking dog turd. When our ancestors did find something that looked like feces, then it were droppings, not chocolate, so let's disgust.

Your dog has a complete different opinion. When you take the fellow out, you have to stop at least every 50 paces, because our Fido needs to study the droppings or pee of a comrade with utmost accuracy.

In the previous lecture I suggested the question whether disgust is typical human or not. Animals dislike and avoid certain tastes too, but is that a genuine disgust response?

An important part of the human disgust reaction is the notion of contamination, a complex cognitive evaluation. We are very sensitive to it.

Suppose I show you a glass of lemonade and dip a fat spider in it. I have informed you that the spider was sterilised. Then I offer you the glass.

99% percent chance that you refuse to drink it. The drink is contaminated and thence disgusting. This doesn’t happen among animals, nor in children under 5 to 7 years of age.

Contamination is a strong effect. Paul Rozin did an experiment in which the test persons had to spit in their own glass of Cola. After that they refused to drink it.

This contamination effect is often used in politics. There is a famous Nazi propaganda movie about jews - next shot you see rats crawling - then a group of orthodox jews again - the rats again.

To qualify your opponent as trash, cockroach or rat is an effective way to mobilize the mob against a specific group in society. Disgust as a means to mobilize the mob.

It is amazing that we still love French kisses: yuk….body fluids touching each other! However, we could say, that kissing always has been an evolutionary advantage.

Husband and wife exchange their bacteria with love, which stimulates the immune system of the mother, so the baby is immune for the bacteria of mama and daddy both.

And isn't it true that parents never feel disgust, when sweet little Tommy decorates mamma's dress with his vomit, or daddy has the honor to change a well done diaper?

I could go on and on with all kinds of example of disgust, primary disgust and disgust also shaped by culture.

But the most important evolution of disgust is, that this response is no longer restricted to spoiled food and our excrements, but also to moral situations.

In this we are unique. When we ask people what they find the most disgusting, they barely will mention the objects of primary disgust like feces or spoiled food.

They will refer to the latest events mentioned in the news: the child abuse by priests, rape, a horrible murder or bonuses for bankers and unlimited enrichment.

I wonder. Has this basic emotion been the primary power in evolution to teach the homo sapiens ethics?

