Wednesday, 12 May 2010
In ‘The feeling of what happens’ (1999) the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio offers an accessible introductory insight into the concept of consciousness. He identifies consciousness as the essence of all knowing and vice-versa. At the beginning there is an organism and (images of) an object. Only through consciousness do we gain knowledge about the possession of that organism: the organism is me, a sense of self.
"The sense of self is the act of knowing an object is an infusion of new knowledge, continuously created within the brain as long as ‘objects’ actually present or recalled, interact with the organism and cause it to change." (Damasio 1999, p.26)
According to this view an emotion, is an image of an object. However only once it interacts with the organism, it becomes a feeling of that emotion (‘feeling of a feeling’) and only once the organism has gained consciousness this can be known as the feeling of that emotion.