Desires arise from actual bodily structures. Each organ in the body has a role to play, and has certain needs to make it perform optimally. The stomach needs food, the blood needs oxygen, the gonads need sex, the inner ear needs balance, and the cerebral cortex needs efficient neural pathways or understandings. When these organs are in need, they send a message to the brain that we interpret as desire. They are not commands, but desires that we can then try to meet in the best way possible. There would be a defined number of desires, according to how many organs a species' body has. Many desires are common to all animals, and are fundamental drivers or motivators. Life could become confusing, when the desires compete, or all ask for fulfillment at once. Therefore, animals evolved one controlling desire that is stronger than the rest and has greater need - the interaction desire (more beetle). The interaction desire is designed to make us interact in the way we think right, and can control the other desires. For example, a priest can deny sexual desire, if their interaction desire thinks it right. An activist can deny hunger to the point of starvation, if they think the cause just. A person can become lethargic and apathetic, if they allowed their interaction desire to develop poorly.
Emotions on the other hand are generated according to one's mental state. They arise from ill-defined neural pathways, rather than specific organs, and are therefore harder to study and interpret. I consider that all emotions arise from within the cerebral cortex, and then, only after experience and learning. For example, some animals such as the dodo have no fear, until they learn it following pain or danger. Emotions, especially the modern ones invented by humans, are not inherited but become a part of the skills animals learn. The cortex also learns where best to place its controlling neurones for anger or love, after it learns how best to tie them into the various other parts of the body that each emotion needs to perfect its delivery. For example, the emotional center for love needs to tie itself efficiently to the neurones controlling the eyes, face, heart, and sexual organs.
The role of emotions is to try and remove any blocks that are inhibiting the fulfillment of one's fundamental motivators, desire. While desires are inherited, emotions are learned according to one's understanding of your environment. Animals use emotions to help them achieve their more basic desires. As shown in the introduction to my psychology lesson, the interaction desire is the most fundamental motivation driving animals. It is the desire to interact or attune in the best and most parsimonious way possible, so that the animal can then behave wildly. But what happens when the interaction desire, or other desires such as hunger, meet obstacles that do not allow their immediate fulfillment? The answer is that the desire converts itself into an emotion. All emotions arise as a method for overcoming block or obstacle to desire. Therefore, if an animal can fulfill all of its desires, it has no need for emotions.
Mostly, a wild animal can do whatever it wants and fill its deepest desires. It can go where it wants, and feed, drink and mate as it pleases. But sometimes, it may not get its way. An animal attuned to nature can fill its natural desires perhaps 95% of the time. But for the other 5% of the times when it tries to do something, it might face a problem or block. It will then have to resolve the block emotionally, as a means of trying to get around or through the blocked pathway. Therefore, as a wild animal gains experiences it will learn natural emotions such as anger, fear, love, and hope. Humans are different. They are not wild, and generally cannot meet their most important wild desires. Oh sure, they can feed their hunger and quench their thirst, but when it comes to the development of a wild interaction desire they are like novices. They are far more considered, constrained and cautious. Therefore, they can only really do what they want perhaps 50% or less of the time. The rest of the while, they suppress their desires and express them through more tortuous routes as emotions, moods and attitudes. Humans now have a wide variety of emotions and artificial outlets. They have natural animal emotions, but they also have an extended variety of more convoluted and invented emotions such as belief, worry, hate and the advanced states of reason (yes, reason is an emotion, designed to remove block!).
Using these theories, it becomes possible to construct a tree of emotions using the interaction desire as its base (see figure). When a wild interaction desire first meets a block, the first emotion it will most usually become is hope, the most simple and inoffensive emotion. The animal will wish the block to go away, or will plead with the parent to make it right. Often, hope, crying or begging will work. When it does not, a more targeted emotion will arise. Hope may become love, which promises and seeks greater commitment with the authority figure (or helping equal) that can help remove the blocks. If you think the block is unusual or persistent, you may need to channel more commitment into belief, before your love or hope will be accepted. Belief is one of the worst human emotions, because it teaches humans to turn a cold shoulder on the things they place outside their belief system (more beetle). An alternative is to convert the emotion into reason, which might allow you to think around the block and understand why it is not on your side. On the other side of the trunk, the first block may be painful. Then, an early emotion will be anger, which attempts to force past the block. If the block retaliates and cannot be beaten, then the emotion may become fear. If the block cannot be moved and is nothing to fear, but circumstances trap you (which is unusual for a wild animal, as they are usually free to leave), then the emotion can become hate.