The Discussion

[2011/04/19 13:21] herman Bergson: Thank you... :-)
[2011/04/19 13:21] herman Bergson: Feel free to take the floor ...
[2011/04/19 13:22] herman Bergson: if you have any remark or question
[2011/04/19 13:22] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): i think disgust is for our own keep our body healthy
[2011/04/19 13:22] Zen (zen.arado): so disgust started as evolutionarily advantageous?
[2011/04/19 13:23] herman Bergson: Yes Beerthje that was the primary goal
[2011/04/19 13:23] Bejiita Imako: primairly I think so too
[2011/04/19 13:23] Zen (zen.arado): to protect us
[2011/04/19 13:23] herman Bergson: Yes Zen
[2011/04/19 13:23] herman Bergson: Biologically interesting...
[2011/04/19 13:23] Zen (zen.arado): or it worked out that way I should say
[2011/04/19 13:23] herman Bergson: but now we also have amoral disgust...
[2011/04/19 13:23] Zinzi Serevi: so when we had no disgust we would have less ethics?
[2011/04/19 13:24] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): homo sapiens ethics would indicate a mystical scroll of proper behavior
[2011/04/19 13:24] Zen (zen.arado): if you didn't feel disgust you would eat things that would kill you
[2011/04/19 13:24] herman Bergson: No Zinzi..then we would have been extinct because of diseases
[2011/04/19 13:24] Doodus Moose: it almost seems as though we should have another word (or term) for moral & learned disgust
[2011/04/19 13:24] Bejiita Imako: I have a big such ones with swedish electrical companies like Vattenfall, the bosses behave bad and get the sack but still cause it stand in the papers
[2011/04/19 13:24] Bejiita Imako: they get 100s of millions
[2011/04/19 13:24] Bejiita Imako: that we pay on our electrical bills
[2011/04/19 13:25] Bejiita Imako: manu families had to move out this winter cause they couldn't afford the bills to heat their homes
[2011/04/19 13:25] Bejiita Imako: cause had to pay the bosses fat bonuses
[2011/04/19 13:25] Bejiita Imako: grrr thats horrible
[2011/04/19 13:25] herman Bergson: Let's stick to the subject Bejiita...
[2011/04/19 13:25] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): could it be that disgust over a specified behavior coutl only be self reinforcemnt as to theri chosen belief system?
[2011/04/19 13:25] Bejiita Imako: thats a big moral disgust for me
[2011/04/19 13:26] herman Bergson: I understand...and I share it with you
[2011/04/19 13:26] Bejiita Imako: but don't know if i feel disgust really, i more get angry
[2011/04/19 13:26] Zen (zen.arado): wonders if it is valid to say it is the same disgust in the moral case. We could say it is revulsion, antipathy, dislike?
[2011/04/19 13:26] Bejiita Imako: disgust i feel mostly with well spoiled food and yucky unhealthy unfresh stuff
[2011/04/19 13:26] Zinzi Serevi: why disgust and not love ?
[2011/04/19 13:26] Zen (zen.arado): but disgust expresses it more strongly
[2011/04/19 13:27] Zinzi Serevi: or other strong feelings
[2011/04/19 13:27] druth Vlodovic: is physical and moral disgust the same reaction physiologically?
[2011/04/19 13:27] herman Bergson: Yes Druth...that is an important point
[2011/04/19 13:28] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): it is interesting the mention of children under 7 years old not being disgusted
[2011/04/19 13:28] herman Bergson: Moral disgust also has the same physiological effect....a slowing down of the heart beat rate
[2011/04/19 13:28] Bejiita Imako: hmm maybe some for me, but for moral things i more feel anger and think " don't these people have morale, know how to behave"
[2011/04/19 13:28] herman Bergson: Yes aristotle....
[2011/04/19 13:28] Jerome Ronzales: existe a questio da salubridade, seja fisica o psicologica, ambas fedem...
[2011/04/19 13:28] herman Bergson: Some use it as an argument against its evolutionary origine...
[2011/04/19 13:28] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): taht would indicate a nurtured response to some degree
[2011/04/19 13:29] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): a combinating ot the two
[2011/04/19 13:29] herman Bergson: yes indeed....but also may indicate that the emotion needs time to grow in the organism
[2011/04/19 13:29] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): to be exposed to the the revulsion?
[2011/04/19 13:29] druth Vlodovic: I think there are different reactions to different types of moral breach, for instance you're angry at energy company bosses, but you might be disgusted by a homosexual (if you're against it)
[2011/04/19 13:30] herman Bergson: Yes indeed Druth....that is the right distinction
[2011/04/19 13:30] Bejiita Imako: something like that i guess
[2011/04/19 13:30] Zen (zen.arado): disgust in the moral case could be evolutionarily beneficial too....disgust at moral breaches can be detrimental to societies..
[2011/04/19 13:31] herman Bergson: Oh yes....
[2011/04/19 13:31] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): homo phobis is very interesting as to its origins, and our understanding of it via primally and cerebrally
[2011/04/19 13:31] Jerome Ronzales: errr
[2011/04/19 13:31] herman Bergson: brute murders..child it...they all threaten the safety of the group
[2011/04/19 13:32] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): and therefore you have to feel disgust
[2011/04/19 13:32] herman Bergson: You dont have to just feel it..automatically
[2011/04/19 13:32] Bejiita Imako: yes
[2011/04/19 13:33] herman Bergson: The main feature of basic emotions is that they are not controlled by our ratio..
[2011/04/19 13:33] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): not automatically - Ghadafi does not feel it automatically
[2011/04/19 13:33] Bejiita Imako: no its a basic instinctual drive
[2011/04/19 13:33] Bejiita Imako: i guess
