Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Instinct vs. Feelings

Prata had an interesting blog the other day. He touched on a lot of subjects, but one, "instinct vs. feelings" is an interesting concept that I have some thoughts about.

I asked him if he would not mind be blogging about this, not because I am a curious soul, but because Prata has asked me nearly the same thing in the past. I really don't know if he wants me to talk about it. The risks we take. So here we go.

Instinct verses Feelings. Let's say you have a stimulus, for instance, seeing a snake running close to your feet. Well, normal people recoil. Prata would probably kick the crap out of the snake, but I am talking about normal people – more on this later. When we are recoiling, this is an instinct. We instinctually recoil when we see what we think is a snake (hey, I recoil when I see moving vines, twigs, etc.).

Would you rather fuck than fold socks?
Somebody did a study – I remember this from a Psych class, so forgive me if it is a load of crap – where they showed people (and other primates) a series of pictures. And they measured iris size – and it was fairly universal that everyone (and their moneys too) constricted their irises when viewing snakes. Uncontrollable. Anyway, the psychologists inferred that humans (and other primates) instinctually recoil from the image of snakes. Crap. Maybe it said they are afraid of snakes. Crap. This is not where I wanted to go.

You see, most people respond with fear when seeing snakes. Fear is an emotion. I wanted to show how emotions and instincts are separate, but perhaps they somehow seem to interact with one another. Not all emotions, but some of them. Fear can be a good motivator. Instinctually we may react to things that scare us. Snakes, for instance. But just because there is an interaction, it does not mean that they are the same thing.

Okay, this post is officially lame.

Prata said in one of his last posts, "I’m not a hard man to get along with I don’t think. I’m a man of principle though, and I am certainly picky." I think most of us think we are "not hard to get along with." We rarely think, "I am a pain in the ass."

Oh, and you know, I am hard to live with - it has taken time, but it is the truth. When I was first married, I thought to myself, "Hubbie is so fortunate to have such a loving and understanding wife. His transition from bachelorhood to husband will be so freekin' easy." I remember teaching hubbie the right way to fold socks. We both folded them differently, and my way was the "right" way, and his way was the "wrong" way. He tied them in knots (the longer socks), and rolled the shorter socks in balls. I, however, stuffed the socks so as not to stretch them. We still fold them my way, but it took him several years to master my sock-stuffing method. Bottom line is that I spent a lot of time telling him how wrong he was (really), and he listened to me and tried to get better at such a useless thing. We could have used that time to redecorate, to learn French, or to fuck. Wasted time, because I am a tad inflexible.

I don't know if you know anyone who has OCD, but when we say we are a tad inflexible, you can translate it to someone who rigidly follows a complex set of rules in order to try to control her environment.

Me, I am still scared of snakes, but I can, over the course of years, teach people to fold socks. Folding socks is not instinctual. Neither is learning French.


LarryLilly said...

Still adjusting your meds huh?


Tony said...

I have a feeling my instincts are correct, though I instinctually distrust my feelings. Hmmm, could I borrow some meds?

Hubbie learned early to chose his battles. I'm easy enough to get along with. I'm even keeled while the wife runs the gamut of emotions. We balance each other out.

KnowOne said...

ummm am i supposed to come back for your views on

LarryLilly said...

I have found that women have a keen, crystal clear as a line in a movie once said, instincts. And I have seen that its not even drunk wise to try to BS one. (drunk wise is when under the influence, EVERYTHING is clear, even your line that its not dark out when its 2am, since its light somewhere)

I dont fight at all with her, dont argue or bet with her, since resistance is futile. Now, we do have off limit areas, she has the computer room, I have the garage/shop. Its not a garage, its a shop. She stays out of it, I dont move anything in the computer room. As far as socks and tighty whiteys go, she folds them, i just toss them in, After all, there just socks and tighty whiteys, they dont need to be creased.

Leesa, i bet you iron your jeans then?

Crease sharp enough to cut aged chedder?


Prata said...

Maybe I can help you out here? Intinct is in practicality an inherited group of reflexes which involve the entirely of the creature. Instinct is above all things inherited. It is not learned.

Emotion is changes with perspective. You don't learn to feel a certain way, but the same situation presented in different ways can cause you to feel differently. Instincts do not bear this particular trait.

Typically your iris size changes in response to light. It will also change in response to certain other stimuli. Let's take the snake example along with that. Instincts are beneath conscious thought, you do not think to accomplish an instintive response. Although your mind processes that the picture of a snake is harmless, your mind still registers this thing as a snake. The result is, your body instinctively begins a series of events, but are then coupled with the lack of danger, which halts further response by the rest of the body...and why your irises respond as if there is an immediate threat, but the rest of your body does not continue the response. Your eyes are the first to see and react to the brain's interpretation, before conscious thought (reason) kicks in.

Leesa said...

larry: and I thought my meds were properly adjusted. No, I don't iron my jeans (I just take them out of the dryer right after the cycle ends).

tony: sometimes I don't realize how I am until after my emotions change.

knowone: half of a blog, I know.

prata: you said that "Emotion is changes with perspective." So do instincts. For the snake example you mentioned, once you know that the snake is not a real danger (change in perspective), your body's reaction to instinct changed. Thanks for the iris explanation.

Prata said...

Perhaps that was a bad phrase...emotion is conscious behavior..the difference here is that the recognition of danger is not is sub-conscious.

Leesa said...

prata: fair enough. But fear is an emotion and when I am on the rollercoaster and there is a juge dip, I am afraid - even when I don't want to be afraid. I guess it is conscious but not controlled. Sort of an involuntary response to the stimulus.

LarryLilly said...

Fear is natural, and if we are exposed to the same event that causes us fear, like seeing snakes, or being in war, its effects on the person can be reduced. The primal aspect of fear is that it eliminates our minds from the "What if?" question. Our senses are shut off, we are no longer using our eyes, our sight, reason, we are disabled. Humans have the ability to constantly learn, to reduce the impact on the primal senses, and to allow the basic senses to help mitigate the effects that fear brings. To face an event over and over again, and come through it, enables the person to start a mental gotcha count, like indians counting coup, a way to build up oneself and to lessen the imapcts on them as they face it again.

Ever try seeing snakes at the zoo?

Prata said...

That's fair Leesa! Oh..and psiphon is going well so far. I have about 5 users right now that use it regularly in China. I'm so excited. Just as a note on what they seem to be looking up, porn, wikipedia, and various technological states of being in other countries. Very interesting so far. I'm excited.

Leesa, I've always viewed you as a tad inflexible by the way. *snickers*

(Please don't hit me)

QUASAR9 said...

"We could have used that time to redecorate, to learn French, or to fuck. Wasted time, because I am a tad inflexible."

Well, Leesa If you are inflexible in how you do that, your husband is either very luck - or ...

Mind you most women (and I am not exaggerating) are usually bored with the way their men do it. Not what they expected at all. And after the thrill or excitement of the first few moments of discovery recedes, most are left with somthing which seems or feels like nothing more than another chore

Leesa said...

larry: bigger snakes don't scare me (anaconda), but poisionous snakes scare the crap out of me (even behind glass).

prata: yeah, that's fair. I am inflexible.

quasar: I went through the chore phase.

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