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20: The order of things

A Thousand Things to Talk About
20: The order of things
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Today, we’re talking about the order of things.

Specifically, Emotional then physical, or physical then emotional?

Show notes and links:
Feeling Our Emotions (Scientific American)


Full episode text

In a 2005 interview with Scientific American, Antonio R. Damasio discussed at length his lifelong study of the connection between emotional and physical.

He argues that it is not until our brain registers physical reactions that a feeling occurs. His theory has emotions coming first – such as surprise, then the brain registering the physiological reactions to those emotions, at which point feelings happen.

Yet 17th century philosopher Descartes argued that the brain and body were two completely separate systems. In fact, his theory of dualism states that the brain and body can operate entirely independent of one another. In his theory, neither emotional and physical comes first, that they only have a connections you choose to make.

Yet in many ways, the social expectation seems to be that emotions “should” come first, before physical action or interaction occurs – that when you take action on something, it is the end result of a decision you’ve made. But is that actually the case in your experience?