[2011/04/19 13:33] herman Bergson: Oh yes Siggi...Gadafi feels fear
[2011/04/19 13:34] herman Bergson: even before he evaluates his political position
[2011/04/19 13:34] druth Vlodovic: they can be trained that effort, but often an old prejudice will surface if faced with an unexpected event
[2011/04/19 13:34] Bejiita Imako: i hope they shot that bastard soon , have killed sooo many innocent people that wants freedom
[2011/04/19 13:34] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): but allowing those destructive emotions to come to fruition is a cerebral failure
[2011/04/19 13:34] Bejiita Imako: ghadaffi make me both angry and disgusted
[2011/04/19 13:34] Bejiita Imako: what a swine he is!
[2011/04/19 13:35] herman Bergson: let's focus on the subject..:-)
[2011/04/19 13:35] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): the ratio should keep our primal selves in check
[2011/04/19 13:35] herman Bergson: what destructive emotions, Aristotle?
[2011/04/19 13:36] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): all those negative aspects of our humanity, murder, rape , theft etc
[2011/04/19 13:36] herman Bergson: As I said atthe very beginning.....the ratio is en overestimated quality in man
[2011/04/19 13:37] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): still, I believe that humans must use rationality to control our primitive urges
[2011/04/19 13:37] herman Bergson: When you study the history of looks as if mankind moved from one station to the next rational station...
[2011/04/19 13:37] herman Bergson: Oh yes Arsitotle...
[2011/04/19 13:37] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): and then returned to the beginning
[2011/04/19 13:37] herman Bergson: at the very end of was our rationality that made us survive as homo sapiens...
[2011/04/19 13:38] Zen (zen.arado): our 'primitive' urges might be wiser than our rationality :)
[2011/04/19 13:38] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): and that the gift of rationality is only a empty box when we are born
[2011/04/19 13:38] herman Bergson: otherwise we were just another chimpansee colony now, I guess..
[2011/04/19 13:38] Bejiita Imako: yes, something like that
[2011/04/19 13:38] Doodus Moose: rationality versus love? don't we sometimes choose to survive for the sake of our children?
[2011/04/19 13:38] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): it is contributed to as we live
[2011/04/19 13:38] herman Bergson: would have been more benificial for planet earth maybe ^_^
[2011/04/19 13:39] herman Bergson: next lecture I'll tell you about John Gray..British philosopher...completely in line with my project..
[2011/04/19 13:39] druth Vlodovic: we can use our rationality to make our emotions into tools to help us
[2011/04/19 13:39] Zen (zen.arado): you mentioned the disgust reaction being manipulated to fool our rationality Herman
[2011/04/19 13:40] herman Bergson: to some extend Druth
[2011/04/19 13:40] herman Bergson: Yes Zen....standard method to mobilize the mob
[2011/04/19 13:40] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): passion is a most wonderful thing, the sweet fruit of life, untethered it can be a nighmare for us and others
[2011/04/19 13:41] herman Bergson: Call your opponent some disgusting being...rat, wurm, slime, shit...and the mob is willing to hit on him
[2011/04/19 13:41] druth Vlodovic: it is often better to direct and channel our passions, then to deny them
[2011/04/19 13:41] Zen (zen.arado): rationality untempered by feeling can be a monster too I think
[2011/04/19 13:41] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I can tell you Herman that in perparation for war, soldiers are routinely done the same way
[2011/04/19 13:42] herman Bergson: rationality as such doesn't exist...
[2011/04/19 13:42] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): the enemy must be a vile creature
[2011/04/19 13:42] herman Bergson: nor feeling as such...
[2011/04/19 13:42] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): so you can kill him
[2011/04/19 13:42] herman Bergson: the brain is a constant battlefield between priorities
[2011/04/19 13:43] Zen (zen.arado): yeh emotions and reason are intertwined some say now
[2011/04/19 13:43] Zinzi Serevi: till next time, :) thanks Herman
[2011/04/19 13:43] herman Bergson: Bye Zinzi
[2011/04/19 13:43] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): we teach our soldiers to hate, to me that is disgusting
[2011/04/19 13:43] Bejiita Imako: bye Zinzi
[2011/04/19 13:43] Zen (zen.arado): bye zin
[2011/04/19 13:44] herman Bergson: They need to regard their adversary disgusting Aristotle
[2011/04/19 13:44] druth Vlodovic: but rationality is controlled, to an extent, consciously
[2011/04/19 13:44] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): yes :(
[2011/04/19 13:44] Zen (zen.arado): but the original motivation is from emotions
[2011/04/19 13:44] druth Vlodovic: doesn't that make it distinct?
[2011/04/19 13:44] herman Bergson: Wait.....
[2011/04/19 13:44] Zen (zen.arado): we want something and justify it rationally
[2011/04/19 13:44] herman Bergson: an interesting remark of Druth....
[2011/04/19 13:45] herman Bergson: rationality is controlled consciously.....
[2011/04/19 13:45] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): LOL, go to a fire and brimstone religious revival and you will see the manipulation of emotions at work
[2011/04/19 13:45] herman Bergson: this brings about a hell of a lot of philosophical questions...
[2011/04/19 13:45] Zen (zen.arado): agree Ari :)
[2011/04/19 13:45] herman Bergson: rationality..some autonomous machine....
[2011/04/19 13:45] herman Bergson: consciousness...some controler…
[2011/04/19 13:46] herman Bergson: We will face all these questions soon...:-)
