5 Quotes By Antonio Damasio About Understanding Emotions

5 quotes by Antonio Damasio on understanding emotions

Quotes by Antonio Damasio always communicate the importance of emotions for human development. Few neurologists have contributed as much to the field of human emotion and motivation as Damasio. People do not call him the “brain wizard” for no reason.

Vilayanur Ramachandran is another prestigious and well-known neurologist from the University of California. He once said that homosapiens are the fascinating creatures that are able to see the cosmos reflected in their own minds. This poetic comparison is revealing and true. The moment we began to reflect on ourselves, we took a big step forward as a race.

On the other hand, we can not deny that the human brain has almost as many mysteries as the universe itself. Looking at the incomprehensible darkness that surrounds us produces almost the same dizziness as looking into ourselves. But according to Antonio Damasio, these days we know more about the brain than we do about the universe.

Damasio is an excellent researcher and a unique teacher. He is curious and passionate. He is a neurophilosophist capable of answering the questions we all ask ourselves at some point. All in all  , all that we are, feel and have created, is the result of a society and a civilization that resides within the incredible organ that the human brain is.

A brain with flowers on

Quotes by Antonio Damasio that will help you get to know yourself better

Humans differ from other animals mainly in one point: sophisticated intelligence. There are a few aspects of our intelligence that differentiate us from other races. One is that we have an incredible memory. The second is our use of language. In addition, Damasio points out another important human trait: emotions.

Everything we are and have achieved comes from our emotions. They are the ones who motivate us to find solutions to our problems. They push us to find alternatives and new avenues when we encounter challenges. Another important aspect of Damasio’s theories is the explicit difference between different kinds of emotions.

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, not all emotions are the same. You will see this through the various quotes by Antonio Damasio. The concept, and the quotes, come from his interesting books, such as Descartes’ Error, The Strange Order of Things, and The Feeling of What Happens.

Emotions are mental experiences

When you face a danger or person that makes you feel uncomfortable, your body reacts with a feeling. When your heart beats, you get chills, it turns in your stomach…

The mental representation that you have of that fear and of the associated thoughts creates that feeling. It is, without a doubt, one of the most well-known quotes by Antonio Damasio. Emotions are chemical and organic changes. But emotions guide us to make a decision. In the example above, you might decide to run away from the person who scares you.

A woman hiding in a cardboard box

2. The human consciousness

Antonio Damasio makes it very clear: consciousness is present in most living beings. The moment a brain (in a primate, dolphin, dog or even reptile) creates a sense of an I, consciousness arises. After all, this device is not hidden away in a hidden corner of the brain. It’s just a simple process that takes place.

There is something that differentiates us from other species. It is the fact that evolution has expanded our consciousness much more. There we find creativity, memory and logical thinking.

Emotions drive life

This is one of the important quotes of Antonio Damasio if you want to understand his work. His hypothesis comes from the following principle: an emotion is a set of chemical and neuronal reactions that form a particular pattern. When you encounter a certain stimulus, a certain reaction happens. This is because the brain is the result of learned behavior patterns.

Then after the emotional reaction comes the mental process, the feeling itself. With it, we regulate the feeling and lead it into a specific behavior. We orient it towards a more or less effective form of reaction. As such  , we could say that emotions are simply the spark of life. They are the ones who make us act.

4. The importance of compassion

Damasio has always shown himself to be very sensitive to the social crisis of mankind. It is normal to hear him talk about violence, inequality and conflict in his presentations. He believes we have lost our sense of compassion. He claims that we have allowed ourselves to be gripped by negative emotions such as anger and resentment.

We need to be able to create environments that encourage positive emotions. Only then will we thrive, only then will we understand each other better.

This is yet another one of the most famous quotes by Antonio Damasio. He often expresses skepticism about artificial intelligence and its future with us. Just as he explains in his latest book, The Strange Order of Things, this type of entity will never be comparable to human consciousness. We need to keep in mind that our brain is the result of a sophisticated evolutionary process.

These computer processes based on code and silicone lack past experiences, emotions, fears, vulnerabilities and of course consciousness. That’s why they never want emotions. They can help us in many ways, but they will never become intelligent beings.

Children and robots at a table

As we have seen in these quotes by Antonio Damasio, humans are the result of a brain development characterized by self-awareness, language and most importantly emotions. So while this body, made up of 100,000 million neurons, may seem like a mystery inside a riddle, scientists like Damasio can help us understand more and more about it (and ourselves) every day.

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