If artificial emotions and moods are used excessively, they will become more deeply embedded into the personality as 'attitude'. Attitudes become your unnatural but usual response, even when there is no real need to use them. A person may become routinely aggressive, grumpy or snobbish, if they failed to resolve their emotions earlier in a direction that favored natural desires or a more sensual personality. Attitudes are not free and wild forms of behavior, but are highly stylized, institutionalized and constrained forms of behavior that people use when they have given up on simpler methods.
Simply knowing why you have emotions is useful, because it allows you to identify your goal and achieve it in other ways if you wish. The ultimate goal of emotion is to find a way to achieve your interaction desire more directly and wildly. A strong and properly developed interaction desire is important because it will show you how to do the right thing - what you do will feel right. With knowledge of the role of emotions, you will eventually find the power to control them, and perhaps instead do something wilder or more intuitive. Humans should try to think their mind out, and organize their lives, so that they can once more be wild during most of their interactions (say 90-95% of the times). In this state, humans would be more responsible and attuned than they are now. For the other 5-10% of the times when blockage occurs, they could use emotions, but keep to the more natural and simpler emotions rather than artificial emotions. The result will be greater well being.
Aggression: An attitude in humans, that occurs when they give up trying to understand or waste time trying to explain themselves. Because humans manufacture so much aggression, they also 'see' it in nature. Perhaps the epitome of aggression in their mind is the lion. However, a lion killing for food is no more aggressive than is a human abattoir worker. Killing is simply a necessary job they do as efficiently as possible. Back to top
Anger: A highly misunderstood natural emotion. Anger is an effort to be positive, by resolving conflict or uneasiness so that all can work together more naturally. Humans readily associate anger with violence. However, violence is a caged emotion or outcome that is rare in nature. Wild animals fight but rarely cause serious harm to each other (it is more like rough play). Mothers yell or get angry with children, but do so to teach rather than with violence in mind. Anger is easier to control or make positive, if you remember its motivation: to teach or help make friends rather than cause damage.
Attitudes: Caged emotions get tiring. If they cannot resolve a situation, a more efficient way to maintain the effort is to convert them into a routine part of your nature as attitude. With attitude, you can more easily provide a stock response without going through the draining emotional processes. Unfortunately, attitudes brand you as highly artificial, predetermined and predictable, uncompromising, and willing to exclude rather than understand. Wild animals never have attitudes, although human biologists regularly assign attitudes to animals, because of their human point of view. For greater wisdom and fulfilment, you should try to convert the basis of your interactions ever deeper and closer to the source or main trunk of motivation. Return yourself through caged emotions, to natural emotions, and then desire. From that base, it is easier to see the whole picture. Back to top
Balance: One of many minor desires. If you spin you get giddy. Then, the inner ear desires balance.
Belief: A key caged emotion that when learnt, marks the end of your ability to be wild. With belief, you can now extinguish sensitivity for some parts of your environment, because you will believe the rule in your mind rather than what some section of the environment is trying to tell you. It is an unnatural emotion, and has no associated expression such as a grimace or smile. Instead, it must construct its own exaggerated expressions with hand gestures, chants or prayers.
Branches: A new branch occurs when the previous attempt at resolving block failed. In theory, it should be possible to construct a cladogram or taxonomy of emotions using this principle. Back to top
Caged emotions: Caged emotions arise when an animal can no longer be wild. It cannot leave or resolve the block, so is stuck behind the bars of a false world and mind. Caged emotions do not occur naturally, so failed to evolve their own particular expressions. They must borrow their expressions from the natural emotions. Humans express many caged emotions, because they don't know any better.
