evolutionary significance of emotions !!

sisial sisial at email.msn.com
Fri Mar 10 17:19:37 EST 2000

"Etaoin Shrdlu" <cooper17.spamless at xs4all.nl> wrote in message
news:8aapv4$q9m$2 at news1.xs4all.nl...

> It is precisely this question, "Why can't you just act normal?" that I
> have always found so offensive. The idea that curbing my own attitudes
> and behaviors was/is the only way to gain any social acceptance is more
> than depressing, it's infuriating. To actually answer the question, I
> _did_.

I know. It infuriates me as well. My point is that highly creative
individuals are, by nature, at conflict with their environment. It is not a
choice we make; it is a natural course of development.

> Yeah, yeah, that's what teachers and parents and so forth said I was
> doing when I "insisted" on wanting to talk about things that others
> didn't, had interests they didn't, etc.

Keep in mind, I am not implying that seeking new problems is necessarily a
bad thing. How could things be discovered, invented, created, if nobody is
pushing the edge. Often as a society we expect to have all the benefits of
creative ingenuity with none of the idiosyncracies which result in creative

> I don't want a life of turmoil because I'm
> creative; I'd much rather have a rational and interesting debate than an
> argument, any time.

If there is no point of conflict, there is nothing to debate. Things could
get boring rather quickly. How we chose to handle conflict is another matter
all together. Like you, I prefer diplomacy.

> I found myself in conflict with my environment. I hated this. I was
> called contrary and everything else you say here; it wasn't true.
> "Contrariness" indeed. I find it far too important to understand the
> world, and even human society, to be "contrary", or any other "let's
> always knee-jerk the same response" attitude, but I don't hold my tongue
> when I think someone's wrong, and thus got labeled "argumentative". "Why
> couldn't you just keep your mouth shut?" "But Mom, he said all green
> snakes are poisonous, and they aren't!" "Well, who cares? There wouldn't
> have been a conflict if you'd kept your mouth shut." "But it wan't
> true!" "Oh, why do you have to be so contrary all the time?"

I was suggesting is that highly creative individuals may be more sensitive
to contradiction, disorder, and imbalance. This is not to say they are
themselves contradictory. Actually, quite the opposite. I would think they
would be trying to resolve contradiction, since this would feed their
creative drive.

> Could be... if I feel that I am not able to communicate myself on a
> level which other people are able to understand, I do often feel that
> this could be a failing in myself.

Yeh, I find communicating with others to be equally difficult. However, I
would not put it off as a failing. Communication is a two way process.

> What problem do I solve by conceptualzing and writing about a group of
> organisms colonizing Jupiter? Or by doodling horses on the backs of
> envelopes? Creativity is a _force_, akin to hunger or fear a tendency to
> lead or follow. It can be used as, and probably developed as, a useful
> mental tool--build a better hut than your neighbors--but what problem
> was solved by painting bison on cave walls millennia ago? Maybe they
> thought it would help them catch food, magically, but maybe they just
> felt like doing that, too. It is with words that I find my creativity
> flowing most, and yet I am not a lawyer and my book hasn't sold yet, but
> I keep on doing it--what problem does this sove for me? In my opinion,
> it fulfills the need to write, solves the burning problem of not being
> writing. That makes it a totally reflexive tool in this case.

I would suggest that if you feel compelled to act, acting is a solution.
Perhaps feeling is the problem.

> Well, to shoot off on a tangent, the thought processes of someone who
> _has been_ depressed are often clearer and more focussed than they were
> before the depressive bout, and this is also true of a painter before
> and after the work, so quite possibly both situations stimulate a state
> of mind from which it is likely one will emerge "better off" than when
> one went in... In other words, both might be a "deliberate" action on
> the part of the brain to produce certain neurotransmitters, etc., which
> it (the brain) "considers" a good prescription for the problem at
> hand--or as a building tool to a better state, as I find that I often
> don't have a "problem" at moments when I am compelled to produce art.

Or, perhaps both are the result of the action of certain neurochemicals in
the brain which constrain optimal development toward more divergent thought

Acting seems to me to be the key to the entire thing. If we need to act, and
have the resources and skills to act, then a solution is possible. But, what
about when we have a need to act, but lack the resources or skills to act?
What responses might we expect from a highly creative individual under such

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