[2011/04/19 13:46] herman Bergson: Just such a statement shows how complex the issue is
[2011/04/19 13:47] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): :) you raise so many tittelating things to think about Herman :)
[2011/04/19 13:47] herman Bergson smiles
[2011/04/19 13:47] herman Bergson: there is still so much in store Aristotle....
[2011/04/19 13:47] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): the origins of this disgust just blossoms in my mind
[2011/04/19 13:47] herman Bergson: What we are doing now is just loking at the world from a given point of view...
[2011/04/19 13:48] Zen (zen.arado): titillation =opposite of disgust ? :)
. poof…….!
[2011/04/19 13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: Herman crashed
[2011/04/19 13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: back in a flash
[2011/04/19 13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: wb Herman
[2011/04/19 13:50] Beertje Beaumont: welcome back
[2011/04/19 13:50] Jerome Ronzales: holly macarrony
[2011/04/19 13:50] Ciska Riverstone: wb Herman
[2011/04/19 13:50] Bejiita Imako: hehe wb,
[2011/04/19 13:50] herman Bergson: Oh I HATE THIS....
[2011/04/19 13:50] Bejiita Imako: that was fast indeed
[2011/04/19 13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: yes amazingly
[2011/04/19 13:50] Zen Arado: disgusted herman? :)
[2011/04/19 13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL
[2011/04/19 13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: SL is disgusting sometimes
[2011/04/19 13:51] herman Bergson: Yes Zen !!!! INDEED ^_^
[2011/04/19 13:51] Bejiita Imako: good that, i often have to wait several minutes when i crash cause "region logging u out now please try again in a few mins"
[2011/04/19 13:51] Zen Arado: yes me too
[2011/04/19 13:51] Bejiita Imako: and then when i get back in im naked and a girl and cant use my invent without loading the test avatar first
[2011/04/19 13:52] Bejiita Imako: happens now and then
[2011/04/19 13:52] Bejiita Imako: frustrating
[2011/04/19 13:52] herman Bergson: Yes Bekiita...if there is one disgusting thing in SL then it is such a crash ^_^
[2011/04/19 13:52] Bejiita Imako: yes
[2011/04/19 13:53] Bejiita Imako: esp when u are already late to some event say this class and want to get in as soon as possible
[2011/04/19 13:53] herman Bergson: We are lucky that is is almost time to dismiss class ^_^
[2011/04/19 13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL, don't you just love being Ruthed
[2011/04/19 13:53] Zen Arado: we are diluting the power of the word
[2011/04/19 13:53] Ludwig John: now I have to log out from sl and to log in to my bed - good night and bye
[2011/04/19 13:53] Bejiita Imako: hahah
[2011/04/19 13:53] Bejiita Imako: ok night Siggi
[2011/04/19 13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: goodnight Siggi
[2011/04/19 13:53] Zen Arado: bye Siggi
[2011/04/19 13:53] herman Bergson: thank you all for your participation....
[2011/04/19 13:53] Doodus Moose: take care, Siggi
[2011/04/19 13:53] Beertje Beaumont: goodnight Siggy
[2011/04/19 13:54] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ...^_^
[2011/04/19 13:54] Bejiita Imako: well was interesting stuff again Herman
[2011/04/19 13:54] Bejiita Imako: gave me some stuff again to think about
[2011/04/19 13:54] Zen Arado: thanks Herman
[2011/04/19 13:54] druth Vlodovic: thank you herman
[2011/04/19 13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you Professor :)
[2011/04/19 13:54] Doodus Moose: thanks everyone, and you Professor
[2011/04/19 13:54] herman Bergson: My pleasure doodus
[2011/04/19 13:54] herman Bergson: We'll talk later, Doodus
[2011/04/19 13:54] Bejiita Imako: cu soon
[2011/04/19 13:54] Doodus Moose: till then, BYEEEEE!!!!!
[2011/04/19 13:55] Bejiita Imako: bye
[2011/04/19 13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: as always, I leave with my mind in contemplation, Herman
[2011/04/19 13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: thanks
[2011/04/19 13:56] herman Bergson: Drive carefully Aristotle...
[2011/04/19 13:56] herman Bergson: Keep your eyes on the road ^_^
[2011/04/19 13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: good bey everyone
[2011/04/19 13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: indeed
[2011/04/19 13:57] Bilthor Esharham: Good bye everyone
[2011/04/19 13:57] herman Bergson: `Bye Bilthor
[2011/04/19 13:57] Jerome Ronzales: good-bye
[2011/04/19 13:57] herman Bergson: Adios jerome :-)
[2011/04/19 13:57] Bilthor Esharham: have safe paths and fare winds and honey sweet dreams
[2011/04/19 13:57] Jerome Ronzales: hasta prof.
[2011/04/19 13:58] Bilthor Esharham: ::))
[2011/04/19 13:58] Bilthor Esharham: Namarie
[2011/04/19 13:58] herman Bergson: hasta la proxima jerome :-)
[2011/04/19 13:58] Jerome Ronzales: we can talk spanish but my main language is portuguese
[2011/04/19 13:59] Jerome Ronzales: european portuguese
[2011/04/19 13:59] herman Bergson: oh dear...Portuguese...too much for me...:-)
[2011/04/19 13:59] Jerome Ronzales: yep, its not easy
[2011/04/19 13:59] herman Bergson: oh yes...way more difficult than spanish
[2011/04/19 13:59] herman Bergson: at least for me
[2011/04/19 14:00] Jerome Ronzales: i find spanish funny to talk...lots of different words
[2011/04/19 14:00] Jerome Ronzales: but hey, i love languages
[2011/04/19 14:01] druth Vlodovic: bye guys
[2011/04/19 14:01] herman Bergson: i love Spanish because I had 6 years of classic latin education...
[2011/04/19 14:01] herman Bergson: Bye Druth...
[2011/04/19 14:01] Jerome Ronzales: ah, very well
[2011/04/19 14:01] Zen Arado: bye everyone :)
[2011/04/19 14:01] herman Bergson: Bye Zen ..
[2011/04/19 14:02] Jerome Ronzales: ciao
[2011/04/19 14:02] Jerome Ronzales: :-)
[2011/04/19 14:02] LadyJayne Resident frowns....."I missed class...sorry Herman"