Depression: When all hope and ability to find fulfilment and motivation fails, a person may slip into depression. Depression is actually a mood, and seeks to shut down or slow the mind so that it does not keep trying and failing. Rather than wallow in depression, a wild animal would soon gather the confidence needed to tackle the block or try something else and so move on. Back to top Dread: Dread is caged fear that occurs when you feel there is no escape or resolution to the danger. Perhaps it is an indefinable omnipresent danger, or an event you cannot avoid such as death. Then, fear can consume you as dread. Wild animals do not turn their fears into dread, because in their system they resolve more simply. They find a niche that is safe and comfortable to them as a home. Also, they have little concept of death so do not fear it. Humans conceive of death, but now see it as a tragedy. Death to them means the end of their unique cage of restricted individuality. So rather than dying and returning to Mother Earth, their human soul feels lost, alone, and failing to have contributed to something more beautiful. Interestingly, the wilder human ancestors knew the role of death better, and would encourage the transition of the dead person into the environment. For example, some Indians would offer the body up to Mother Nature by laying it within the branches of a tree. They didn't seal the bodies in a tomb or box in an effort to maintain their isolation from the world. Back to top
Fear: Fear is a natural emotion, so has a natural expression associated with it. Fear helps motivate an animal to flee a block or danger. Mostly in nature, there is little to fear. Therefore, fear is a good demonstration of how emotions are learnt, but only after more fundamental desires get blocked. A young animal is born with little concept of fear, until it experiences hurt. The dodo lived on islands without natural predators, so had little fear or escape response to club-wielding sailors. Interestingly, the human smile evolved from the fear expression or grimace. At some point, human ancestors began to diversify and then recognize fundamental differences between themselves. Their identities began to individualize. At first, this was frightening. The smile evolved to try and turn that natural first reaction into something more welcoming and positive.
Frustration: At times, an animal cannot fix a situation it desires through emotion. Tension can build as frustration. However, animals have a number of ways for expelling the unresolved energy, through a wide range of natural displacement activities. You can tell a frustrated or uncertain animal if it stamps its foot, or takes odd interest in chewing a twig or pushing at a tree. Animals soon find a way to resolve their frustration when they decide which natural emotion or displacement activity to use. They can also simply leave. Their frustration does not build in caged manner into violence or hate. Back to top
Hate: Hate is a caged emotion that feels unable to make a change. The problem block cannot be removed, so all you can do is hate it. Hate is an artificial emotion, so lacks its own natural expression. It borrows its expression from anger and threat, when it feels it is time to reveal itself. A wild animal does not hate, but resolves an event earlier through anger or by simply leaving, before allowing its mind to become twisted in a way not natural.
Hope: Hope is the simplest emotion, and common in animals, as for example begging or crying. You simply hope the block will go away and new events will unfold, or someone else will fix it for you. Back to top
Hunger: Desires such as hunger are the primary source of motivation, arising directly from actual bodily structures. Wild animals can readily fill desires.
Interaction desire: The primary desire, that can also control all other desires. It is a desire to develop and use the cerebral cortex efficiently. Inhibited, it will remain confused and convert readily into emotion. Developed, and it will teach you how to be wild, attuned (attunement causes increased responsibility), parsimonious and spiritually free.
Love: Love is a natural emotion that attempts to bond with another creature in the hope that life will be more fulfilling. It occurs when hope fails. Simply wishing was not enough to enlist the aid of another. Therefore, greater commitment is offered through love. Being an emotion, love is not designed to endure forever, but instead readily converts into the wilder desires. Under natural conditions, it would bind two parties closer together in a state of wildness where they can remove all pretence between each other. Back to top
Moods: Emotions attempt to overcome blocks to desire by finding a new pathway. Moods also respond to block, but they do it by altering the speed or ease of travelling along those pathways. A good mood and you whiz along. A bad mood and you drag your feet. Alcohol and drugs can mimic nature's methods for changing mood. Wilder animals are rarely 'in mood'.
Natural emotions: If blocked, desires convert into natural emotions. The emotions attempt to regain their strength and joy as desire, by removing or appeasing the block. Normally, about 1-5% of an animals interactions will be emotional, the remainder a wild desire. Natural emotions do not lose sight of the value of wildness, but try to improve an animal's level of wildness because of the obvious life advantages. Being natural, they each evolved an associated expression designed to signal their presence. Unlike desire, they do not arise from their own organ or 'heart', but borrow their motivation from a failed desire. If total wildness if possible, emotions need never occur. Back to top
Neurotic: Humans become neurotic as a result of their individual and self contained lifestyles, that leads them to mental isolation. Wild animals avoid the unhealthy concentration and entrapment of singular thoughts within their mind, because they are sensual and readily able to interact through their many links to the environment.
