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Can consciousness exist without emotion?

Not necessarily sentience, just consciousness.
People have emotions.
Other animals have emotions (demonstrated by behaviour).
How low do down the chain of complexity do you have to go before consciousness is merely a basic set of action-reaction instincts? Jellyfish maybe? Small insects, like ants? Bacteria?

24 COMMENTS

  1. Your question is interesting; because, in my book, there really isn’t a definitive answer.
    Can researchers, doctors and scientists be 100% sure that the smallest of the smallest have ‘absolutely’ no emotions ?
    My reasoning maybe strange; but, when you think about it we haven’t even explored all of this world and were still finding new things every day ~ so, can consciousness exist without emotion, well, who is to say?
    Have a great day…

  2. without emotion..even so, i believe the answer is yes. Whether you feel a certain way about something, you know what is right and wrong, and thats what your conciounse is. knowing and feeling something are not the same.

  3. Emotions are chemical reactions that release different chemicals in your body. It is plausible that if the chemical reactions were inhibited you could be conscious without emotion. If you got scared, but never had any release of endorphins or adrenaline then would you really be scared? I believe there may even be physical defects that can cause something similar as well as some forms of psychosis but I need more research on those two.

  4. Yes, to be put simply. Consciousness and emotion are only related by our will. Both exist, one is thought and one is feeling and it is only your desire as how the two shall meet ( or not ).

  5. When my emotions are in abeyance am I conscious? Yes. Is no emotion an emotion? Yes. So what you are saying is can a person who has brain damage to their emotional centers be conscious? certainly, but no emotions IS an emotion, so no.
    Do you see the problem here?

  6. An interesting question not too dissimilar from the chicken and the egg paradox.
    My instinct tells me no.
    Part of what makes humans what they are is their advanced level of emotional capacity.
    One COULD say that this advanced level of emotional capacity was infact a Requirement for us to have reached the stage of abstract awareness that we have at this moment in time.
    edit; Or, you could say yes.
    But in doing so you would be forced to accept that conciousness without emotion would simply make us animal-like and primitive.

  7. Anger can easily destroy person. But some of us understand our emotions and why we feel them. So can either to choose to embrace them or ignore them.

  8. I think that we DO operate on an action-reaction basis. The only thing that makes us different from animals in that sense is our awareness of past and future events. In other words, an animals action-reaction state is based on what has happened to it before (only to a small degree) and what is currently happening to it. Our action-reaction state is based on what has happened, what is happening, and what may happen in the future.
    Basically, just because we are smarter and have a larger understanding of time doesn’t mean that we are not products of past, present and future events and do not operate on an action-reaction basis. So the real question is: Does action-reaction instincts preclude a consciousness? And of course the answer would be no (Yes, to; can consciousness exist without emotion).
    Just what I think.

  9. I believe consciousness to be the stock piles of your memories, since your memories are the building blocks of your life, and if memories trigger emotions, then without emotions, there can be no memories, and therefor no consciousness.
    But I humbly admit that I don’t know.

  10. if consciousness is the state of mind where we can recognize ourselves and
    if emotion is a mean to know what is or can be “good” for us,
    I would be tempted to think that consciousness can exist without emotion if emotion
    is not the only mean we have to recognize the limits of our self.
    If however, emotion is a necessary step to “know” our own self, then
    I would say that consciousness is not possible without emotion.
    Now, sociopaths have consciousness although the emotion they associate with
    their behavior is different to those socially “acceptable”.

  11. Every living thing is alive because it is endowed with consciousness.
    Consciousness is the seat of knowledge..every living thing is driven by it ,therefore consciousness is prior to emotion
    The flower ‘knows’ to turn toward the sun
    The honey bee ‘knows’ to collects pollen
    Even the digestive system gets to work on digesting our food without needing us to have a single thought or any self-awareness about it.It knows what to do.
    This knowing is pure consciousness awareness and the core of being.It is intelligent and it is subtle..so subtle that the mind struggles to grasp it.

  12. I think, if you want consciousness without emotion, you would have to travel up the chain of complexity rather than down. I don’t think bacteria are conscious of anything; they just react to stimuli. Emotion is a reaction to stimuli. Emotion motivates action. Love attracts. Anger triggers aggression. Fear causes flight. I think, as minds increase in complexity, they experience emotion before they experience consciousness. My guess is that something so basic to the nature of living creatures is not going to go away. We’re not going to evolve our way above it. We’re not going to surgically remove it from our brains (probably). We’re not going to learn, or meditate it away. Artificial intelligence is the only thing that seems remotely likely to me as a way of consciousness existing without emotion. But who the hell knows.
    Edit: I guess there can be moments of consciousness without emotion. When I answered above I was more in the mode of considering a lifetime of consciousness.

