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  • Writer's pictureHai Xiang

Why "Follow Your Heart" Actually Works

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

1. We underestimate the role of feelings in human development. Feelings like hunger and satisfaction provide important information about how the body is doing and they can spur the mind into action if food is needed. Feelings like pain and curiosity also lead the mind to concoct remedies for ailments and solutions for problems. It is the feelings, rather than intelligence, that leads human to innovation. Feelings also tell how well something is working and if it needs improvement.

2. Feelings are part of our basic life functions, and they emerged relatively recently. Homeotasis as an instinctual desire for balance or equilibrium. It is considered the driving force behind the internal processes that have kept all organism surviving and thriving since day one. Feelings are agencies of homeostasis and it tells how what the body wants. Feelings evolve too, now we have developed in to self-consciousness, which has enabled us to reflect on homeostasis and what it meant to be alive. Recent development since 600 million years ago: (1) Nervous system that allows message from around the body, including pain and hunger, to reach the brain; (2) Mental process that turns merely mechanical responses to conscious experiences.

3. Our feelings go head in head with the ability to create images in the mind. By touching an object, we can draw the shape and texture of it with mind. Advancements that help innovation process: (1) imaging more abstract images; (2) memorizing concepts and flow of events.

4. Our perception of events is deeply rooted in our feelings, the minds and body are also deeply connected.

  • Valence: the emotional levels we use to judge an experience.

  • Brain is part of nervous system, while the nervous system is deeply connected to the body. So when feelings arise, it is due to a simultaneous interaction between the body and the nervous system.

5. The two main aspects of consciousness are subjectivity and the way feelings influence perception. Subjectivity: (1) your unique experiences, including what you see and hear, which are basis that latter turned into mental images; (2) Your own personal affect > the emotions and meanings you apply to your perceptions.

6. Feelings have inspired culture in all its experiences.

"Prior to the evolution of complex minds, early humans came up with inventions as a direct response to homeostatic feelings of hunger, fear and cold. These feelings spur inventions like shelter, clothing and fire."

The comes with the religion, which likely came as a response to feelings of grief and loss over the loved ones and feeling of strengthless in face of natural disasters. Arts provide a sense of comfort and consolation by offering people entertainment and uplifting feelings. Then comes the development of philosophy, which was spurred on by the feelings of awe and wonder. Modern science is spurred by the feelings of frustrations, inconvenience and drive innovations further in hopes of bettering the human conditions.

7. Homeostasis can explain many of today’s problems and anxieties. The principles of homeostasis were formed by the rules governing the natural world, and they dictate how we experience and respond to our environment. That is a process that has less to do with logic and more to do with emotions of pleasure and pain, which is believed to be in contrary to modernity.


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