Opinionated: Humans are naturally intelligent, which is an admirable adaptation. However, humans can also pursue a course of intellect and opinion to the detriment of intuitive animal or common senses. When intelligence becomes a defensive means of avoiding and countering deeper fundamental questions of their status quo, it becomes an unseeing attitude. Thinking becomes opinionated. However, the only idea that needs your personal support as opinion, is one that is false. It would be far better to strive for wisdom, an intelligence that lives near the base of the tree and is born out of wildness. Back to top
Passion: Passion occurs when love cannot be expressed openly or as often as desired. Love then becomes trapped and somewhat hidden. Then, passion may erupt unexpectedly.
Reason: Humans have a large cerebral cortex, so find it easy to develop simple thinking into reason. Reasoning tends to move between the realm of the natural emotion to caged emotion, depending on the degree to which humans rely on it for their new ideas. Its successes, and the human tendency towards anthroprudism, have hidden the fact that reason is simply another emotion. Like any emotion, reason aims to remove block or problem so that a wilder desire can prevail. Realizing that reason is an emotion rather than a sign of superiority, also explains why different human cultures developed into different levels of technology. Those cultures suffering invasion, overcrowding and conflict had to use emotions, including reason, more often than aboriginal cultures that were more relaxed and fulfilling. Another sign that reason is a caged emotion is that despite using it for so long, humans have still failed to solve their problems. Rather, they have become even more loathsome. Lasting answers to important questions do not occur within the caged emotions such as reason. Those pathways lead to dead ends. Everything should of course be reasonable, but the inspiration and mind needed to discover how, will require a wilder and freer mind than one stuck within the limitations of reason. Back to top
Religious: It is interesting that probably every culture has been spiritual or religious over human history. This may suggest that the deities are real. On the other hand, it may mean that when humans began to leave the wildness, their lives became empty so they began inventing stopgap fillers. You decide.
Selfish: Ah selfishness! It is an attitude that appears to explain why humans are destroying the planet, and also why they fight amongst themselves. Perhaps its roots can all be blamed on the animals? However, animals are not selfish. In their own ways, they serve the environment instead. Wild animals do not conceive of 'themselves', but instead feel a part of the land. So by being selfish, humans are not servicing some basic instinct or desire. Selfishness is not even the reason for their destructive habits. It is an excuse instead. Humans are selfish for artificial and caged reasons. The real heart of the problem is that they can no longer see the wildness, so do not feel the attunement needed to change their minds. Back to top
Sex: One of many desires that, when wild, benefit from the natural conscience and guidance of the interaction desire. Otherwise, it feels 'dirty'. Biologists sometimes claim sex is the prime motivation. However, young children lack this desire and still have a motivation (i.e. the interaction desire).
Think: An animal thinks to try and find a way around a problem or block. In most animals, thinking is a fairly simple 'natural thinking', that is unlikely to produce a particularly novel or refreshing result. Nevertheless, most brained animals do think. Dr Beetle is pleased to announce that he is especially well endowed in this ability! Back to top Violence: Humans readily convert natural anger into violent anger because in their artificial world, they can rarely resolve and diffuse their anger into a more natural and relaxed state. The anger keeps beating its head against a brick wall. Perhaps they also have an attitude (e.g. prejudice or belief) that prevents them from giving ground to improved understanding and self change. Under these artificial conditions, anger will escalate into violence as it more seriously attempts to remove block. Violent anger borrows its expression from natural anger. It is rare in wild animals, although humans often misinterpret death for food or territory in animals as violence. But these events in nature are not a disruption to the fabric of the ecosystem, or the understanding of wildness felt in the minds of the animal. Violent emotion in humans is senseless, unfulfilling, damaging to society and family, futile, and leaves you feeling sick or with bad conscience. In comparison, life and death as conducted by wild animals in nature is done for good reason, and delivers health to the environment - a distinction a human will probably find difficult to fathom. (Posted March 2002) Back to top