Not until the illusion of emotions is understood, will the power of emotions be revealed.
Are basic and complex emotions the perception, by consciousness, of a physiological biochemistry actuated by cognitive activities of our evolved and nurtured neurocircuitry? If emotions are a perception of a state of physical being precipitated by cognition, then emotions are a reflection of, and give insights to, the nature of cognitive behavior. The correlations between cognition, physiological biochemistry, and good and bad feeling emotions is a result of millions of years of evolutionary survival for the health and well-being of the individual. It is how this correlation between cognition and emotions is nurtured by consciousness for decision making within our reptilian (reflexive) and mammalian (cerebral) modes of flight, fright or freeze that must be understood and developed within our society. (ref. 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, 1-7, 1-8, 1-9, 1-10)
A person cannot perceive the pain of putting their hand on a hot stove without first putting their hand on the hot stove. A person cannot have an emotional event to an accident of a person injuring themselves in a table saw without first having an accident to be perceived. The accident must occur first, which is then perceived and cognitively digested by the brain/mind, which in turns activates biochemical physiological changes within the body. It is these changes that trigger an emotional event that are perceptually available for consciousness’s decision-making activities.
How is an “emotionally out of control” person “emotionally” out of control? If a person is having a “fit of rage”, or “acting out in anger” or commits a “crime of passion’, is he/she being “emotionally out of control” because his/her emotions are controlling cognition and physiological/biochemical behavior, or, is he/she being “cognitively out of control” because cognitive activities are creating physiological and biochemical changes consciousness then perceives and calls emotions?
Emotional events do not occur without any biochemical physiological changes. To have an emotional event, there must first exist corollary biochemical change events within the body and these biochemical events in the body are initiated by activities within the cognitive neural networks. Since emotional events are triggered by cognitive events, being emotionally out of control is a false construct of the mind. It is not possible that an emotional event can precede its corollary cognitive event. Therefore, a person who is “emotionally out of control” is in fact “cognitively out of control” and any “emotional disorders” must first be understood as “cognitive disorders”.
What are basic and complex emotions but the perception, by consciousness, of physiological biochemistry actuated by cognitive activities of our evolved and nurtured neurocircuitry? If emotions are a perception of a state of physical being precipitated by cognition, emotions are a reflection of, and give insights to, the nature of cognitive behavior. The correlations between cognition, physiological biochemistry, and consciousness’s awareness of good and bad feeling emotions is a result of millions of years of evolutionary survival for the health and well-being of the individual. It is how this correlation between cognition and emotions is used by consciousness for decision making that must be understood and developed within our society.
This paper uses the theory of evolution to develop an argument that there are fundamental and necessary correlations between (1) the mental activities of cognition, (2) the body’s physiology and biochemistry, (3) the emotional perceptions of feeling good and feeling bad, and (4) consciousness. Understanding these correlations reveals an emotional neural circuitry designed to perceive all cognitive activity in terms of a healthy/unhealthy physiological biochemistry. Because a cognitive event precedes its corollary emotional event, consciousness cannot regulate or manage emotions directly. Consciousness can regulate and manage cognitive activities which consequently initiate physiological and biochemical changes that are then perceived as emotions. The power and extreme usefulness of emotions being a consequence of cognition is developed and elaborated as an evolved emotional guidance system for consciousness to evaluate and modify cognitive activities. It is this understanding that is so important for the mental health community. This aspect of an evolved emotional guidance system must be incorporated into psychological and pharmaceutical therapy as well as into every day personal usage for the health and well-being of an individual.
But, awareness of emotional conditions is another awareness of cognition…. which then can form a circular feedback loop. This feedback, which if left unabated, can re-repeat upon itself where the feedback is more dominate than the original awareness. This is similar to the distortion that can occur between a repetitive feedback loop between a microphone and a speaker. Here cognition is a response to emotion, that is, emotions are generating a feedback loop in which cognition is incorporating into its original cognitive activities giving the illusion that emotions are constructive/destructive rather than cognition.
Section 2 of this paper reasons that emotions are an evolved biological system designed to give feedback on cognitive activities through the perception of physiological and biochemical behavior. Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 integrate this cognitive/emotional feedback circuit into psychological and pharmaceutical therapies. Section 7 develops the progression of emotional wisdom in guiding cognitive activities towards healthy, successful, and environmentally adaptive deductions, conclusions and decisions. And lastly, examples of cognitive-emotional behavior therapeutic exercises are outlined in Section 8.
Introduction to Symbiotic Psychology
The physical pain of a hand on a hot stove brings about a very natural reflexive response. Such pain is a signal to get the hand off the stove. If the pain is ignored and the hand remains on the hot stove, the biochemical signature of the hand changes to the degree that the hand burns. If the hand is quickly taken off, maybe no medical attention is needed. If the natural response of the body is usurped in some fashion and the hand burns a little, maybe a little salve would allow the healing. But the longer the natural signals are covered up or ignored, the worse the damage and the more extensive the healing process, including skin grafts or worse. The crux of the problem is disregard for the body’s signal to take the hand off the stove.