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

319: The Brain, a Motivation and Disgust

I think, that today is a good moment to repeat my basic assumptions in this project "The Mystery of the Brain". Not the mind but the brain. I formulated the title so deliberately.

The basic assumptions are, that there exists only one thing: matter. The brain, which generates the mind, does not generate an immaterial something, called "the mind".

The mind is somehow a feature of the brain like liquidity is a feature of water. Thus the brain is the cause of our "Supersense", which we discussed in the beginning.

We have seen a number of neurobiological discoveries and insights regarding the functioning of the brain. The present subject, the basic emotions of the homo sapiens, focus on the fact, that he a biological being.

This means that he is the result of evolution and as a species possesses general features, that you will find with any individual of the species.

Most important to understand is, that the presence on this planet of the homo sapiens as we know it today, is in relation to 5 million years of evolution, still a pretty short period and do you think that we are the end of evolution?

A second issue to keep in mind is, that the homo sapiens is inclined to believe, that its essence is defined by describing itself as a rational being.

Our focus on the basic emotions, which helped the species through the evolutionary process, is one way to show, that this Self is a bit unbalanced. The ratio is just a part of our Self and we really can question the fact that it is our dominant feature.

These are all not absolute facts, but my basic assumptions, my picture of the homo sapiens and its existence. I have proposed to assume the "truth" of these assumptions only for a pragmatic reason.

It offers the opportunity to paint a specific picture, which we definitely will scrutinize with a magnifying glass in the near future, when we'll ask the real philosophical questions about what we see in the painting.

But before we do that there are still some interesting subjects to discuss regarding our brain activity. In this case the emotion of disgust.

In the previous lecture I said "as far as we know, you only find this emotion in the repertoire of the homo sapiens", but I have discovered other sources.

