Why We Feel: The Science of Human Emotions

Why We Feel: The Science of Human Emotions

Why We Feel: The Science of Human Emotions

Why We Feel: The Science of Human Emotions

Synopsis

Why do we think some people are beautiful? Why do orgasms feel good? Why do we get angry? Anxious? In this intriguing book, biopsychologist Victor Johnston explores the origin of human feelings and shows us that they are not some strange accident of human nature, but are instead the basis of learning and reasoning. In the process, he offers a radical new view of reality: What we see, hear, smell, feel -- even what we consider beautiful -- is not an accurate representation of the world around us; rather, our feelings are illusions, shaped by millions of years of evolution. In clear and colorful prose, Johnston helps us navigate the intimate relationship between our emotions and our biological survival -- and tells us what this means for human creativity, innovation, and, ultimately, free will.

Excerpt

The human brain is the most intricate and complex entity on our planet and perhaps the most complicated device in the entire universe. There is absolutely nothing that we can see, think, feel, or know that does not depend on the workings of this tangled web of nerve cells. It is involved in every aspect of our daily life; it defines who we are and it dictates the way we view the world around us. But few of us realize that our brain creates what is, in effect, a virtual reality. This idea is so contrary to our common sense that few rational people would consider such a proposition to be an important scientific insight that is essential for understanding human nature, but it is.

We believe that we live in a world that is full of sounds and colors and smells and tastes because this is what we experience every day of our lives and there appears to be no reason for thinking otherwise. in Why We Feel I propose that we must abandon this common-sense view of reality and eventually accept the fact that our conscious experiences depend on the nature of our evolved neural processes and not on the nature of the events in the world that activate those processes. That is, although the external environment is teeming with electromagnetic radiation and air pressure waves, without consciousness it is both totally black and utterly silent.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.