Homo Deus: Subjective Experiences

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Homo Deus: Subjective Experiences

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Redigeret: aug 28, 2017, 5:24pm

Harari's claim, when he gives the analogy of the stock market or traffic jam for that of neurological responses and feelings/subjective experiences (p.110), is that his analogies don't offer any insight into the process. I beg to differ.

Using my own analogy, say someone slaps me in the face. Electrical impulses from all of my senses (touch, smell, sight, etc.) are sent to my brain, in response to external stimuli (the slap on my face, the pressure on my skin and perhaps the presence of friction/heat, the vision of someone's hand in proximity to my face as opposed to a bug or a stick, etc.). My brain, the calculator/computer, decides which impulses are important, and which can be ignored (probably why I don't always remember breathing or blinking, but I remember someone slapping me in the face). My brain calculates that a hand probably slapped me in the face.

Since being slapped in the face isn't something that happens all the time like blinking or breathing, my brain is likely to calculate a need for a deliberate reaction to the event: I could either react in self-defense and slap the person back, I could run away, or I could call for more information before further calculating what to do. Perhaps the person swung their hand back, not paying attention to where I was, and slapped me by mistake. I wouldn't know unless my senses told me so, or if they explained their self to me.

My point here is that our senses and resulting electrical impulses tell us how to respond to external stimuli. This is, in my opinion, how some people re-train/"re-wire" themselves to respond differently to certain situations. Maybe when I was younger my brain was originally trained to respond to conflicts with violence, because I grew up in a violent household and that type of response was beneficial for my survival. But, that response no longer is beneficial for me in my own personal relationships, and I am now becoming the abuser. So, I must re-train my brain to react to conflicts with careful thought and consideration, learning to calmly discuss through issues instead of trying to escalate the situation for power.

I think feelings or emotions are simply labels humans apply to a certain set of conditions/stimuli that make it easier to communicate with one another. It's so much easier to say "I'm angry!" than it is to list off your sensations at that moment, and expect the other person to guess that you are indeed angry. This is why so many people seem to feel differently, some have higher pain tolerances because their set of conditions for "pain" isn't exactly the same as another human's set of conditions for "pain". It's why when someone says "I'm happy" you might ask "why?" Because their set of conditions for happiness might be completely different than your set of conditions for happiness. It's why we can see when dogs, who clearly don't speak in English or any other language, appear "happy" or "angry" or "sad" - because their actions appear similar to our own reactions for certain sets of stimuli. If we think a dog is happy, it's because they look like they're smiling, their body language is non-threatening, their wagging their tail in what appears to be excitement.

Bottom Line: Contrary to what Harari says, I think anger (pain, sadness, love, etc.) is a term (perhaps not exactly abstract, but a word to describe) we use as a shorthand for billions of electric brain signals.