The name connected with the emotion of disgust is Paul Rozin (born 1936). He is a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania. His current work focuses on the psychological, cultural, and biological determinants of human food choice.

In an article in PENN Arts & Science, fall1997, we read this:
"Disgust evolves culturally," explains Rozin, "and develops from a system to protect the body from harm to a system to protect the soul from harm."

At its root, disgust is a revulsion response -- "a basic biological motivational system" -- that Darwin associated with the sense of taste. Its function is to reject or discharge offensive-tasting food from the mouth (and/or the stomach),

and its fundamental indicator, the "gape" or tongue extension, has been observed in a number of animals, including birds and mammals. In humans, the characteristic facial expressions of disgust that coincide with gaping include nose wrinkling and raising the upper lip,

behaviors usually accompanied by a feeling of nausea and a general sense of revulsion. Together these behaviors and sensations facilitate the rejection of food that has been put into the mouth.

This may sound a bit confusing, as is said that eventually disgust evolved into "a system to protect the soul from harm." Animals certainly haven't a soul as is meant here.

But here we must make a clear distinction between a primary form of disgust, which solely has to do with spoiled food and -but this is questionable - with faces and other "products" of the human body,

because it is quite well possible that we can interpret these as examples of the secondary form of disgust: disgust shaped and influenced by culture. Next lecture I'll dig into the disgusting details, which will elucidate this distinction.

