You cannot choose how you feel!  

rm_mtnravyn 60M
501 posts
9/24/2005 5:30 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

You cannot choose how you feel!

In the mid 1980’s brain researchers began describing the evolution of the brain as having had three distinct stages. The model which emerged has been called the Triune Brain. The three stages have been called (1) the reptilian, (2) the mammalian, and (3) the human brains. Essentially sequential evolutionary steps in the development of higher thought processes.
The reptilian brain, or the brain stem and basal ganglia, was the first to develop. It controls the most basic of survival and sensory motor functions. When functioning at this level the only items of concern are food, shelter, procreation, and possibly territory.
The next evolutionary step was the mammalian brain, or limbic system. This complex little system deals with emotions, sensory evaluation, glandular control, and automatic functions such as heart rate, respiration, metabolism. It is also believed to be the switching and indexing center for memory. The ability to learn is directly connected to the functioning of the limbic system, since emotional well being is essential for advanced learning to take place.
The last evolutionary step, to date, is that of the human brain, or the neocortex. The gray matter of the brain. This is the seat of higher thought processes including reasoning, decision-making, purposeful behavior. Language and intellectual functioning take place here. It is also the control center for voluntary motor control. The neocortex composes about 80% of the brain relative to size.

This is one of the more predominant theories around how the brain is structured. I included it to provide the backdrop for discussing the truth of "You cannot choose your feelings." In the brain structure emotions fall in the "mammalian" area of the brain, which does mean they are outside the conscious control. But in relationships it is not our emotions which get us in trouble. It is our behaviors. "Reasoning, decision making, and purposeful behavior" take place in the human brain. They are under conscious control.

Actually I used two words interchangeably which I maybe should not have – emotion and feeling. It has been argued that, in this context, feeling applies to the internal experience and emotion to the external display. Anyone who has felt afraid but exhibited anger can understand that. So why would we choose to allow our mammalian brain overrule our human one in the case of relationships. I would love to hear some of your thoughts on this. Could it be Freud's libido overruling ego?
Maybe its the childish "I want what I want when I want it?" Maybe it is a way to deny responsibility for a choice we sense may be detrimental to our well being?

2xTwiceShy 51M
470 posts
9/24/2005 6:40 pm

Light the fire, bud. This could be a long, drawn out discussion.

First, I think what you suggested was an automatic response is clinically described as an autotonic response. Pupils dialating in the light, adrenaline pumping in the face of danger, hiccups.

The neo cortex is considerably smaller in man vs dolphin, as a percentage of brain mass, generally considered key in left brain thinking: navigation, mathematics, reasoning. The "grey matter", linked moreso with long term memory is far greater in man, not necessarily suggesting more memories, but more emotions tied to all those memories. As far as true memory goes, your average retriever can recall details more accurately than you or I. But he will not have had the opportunity to gather his thoughts and consider any action other than the one that first entered his mind.

We developed hindsight, and an understanding of time lines. Few of our mammmal companions seem to have adopted as much. Their thoughts berate the idea that they should do unto you today what they should have done unto you yesterday.

As for us homosapiens developing relationships and moving on to build blogs, we search for that which makes us happy. Our distant hairy cousins ask no less, but they don't look at yearbooks or jewelry. We seek that which brings comfort, enlightenment, peace, and happiness to our own hearts.

We might settle for three out of four, but those relationships will fail. Want what you want. It'll be pointless until you find the lady who wants it too.

sweetalyssum 47F

9/24/2005 7:27 pm

So you are saying that we may feel a certain way about someone...what we choose to do about those feelings is another matter. ???

I believe it would be the childish, "I want what I want, when I want it," combined with the denial of responsibility. And isn't it rather childish to want to deny responsibility for choosing that which we instinctively know will hurt us.

Very interesting Ravyn.

rm_mtnravyn 60M
890 posts
9/24/2005 8:22 pm

Actually 2x Most of the studies show that the search for meaning supercedes that for happiness. The theory is that menaing is more closely linked to ongoing survival than happiness. And the theoretical portion was not mine, although I do believe in the Triune Brain. As far as emotions tied to memories, that is aneuronal feedback loop betwent he gray matter and the limbic system but does tend to be unconscious rather than conscioous, Behavior is still chosen and can be changed, even when the trigger is a trauma in ones history. To abdicate control of ones behavior is to choose irresponsibiity.

rm_mtnravyn 60M
890 posts
9/24/2005 8:27 pm

agoigo Imprinting as a concept applies only to the limbic system and does not negate the power to choose. There are a lot of trauma studies that show recovery time is accelerated with a healthy childhood history, but the emoitonal scarring tends to have consdierable long term impact. The reverse is also true. Many chlidren from very abusive backgrounds can recover and live healthier lives if they are exposed to consistent, caring, supportive, nurturing relationships. It takes time but it is worth it. Thansk for your input.

MillsShipsGayly 51M

9/24/2005 10:52 pm

hmmmm, Why do people act in a way they know is self-destructive? Compulsive, addictive activities such as drugs, alcohol, unprotected sex and AdultFriendFinder blogging

Interesting (stimulating mentally) ideas. Random thoughts below:

When someone commits suicide, has the mammalian or human brain overruled the reptilian one?

There is an odd luxury to not disciplining one's behaviours and statements even when one knows they will be harmful.

Oddly, this problem has become increasingly relevant to me as I have gotten older. Is there a lifecycle of importance for each of these brain functions?

My ivy league education ..vs.. My caveman behaviours
Worse, I tried to compartmentalize rather than integrate.

So is blogging healthy??????

rm_FreeLove999 46F
16127 posts
9/25/2005 3:56 am

to be honest, and just observing my toddler, you need to develop skills to make the right behavioural choices -- you learn these when you are young based on a number of factors, and they become engrained, even when they are no longer appropriate ... then you have to go through a process of habit breaking and unlearning ... it also takes a lot of practice to become conscious off your emotional habits and how easily you slip into them, the triggers etc. i am hoping to teach my daughter these skills early on -- like now -- to save her some of the trouble i have had with my emotions. however, these things are also a lifelong process -- we make mistakes, we pick ourselves up, hopefully have the decency to apologise, admit our mistakes and move forward!

[blog freelove999]

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