Bakker and Emotion

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« on: May 14, 2013, 11:31:40 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
Bakker frequently has recommended Cordelia Fine's A Mind of its Own. One of the vignettes presented therein is of a patient known as EVR. This EVR suffered brain damage that hindered his ability to process and feel emotion. The result was a near-incapacity to make practical decisions.

The implication, explored in this essay, is that emotion is vital to decision-making, not least because emotion is strongly tied to value; without emotion, all items suddenly acquire the same value - null. So, to concretize it, if all items have the same value, then when choosing a restaurant to eat at, how could one weigh cost, atmosphere, proximity, cuisine, health-and-cleanliness, etc.? If it's all the same to you, rationality leads to everything and nothing...

So Bakker must be aware of all this, yes?
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We've all noted that the Dunyain have history and culture, I think.

We've noted Kellhus' confusion during his Wilderness Trek and his daddy issues.

So let's make it explicit. Do the Dunyain feel emotion?

There are four instances in the PoN I can recall in which it is (potentially) implied that Kellhus feels emotion:

*Possibly when Kellhus spares Cnaiur - I  think this has been touched upon by others
*The crucifixion/circumfixion and Serwe's death - could be delirium
*Momentarily, when Aurax nearly seduces him (with pheremones?) in the guise of Esmenet
*This is the most telling, I believe: when Esmi is pregnant and the Holy War is in Caraskand, she nearly falls down a chasm; Kellhus notes that the fall would have been fatal and, just before he saves her, feels lightheaded

******

Now, for Neil and Sam in Neuropath: they've supposedly had the capacity to feel emotion excised from them, yet we see many outbursts and expressions of passion and excitement from them. Should we really take all this as an act (which could possibly rquire emotion anyway, in the terms outlined earlier)?

Why would Neil pursue this Argument if he didn't possess some strong attachment to it? To make a point to the world? Well, then that has some value to him.

Not least: when

(click to show/hide)


Could Bakker be getting at something here?

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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 11:31:51 pm »
Quote from: Curethan
Can't really coment on Fine or Neuropath cuz I aint read them.
But Kellhus' whelming illustrated to me that it was about mastering emotions (because they are a product of the darkness) in place of eliminating them.

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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 11:31:56 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
Alright, I hadn't considered that. I can't locate the passage on his training, but it seemed to me as though it's meant to Condition numbness into them, make them insensate to pains and fears and by extension anything else.

But I could see your point reflected in the children of Kellhus and Esmenet: though Theliopa's interesting, and Cayutas we don't see beyond the facade of, the emotional volatility of the loony and the twins makes more sense as a portrayal of the consequences of a lack of control in Dunyain...

Though the biggest counter, as I see it, is that in Earwa the non-physical soul actually exists. That certainly throws a wrench into the neuroscience.

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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:02 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Some thoughts, Bakker User.

From my old Emotion & Motivation notes:

"1. Actions. Emotions are actions commonly deemed "emotional," such as defending or attacking in response to a threat. This aspect of emotion is especially relevant to Darwin's view of the functional roles of emotion. He suggested that emotions have an important survival role because they aid in generating appropriate reactions to "emergency" events in the environment, such as the sudden appearance of a predator.

2. Physiological arousal. Emotion is a state of physiological arousal--an expression or display of distinctive somatic and autonomic responses. This emphasis suggests that emotional states can be defined by particular constellations of bodily responses. The physiological arousal that accompanies emotion allows us to examine emotion in nonhuman animals as well as in human beings.

3.  Feeling/Cognition. Emotion is a representation of an internal state (feeling - type of percept) that is private and subjective. Humans can report an extraordinary range of states, which they say they "feel" or experience. These reports of subjective experience - cognitions - may or may not have overt (behavioural) indicators."

The idea is that our emotional expression (internal and external) communicate things about our biological state to our selves and those around us. It's why Kellhus can assume people's thoughts from their circumstances and emotive facial, linguistic, and kinetic expressive behaviours so easily.

Those basic or universal emotions that seem to be shared by all humans, regardless of culture, are the expression of evolved traits. Possibly easier to change than your opposable thumb but just as aquired - though I guess we can break both quite easily.

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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:08 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
1 & 2 seem inextricable, right? And from a reductionistic perspective, 2 & 3 would be as well?

So, I'm confused: did this EVR lack the capacity for 2, for 3, or for both? It's not clear to me from my reading on him.

Kellhus: 2. Seems to have learned to generally suppress these.

3. Exercises superhuman "self-control".

Neil: 2. Not clear.

3. Disabled through neuromanipulation.

So if I have this right... wait, so what permits Neil to formulate objectives beyond "piss", "get food", and reflexive actions?

***

Kellhus and Emotion

Even if my position on Kellhus turns out to have been muddled, I'm still interested in perspectives on this scene:

Quote
This is the most telling, I believe: when Esmi is pregnant and the Holy War is in Caraskand, she nearly falls down a chasm; Kellhus notes that the fall would have been fatal and, just before he saves her, feels lightheaded

A rare burst of #2 activity that nearly hinders him?

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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:14 pm »
Quote from: Madness
The above notes are kind of the synthesis of all the previously dominant theories, Bakker User.

I'll have to revisit the relevant parts of A Mind of Its Own.

"With additional studies, the researchers conclude that EVR had no internal goal representation. In order for goals to remain stable for EVR, they had to be represented externally and repeatedly. Otherwise, '...it was as if he forgot to remember short- and intermediate- term goals.... He couldn't keep a problem in perspective in relation to other goals.'(1985, p.1737).