You don't need to come then…. ^_^

The Discussion

[13:20] herman Bergson: Thank you ...
[13:20] Doodus Moose: ... when disgust will be discussed :-)
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:20] BALDUR Joubert: grin you had a cat herman.. its facial expression is quite significvant when she is disgusted... don't need a p
[13:20] herman Bergson: Well it is an amazing emotion....
[13:20] BALDUR Joubert: psychologist to find out
[13:21] BALDUR Joubert: so.. its much older than homo sapiens in evolution
[13:21] herman Bergson: Next lecture will be disgusting fun ^_^
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: well i guess all things that look taste and smell bad produce this feeling
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: also a very interesting thing
[13:21] herman Bergson: Yes Baldur…
[13:21] BALDUR Joubert: yes..but why ?
[13:22] herman Bergson: Tell me...
[13:22] BALDUR Joubert: may i ask you a question herman...
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: almost everything that decompose contain sulphur components and those in general smell very bad
[13:22] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): is it to protect our body agains spoiled food?
[13:22] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i think he meant feces not faces
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: and what make us think that different things smell in just that way
[13:22] herman Bergson: yes Beertje..that is the basic issue
[13:22] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): making a show of disgust other that the repulsion of tainted food seems to be tantimonious to me
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): but is it a feeling or an expression ari
[13:23] BALDUR Joubert: when you say evolution and homo sapiens
[13:23] BALDUR Joubert: for me homo s. is the result of an evolution
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: guess that sulphur components smell bad have evolved into our senses cause stuff that decompose contain them and this is not good to eat
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: a warning indicator
[13:23] BALDUR Joubert: result
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: sort of
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i get a feeling of disgust at certain statements
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): like certain channels on the tv when i am watching the news
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: take h2 s for ex
[13:23] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I suspect it is different from theprimal urge and more an expression of disapproval
[13:23] BALDUR Joubert: which happened through australopectis ..steinheim etc
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: this is the stuff that rotten eggs produce
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma....that is an important observation!
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: H2S
[13:24] BALDUR Joubert: how themselves were products of evolution
[13:24] herman Bergson: Yes Baldur......what is your point?
[13:24] herman Bergson: Hi Zinzi
[13:24] BALDUR Joubert: so if homo sapiens is the result..changes are not evolutionary ..but development-- just like muscles develop so does the brain
[13:24] Zinzi Serevi: hello..:)
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: I guess if good things instead produced these components we might have been wired to feel a good smell from ex H"S and such things
[13:25] BALDUR Joubert: smile i have finished:)
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: a theory
[13:25] herman Bergson: That is the point Bejiita...I don't think so...
[13:25] herman Bergson: unless disgust is 100% culturally determined
[13:26] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I think disgust at it's core is innate evolution, the rest has to be nurtured development
[13:26] BALDUR Joubert: if it were 100% cultural animals won't show disgust
[13:26] herman Bergson: It seems to be a biological feature of the animal or a homo sapiens
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: cause its otherwise weird cause why does EVERYTHING that is bad produce this smelly stuff otherwise or have nature made it that way by itself so we shouldnt eat it
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: the production of this stuff
[13:27] Doodus Moose: or perhaps we've evolved to recognize something as "smelly" - when it might not be so bad to something else
[13:27] Doodus Moose: (dogs, and what they do, for example)
[13:27] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): how do we explain limburger cheese?
[13:27] herman Bergson: well..keep in mind there are two things...
[13:27] BALDUR Joubert: has to do with survival i think.. learn not to eat what can harm you:)
[13:27] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: ex rotten eggs shit compost ect
[13:27] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i love it
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: is bad for u and therefor smell bad
[13:28] BALDUR Joubert: 1000 year eggs are delicatessen in china
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): limburger?????
[13:28] herman Bergson: horrible smell Gemma!!!!!!!
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): but so so tasty
[13:28] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): but a lot of people love it
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: smells like foot sweat EEEEEEEEEWWW
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes me
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes and I'll discuss that in the next lecture ^_^
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:28] Melody Jayne (ladyjayne) nods...
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yum
[13:29] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): lol
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: also we have something here in sweden called surströmming ( lit sour herring)
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: basically rotten fish
[13:29] BALDUR Joubert: limbutger in a train you can empty a compartment in no time and find a place to sit
[13:29] herman Bergson: JUST HOLD ON FOR A MINUTE>>>
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: fermented
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ;p;
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: stink like hell i think
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: lot of people love it
[13:29] herman Bergson: PLZ....
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: i wouldnt touch the stuff
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: eeeew
[13:29] herman Bergson: I HAVE A QUESTION...^_^
[13:29] herman Bergson: Gemma...
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: lets listen...
[13:30] herman Bergson: How do you know "Limburger"
[13:30] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i am a very cosmopolitan eater
[13:30] herman Bergson: Here it is called rommedoeke...
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: by going to limburg lol
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:30] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): well, the basis of bad smelling food being disgusting is not universal was my points not
[13:30] herman Bergson: let her answer Baldur...
[13:30] Zinzi Serevi: yes a rommedoeke! :)
[13:30] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): universal tastes
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: yes to some degree it seems
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: my mom ex loves this "surströmming"
[13:31] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): like 'nonnevotte?'
[13:31] herman Bergson: Where did you tatsed Limburger Gemma?????
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): lots of times
[13:31] herman Bergson: ?????
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): we have very good cheese shops in connecticut
[13:31] herman Bergson: Been in the area???
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): import cheeses
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): from all over the world
[13:31] Zinzi Serevi: wow
[13:31] herman Bergson: cool
