Excerpt About Nervous System

Differences between Emotional States and Essence

The main difference between emotional states and essence is that the former are discharged processes of our nervous systems, whereas the latter is definitely not. Emotional states are primarily physiological processes accompanied by some ideational content. On the other hand, essence is not a physiological process and is not a discharge of the nervous system. Essence is independent of the nervous system, transcends physiological processes, and can, in fact, exist without the physical organism. Essence, when it is present, affects the nervous system, but it is not the discharge, or the emotion, that results from the contact between essence and the physiology. This is a very important difference. It means that emotions don't really exist except in the sense that activities exist. They are activities, and activities don't have an ontological presence. Essence, on the other hand, is not an activity. As we saw in chapter 1, essence is a presence, and its basic quality is its existence as an ontological actuality, as a "suchness." An emotion is an activity that starts and ends, whereas essence is a presence. An emotion is like the movement of water, the activity that is the motion. The motion of water is not the water. Water can be still, without motion. Essence, on the other hand, is like the water. It exists whether there is motion or not.

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