The somatic marker hypothesis is presented by Damasio to explain these experimental findings. The hypothesis is that bodily feelings normally accompany our representations of the anticipated outcomes of options. In other words, feelings mark response options to real or simulated decisions. Somatic markers serve as an automatic device to speed one to select biologically advantageous options. Those options that are left unmarked are omitted in the decision-making process. (2) Damasio suggests that patients with frontal lobe damage fail to activate these somatic markers which are directly linked to punishment and reward, and originate in previously experienced social situations. EVR's decision making defect is explained by an inability to activate somatic states when ordinary decisions arise; by an inability to mark the implications of a social situation with a signal that would separate good and bad options. (3) EVR was therefore trapped in a never-ending cost-benefit analysis of numerous and conflicting options. In the absence of emotional markers, decision making is virtually impossible" http://cogsci.uwaterloo.ca/Articles/Pages/Emot.Decis.html

I'd hazard that EVR symptoms are consistent with damage in the connections between cortical divisions. Perhaps, a disconnect between 1, 2 & 3, so that EVR never experiences 3.

As a segue; modern research pretty much focuses on affective valence when shop-talking emotions.

EDIT: Also, Bakker User, you missed when Cnaiur rapes Serwe in TDTCB before Kellhus.

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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:20 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
Quote
(3) EVR was therefore trapped in a never-ending cost-benefit analysis of numerous and conflicting options. In the absence of emotional markers, decision making is virtually impossible

I 'love' those lines.

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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:27 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Quote from: Bakker User
*Possibly when Kellhus spares Cnaiur - I  think this has been touched upon by others
*The crucifixion/circumfixion and Serwe's death - could be delirium
*Momentarily, when Aurax nearly seduces him (with pheremones?) in the guise of Esmenet
*This is the most telling, I believe: when Esmi is pregnant and the Holy War is in Caraskand, she nearly falls down a chasm; Kellhus notes that the fall would have been fatal and, just before he saves her, feels lightheaded
There's also the scene where he has his eyes closed but didn't notice.

And in regard to the subject, there's the scene where he finds a twig in his sandal and stares at it blankly for hours before it falls from his fingers -
(click to show/hide)

Your point is one of the big issues I have with the booksas to what remains that drives a Dunyain? Through the book I almost continually rage that we don't get into this meat!!!! GRRRRRR!!!! Like the most teasing flag ever! Grrr!

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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:32 pm »
Quote from: bbaztek
Isn't what drives a dunyain their mission to become a self-moving soul? Everything else is a step in that direction, tools to help facilitate that state of being. As for what a dunyain might want to do after attaining the Absolute, it's folly to try and comprehend what might make a being that has mastered causality tick. It is so far beyond our frame of reference as human beings it's like trying to teach calculus to a frog.

edit: also it was aurang that possessed esmi in TTT. i can feel my neckbeard thickening just posting this

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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:38 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
That describes the intellectual outline of the goal. It does not describe the passion behind it.

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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:43 pm »
Quote from: bbaztek
A dunyain that has mastered the flow of causality is existing in a spontaneous state of being. It's something like being one with the Tao in Taoism and many eastern traditions. There is no emotional impetus in this mode of consciousness, or at least there are no emotional attachments. I'm not saying eastern philosophy will make you a dunyain, but it is possible to train the mind to perceive from a non-emotional vantage. Add 2,000 years of selective breeding and specialized training and Kellhus & Moe don't seem that far-fetched. I recall Bakker describing Kellhus in terms of an AI in one interview, actually.

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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:47 pm »
Quote from: Curethan
There are some extra quotes I added to the Currated Sayings Of Cu'jara Cinmoi thread (under Dunyain) that seem pertinent.

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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:52 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Earwa already seems to percieve from a non emotional perspective, in as much as it is indifferent to the pleas of men (unless they happen to be sorcerers, then it begins to listen)

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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:57 pm »
Quote from: Auriga
Quote from: Bakker User
*Possibly when Kellhus spares Cnaiur - I  think this has been touched upon by others
*The crucifixion/circumfixion and Serwe's death - could be delirium
*Momentarily, when Aurax nearly seduces him (with pheremones?) in the guise of Esmenet
*This is the most telling, I believe: when Esmi is pregnant and the Holy War is in Caraskand, she nearly falls down a chasm; Kellhus notes that the fall would have been fatal and, just before he saves her, feels lightheaded

You forgot the first scene where he feels emotion, when SerwŽ is raped by Cnaiur in front of him. He feels something move inside him, although he's not sure what it is. Father, what is this I am feeling? He's never felt empathy before, so he can't quite place it. After a while, the strange feeling - or rather a spark of feeling, a rough approximation of empathy that hasn't been fully bred out of the DŻnyain - is gone, and everything is like normal again.

I haven't read Neuropath, so I can't comment on that.

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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2013, 11:33:03 pm »
Quote from: bbaztek
Quote from: Callan S.
Earwa already seems to percieve from a non emotional perspective, in as much as it is indifferent to the pleas of men (unless they happen to be sorcerers, then it begins to listen)

You can say the same about our own objective reality, which is why Tao comparisons are so appropriate. Except Taoists are more concerned with harmonizing oneself with the ebb and flow of circumstance, as opposed to forcibly controlling it like a Dunyain. Perhaps the Dunyain are the logical endpoint of man's evolution; ie a rational creature that can upend and manipulate the natural order that birthed it.