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: but its general name is limburger right?
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh yes
[13:32] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): even Limburgse kaas??
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: thats also how i know the stuff
[13:32] herman Bergson: AMAZING!!!!!!
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i do not go get it every week
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): once in a few years i have it somewhere
[13:32] herman Bergson: And this only because we are discussing Disgust...
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:32] herman Bergson: that cheese smells so awfull..
[13:32] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): you're whole fridge wil smell bad...
[13:33] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i can get past the smell
[13:33] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I believe also it is a cultural thing as to what food odores are offensive
[13:33] herman Bergson: yes Gemma!
[13:33] Ciska Riverstone: yes ARistotle
[13:33] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): my brain says it still tastes good
[13:33] Melody Jayne (ladyjayne): .me nods
[13:33] herman Bergson: Oh Yes Aristotle....
[13:33] Zinzi Serevi: we can learn to eat
[13:33] BALDUR Joubert: culture is full of weird things
[13:33] herman Bergson: We'll discuss that next time!
[13:33] BALDUR Joubert: thoughts
[13:33] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i have friends who cannot stand the smell of garlic!!!!
[13:33] Doodus Moose: :-/
[13:33] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): thye eat a decaye fish sauce in south east asie robusly that made me ill to smell it
[13:34] herman Bergson: LOVE IT!!!
[13:34] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): asia*
[13:34] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:34] herman Bergson: The more th ebetter
[13:34] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: sounds like our surströmming
[13:34] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): oh i lóve fish sauce
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:34] BALDUR Joubert: about the saying when with some one ..i can't smellhim/her?
[13:34] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): Noc Mam/
[13:34] Zinzi Serevi: trassi
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: never tasted that later stuff from asia, doesn't seem to tasty for my taste however
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: but othervise I love asian food
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): it is usually texture that repulses me
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): not smell
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): like sweet breads
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): phooey\
[13:35] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): and something innately disgusting besides bad food is offensive body odor
[13:35] herman Bergson: Well....I guess this lecture didn't end up disgusting at all ^_^
[13:35] BALDUR Joubert: beertje.. you from a seaside country..go live in the alps:)
[13:35] herman Bergson: Shall we exchange recipes?
[13:35] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): why should i?
[13:36] Melody Jayne (ladyjayne) laughs
[13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): getting hungry as a matter of fact
[13:36] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): but I tink that is a protective impluse
[13:36] Jerome Ronzales: greetings \o_
[13:36] BALDUR Joubert: seafood could disgust you ...
[13:36] herman Bergson: lol YEs me too...
[13:36] Melody Jayne (ladyjayne) nods
[13:36] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): not at all Baldur
[13:36] herman Bergson: Well...I think we'll wait for the next lecture then...
[13:36] herman Bergson: It will kil your appetite ^_^
[13:37] BALDUR Joubert: smile..cause you didn't grow up there..
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: hmm one thing that is a bit disgusting wen raw but otherwise really tasty is fiish
[13:37] Zinzi Serevi: ol
[13:37] BALDUR Joubert: ok trout is ok for us
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: cause when raw extract some horribly smelling compound
[13:37] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): great then I will fix me a limburgere and sardine sandwich
[13:37] Melody Jayne (ladyjayne): Is it really a matter of culture or a matter of taste or does culture dictate your taste?
[13:37] BALDUR Joubert: put some straberry on your sandwich ari
[13:38] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): Melody, I know that I love my mothers cooking above all else
[13:38] herman Bergson: house
[13:38] Zinzi Serevi: culture dictates your taste
[13:38] herman Bergson: Ok , my friends...
[13:38] BALDUR Joubert: lady..of coure its culture a wider sense
[13:38] Melody Jayne (ladyjayne): I think culture then does dictate your taste to a degree...but then again my whole family may like something that still I find to be disgusting...then it is a matter of my taste
[13:38] Jerome Ronzales: i love tricks
[13:38] herman Bergson: since we have ended up in the cuisine..I think it is time to leave for th ephilosopher..
[13:38] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): :)) Thanks you Professor
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): also depends if your taste buds like sweet or savory
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i love savory
[13:39] herman Bergson: thank you all for your was great..
[13:39] Zinzi Serevi: thanks Herman
[13:39] BALDUR Joubert: lol what is the philosopher cooking:)
[13:39] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I like most all foods
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: Thank you Herman
[13:39] herman Bergson: Class dismissed... ^_^
[13:39] Zinzi Serevi: lol
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: interesting once again ㋡
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): would rather have another pizza piece and no dessert
[13:39] Melody Jayne (ladyjayne) blushes...."sorry I was late, had to pick up the teenager"
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: nened to get some pan pizza later
[13:39] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): yes, substance before desserts Gemma, me too
[13:39] herman Bergson: This was really a fun discussion :-)
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:39] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): i'll go and eat a 'haring'
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: haha yes
[13:39] Melody Jayne (ladyjayne): Sounds liek I missed a great
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yep
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yum yes
[13:40] BALDUR Joubert: viva italia gemma .. the origing of culture...
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: not a "sour herringt" i hope
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): more a cooking class
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: enjoy it Beertje ;)
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: loool
[13:40] Melody Jayne (ladyjayne): lol
[13:40] BALDUR Joubert: i love herring beertje:)
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): me too
[13:40] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): a RAW herring Bejiita
[13:40] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): with unions
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): pickled??
[13:40] Zinzi Serevi: i will go and eat some drop
[13:40] BALDUR Joubert: especially after a longh nicht with many drinks:)
[13:40] herman Bergson: YES..Beertje!
[13:40] Zinzi Serevi: see you all..:)
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye ㋡
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): zenzi
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ok cu
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: Cu Zinzi
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: bye everyone :)
[13:41] herman Bergson: Bye Zinzi
[13:41] Doodus Moose: be good Zinzi
[13:41] Doodus Moose: byeeee Ciska
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