  13. Just look at your consciousness. Emotion is there, anger is there, love is there, greed is there, fear is there, jealousy is there — these are contents. Just behind them is the infinite sky of consciousness.
    A man who lives through the contents, lives the life of a machine. And the man who starts changing his emphasis from the contents to the container starts living the life of awareness with no emotion.

  14. Yes, consciousness can exist without any emotion at all. Consciousness is being mindful, it is being aware. Only when you introduce judgment into the picture, do you get emotions. Just being STILL and SILENT and allowing the moment to BE without judgment, either subjective or objective, just experiencing ISness, is consciousness.

  15. Yes. Just think, Goths, Sociopaths, Emos.
    Heres a scenario you:
    An Emo is tierd with his life, he wants to die. So, what the Emo decides to do is jump off a cliff. Now we all know Emo have basically no emotions. Besides sadness, SO he finds his cliff. 220 feet tall. Now, his consciousness is thinking, Yeah. Im about to die. Who cares? But he has no emotion now does he? He jumps off the cliff and dies. He was NOT sad, he was NOT angry, he was NOT raging, he just wanted to die. Therefore, Consciousness can exist without emotions

  16. Consciousness is awareness of self.
    Emotion is response to external stimuli.
    If there is consciousness, but it lacks external input, then it should lack emotion.

  17. Depends what you mean by ‘consciousness’…it’s really hard to define what that is…usually I mean ‘self-aware,’ in which case, no it doesn’t seem it can exist without emotions.

  18. “Consciousness is the ground of all being!” – Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics
    All that exists exists in/as Consciousness.
    What is perceived in/as existence/Reality/the Universe is Mind/Consciousness.
    What is perceived, exists. What exists is perceived. Nothing exists that is not perceived, and vice versa.
    Emotion is just another thing that is perceived (and thus exists) within Consciousness..

  19. DEFINITELY SO IT IS THE ART OF WAR DEPARTMENTS WANTING TO APPEAR CIVILIZED I was given Insulin shock for being Communist oriented, psychopathic resulting from the treatment, I could murder women and children for the Vietnam War by helping with munitions, felt nothing. In America they used microwave ovens on human brains, in Russia they used French drugs which work better than Insulin, the idea is somebody who just agrees with anything told good or evil. Governments love to break people and then get them to commit atrocity. The SS under Hitler had a special brainwashing course you don’t just go and gas Jews. Without emotions you count your pay and work on the bills and maybe kick a wounded man out of your way drive your car over dogs and children and comply with the orders given you regardless of whom they hurt. Fact of modern life emotionless people are a product, a very deliberate product, of society.

  20. Probably… Higher animals NEED emotions to improve their chances of surviving. I doubt simple creatures need emotions to help them survive if all they need to be aware of are things they cannot control. e.g. Barnacles.

  21. it depends upon what you are talking about are you talking about being conscious or having human conciousness?
    if you are talking about being concious, i.e. coming out of a coma and being too confused to realize or grasp emotions it is possible, but not probable…
    if you are however referring to having what as termed as having human consciousness, then again unless you are mentally defective/brain damaged, or having no soul, having no empathy, then yes… but, the fact is that unless you are the aforementioned all humans show some sort of emotion, be it anger, love, empathy… however, not all humans have or show empathy/compassion which is what some term as having a conscious…

  22. If we had no emotion, this would literally mean that your mind/brain would constiutute nothing but ELECTRICITY. If you want to imagine a brain with NO chemicals or emotions involved then simply imagine an electric current, because this is all your/your brain would be without the synapses governed by chemicals.
    So no, we NEED chemicals to have consciousness. Also, imagine a psychopath that lacks the ability to ‘feel bad’ when killing another human being. These types of brains do not FEEL pain for things they SHOULD feel pain about, to prevent such bad deeds from happening. ( After all if we all were serial killers, humans would eventually kill each other to extinction. )
    Emotions are nothing more than an INTERPRETATION of a complex as hell network of neurons which your brain does for you. Your brain is shaped by the environment and with genes.

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