5 sentences of Antonio Damasio to better understand our emotions

5 sentences of Antonio Damasio to better understand our emotions

In Antonio Damasio's sentences, we always feel the importance of affect and emotions in the development of people. This teacher, who is considered to be "the brain wizard", is one of the neurologists who has contributed most to the understanding of the fascinating world of human feelings and motivations.

Vilayanur Ramachandran, another prestigious neurologist at the University of California, once said that Homo Sapiens is this fascinating creature who at one point was able to look at his own mind and see the universe reflected in it. . This poetic and revealing approach contains an almost obvious reality. The moment from which we began to reflect on ourselves marked the achievement of a great step as a species.

"The conscious mind is the result of the very well articulated functioning of many, and often many, brain areas."

-Antonio Damasio-

On the other hand, we can not deny the fact that the human brain contains almost the same mysteries as those contained in the universe. To look at this bottomless immensity inhabited by celestial bodies that surround us every night produces the same vertigo that we feel when we observe our own interior. However, according to Antonio Damasio, today we know a lot more about the brain than about the universe.

Excellent scientist, curious passionate and exceptional whistleblower, Damasio is this neuro-philosopher capable of giving us the simplest answers to the questions we have always asked ourselves. Ultimately, all that we are, all that we feel, all that we have created as a society and as a civilization lies in this wonderful organ: the human brain.

Antonio Damasio's sentences to get to know us better

The human being is characterized by one main thing: his sophisticated intelligence. We have a great memory and our language defines us and distinguishes us from other species on the planet. Damasio points to the fact that, beyond all this, there is one aspect that we can not omit.

All we are and what we come to be is related to our feelings. It is they who give us sufficient motivation to seek a solution to the problems, alternatives to our doubts and new paths when we face our difficulties. Another crucial aspect in the theories of this University of California professor is the clear distinction he makes between emotions and feelings.

Beyond what we can think, these two notions are very different. This is something we can often see in Antonio Damasio's sentences that feed his interesting books such as The error of Descartes, the strange Order of things, And the brain created Man.

1. Feelings are mental experiences

"Feelings open the door to a certain amount of premeditated control of automated emotions."

When we see a danger, when we face a person who worries us or makes us unhappy, our body reacts with emotion. Our heart is accelerating, we have chills, our stomach is tense …

The mental representation we have of this fear and the associated thoughts are the feeling. This is probably one of Antonio Damasio's most famous sentences. Emotions precede feelings, they are chemical and organic alterations. However, feelings are the guides that will ultimately allow us to make a decision such as avoiding a person who scares us.

2.The conscience in the human being

"What is the use of consciousness?" The answer is simple: consciousness serves to broaden the scope of the mind of the body and thus improve the life of this organism whose mind has more reach.

Antonio Damasio left things clear: consciousness is present in large part in human beings. When a brain, primate, dolphin, dog, or reptile, creates a sense of self, consciousness appears. This entity is not localized in our brain, it's actually a process.

What differentiates us from the rest of the species is the fact that evolution has extended our consciousness. In our consciousness lies creativity, memory, logical reasoning …

3.The emotions drive life

"The beginning of everything was emotion, so feeling is not a passive process."

This is another phrase of Antonio Damasio very important to understand his work. His hypothesis is based on the following principle: an emotion is a set of chemical and neural responses that are part of a distinctive pattern. When we face a certain stimulus, a type of reaction is generated.This is because our brain is the result of an evolution of learned behavioral repertoires.

After this emotional response, the mental process arrives and then comes the feeling. With him, we regulate the emotion and we can direct it towards a determined behavior, a motivation and a more or less effective type of response. We can therefore say that emotions are like the spark of life, the one that drives us to act.

4.The importance of compassion

"You have to learn to nurture the good emotions that allow humans to thrive."

Damasio is always very sensitive to the social crisis that is living in humanity. In his lectures, it is usual to hear more about violence, inequality, conflicts between countries. For this famous philosopher, we have lost the ability to have compassion and we often let ourselves be led by negative emotions such as anger, rage and resentment.

We must be able to create neighborhood environments where more positive emotions can be generated. It's the only way to prosper, to understand ourselves better.

5. Artificial intelligence can never equalize human intelligence

"I am totally against the idea that artificial intelligence can recreate a human mind because it has no ability to have feelings."

This is one of Antonio Damasio's most famous sentences. It's common to hear his skepticism about artificial intelligence and its future in our society. As he explains in his latest book "The order of things", this type of entity can never be compared to human consciousness. We must remember that our brain is the result of a sophisticated evolution.

These technological processes based on codification and silicon lack past experience, emotions, fears, vulnerability and of course conscience. It is for this rule of three that they will never succeed in feeling feelings. They can help us for many things, but will never be emotionally intelligent.

To conclude, as we saw in the sentences of Antonio Damasio, the human being is undoubtedly the result of a brain development based on self-awareness, language and above all emotions. Although this organ may at first glance appear to be a mystery of 100,000 million neurons, we get more information and knowledge every day about what we are thanks to such big scientists as Damasio.

Antonio Damasio, the neurologist of emotions

Discover the work of the neuroscientist and neurophilosopher Antonio Damasio on the brain, emotions and feelings. Learn more
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