But aren’t emotions also giving signals? Certain cognitive perceptions, thoughts and actions feel good. Other cognitive perceptions, thoughts and actions feel bad. This feels good; this feels bad. What is the significance of understanding emotions as an evolved biological guidance system for cognitive behavior? What is the neurological liaison between mind, body, emotions and consciousness that promotes health and well-being? How can this relationship be exploited to develop more effective psychological and pharmaceutical therapies? How can this relationship be used in daily, moment to moment decisions towards happiness and well-being?
Cognition, Emotions, Physiology and Neurology
There is a vast array of interconnecting neurological networks which allow communication between the different functional areas of the brain. These evolved neurological circuits support liaisons between cognitive neural networks, body’s biochemical physiology and emotional neural networks, and consciousness (ref 1-9). Whereas the five sensory neural networks provide information about the external environment, the emotional neural networks provide information about the state of the body’s environment itself.
There is an array of neurological networks associated with positive emotions, a second associated with negative emotions and a third that inhibits or stops and freezes action (ref 1-9, 1-10). Because different combinations of arrays are activated under different circumstances and nuances, there exist a great variety of corollary possibilities between cognition, the brain/body physiology and biochemistry, the emotional perception of feeling good and feeling bad, and the associated activities within each function.
Neurological networks develop, grow, and even reorganize throughout life. New relationships among these networks develop as new lessons in life are experienced and learned. This attribute of neural networks is called neuroplasticity (ref 1-11). As a result of neuroplasticity, every person has the neurological capacity to change and develop new interpretations of and responses to his or her environmental stimuli.
Cognition deals with the processes of knowing, namely, perception, recognition, conceiving, and reasoning (ref 1-12). The focus of, this paper, however, is how emotions have evolved their own wisdom as to how that knowledge should be processed for the health and well-being of the individual. Emotional neural circuits provide feedback as to how cognitive processes need to be further utilized before any internal mental deliberations have been properly concluded. The significance of negative emotions means the presence of a physiological biochemistry that is unhealthy for the individual and the need for more cognitive deliberation. The work isn’t finished until the presence of positive emotions are dominate as are their corollary healthy physiological biochemistries.
The Four Postulates of Symbiotic Psychology
- Cognition precipitates changes in body’s physiological biochemistry which consciousness then perceives as emotions. Therefore, since emotions are a consequence of cognitive behavior they are not constructive or destructive in themselves and only exist as a reflection of very real constructive and destructive cognitive behavior.
- Emotionally feeling good correlates with the body’s physiological biochemistry and the mind’s cognition and an actuality of physical health and well-being. Therefore, cognitive activities should not dwell within emotionally negative events but continue an iteration of various cognitive activities until emotionally good feelings reflect physical health and well-being.
- Because our basic emotional ethical system of ‘feels good is good’ evolved out of the reptilian brain, parenting and community education and training must strive to push moral and ethical debate up into our mammalian brain where a more complex cognitive and emotional awareness of a ‘feels good is good’ ethics can be sustained.
- As a result of neuroplasticity, every person has the neurological capacity to change and develop new interpretations of and responses to his or her environmental stimuli. Neurological networks develop, grow, and even reorganize throughout life. New relationships among these networks develop as new lessons in life are experienced and learned. Reality changes as new neural cognitive networks form. That which is understood and known to be real today may not exist tomorrow.
Within the United States, every year, 44,000 people kill themselves. (https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/) How many of those made a decision, consciously or unconsciously, to “reject” help from modern psychological and pharmaceutical therapy? What of those mass shootings with the killing of innocent men, women, and children? Why aren’t these mentally ill perpetrators reaching for help? Also, as a result of neuroplasticity, every person has the neurological capacity to change and develop new interpretations of and responses to his or her environmental stimuli. The irreverence of this biological wonder is demonstrated within the U.S.A.’s criminal “justice” system. What is going wrong with mental wellness in the U.S.? Can the mental health community do better? What are modern psychological and pharmaceutical therapies missing?
Since I began voicing my concerns over erroneous psychological and pharmaceutical therapeutic methodologies, over a million (MILLION) people have committed suicide, millions of other people have been put in incarcerating conditions that only amplify their psychological injuries and mass shootings continue with no review of the psychological environments fostering all of these atrocities. Lack of true academic questioning and review of psychological and pharmaceutical therapeutic practices within the U.S.A. is a true crime against humanity.
The thesis of this paper is that emotions are perceptions of physiological biochemistry states and that these physiological biochemical states of the body are a product of cognition neural networks stimulating areas of the brain that in turn produce the changes in biochemistry. Since emotions are a perception of a state of physical being precipitated by cognition, “aberrant and destructive emotions” are but a reflection of the true prime mover, cognition. And, cognitive activities can be extremely aberrant and destructive. It is cognition that must be managed by understanding the significance and meanings of emotional perceptions. (ref. 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, 1-7, 1-8)
I believe there is enough argument of logic within this paper to foster much-needed academic discussions. Until such a time occurs, much can be individually accomplished by just understanding the arguments within this discussion and applying the principles of symbiotic psychology to everyday, mundane events in life. This paper is my effort to promote a new wave of understandings within the symbiotic relationships between cognition, physiological biochemistry, emotions, and consciousness.
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