Affiliation and Bonding
Every human has a limited ability to form and sustain relationships with
other humans. Bonding is the process of forming meaningful and strategic
attachments to other humans. While bonding is a natural process, marriage and
other rule-based commitments are not. Longer term commitments are contractual.
Natural bonds are spontaneous, self-regulating, and are likely to change. The
bonding of male and female mates occurs in many species and serves the needs of
An average “normal” human supports a small number of relationships that have
strategic significance in his or her life. These close relationships have
different values and represent different investments of time, energy, loyalty
and devotion. The deepest bonding occurs when mother and infant are together
continuously from birth and mother breast-feeds the infant. Bonds among family
members are the most enduring. Bonds to friends, lovers and spouses are the next
most significant. Bonds to colleagues, neighbors and even strangers that are
admired from a distance are next.
Bonding energies are limited and competition among relationships is
inevitable. Emotions and feelings regulate bonding investments. Jealously
is a cognitive-emotional complex that monitors and regulates bonding
Hyper-vigilant behavior emerges when bonding tokens are withdrawn. Anger
explodes when another human completes successfully for the affection of a spouse
or lover. A jealous human guards the sexual privileges, property and prestige
that bonding represents.
The romantic ideal is complete devotion and unconditional love. Such a
complete investment in one other person is unusual, temporary and unwise because
the couple is isolated and loses support from family and friends who were
disenfranchised by the romance. A more typical romance is exclusive for a
few weeks, but lovers tend to fight and other people regain their importance.
The family and friends of lovers recognize the initial withdrawal and
later re-investment of bonding energy. A wise friend will know that sooner or
later some of the investment will return as the love affair “cools”.
Emotions and Feelings
- This book investigates the for-me-ness of
experiences, using psychology, neuroscience and philosophy.
Everyone has some idea what emotions and feelings are but their exact nature
is elusive. We can begin by noting that emotions and feelings are not the same.
Generally, humans are ignorant of internal processes
and invent all manner of imaginary and irrelevant explanations to explain
feelings. The term “emotion” is best used to point to animal and human behavior.
There are a small number of primary emotions and variations that involve
mixtures of emotional displays feelings and behaviors. Joy, anger, fear and pain
are pure emotions. Other, more complex and derivative experiences act as
interfaces to emotions. Love, jealousy and hate are not emotions. These are
descriptions of complex interactions and evaluations that involve a range of
feelings and interface to true emotions some of the time. Euphoria is the benefit of being in love. Sadness and anger are the cost
of being in love. Jealousy, like love, is another complex of cognitions,
feelings and emotions that exist to monitor and regulate close relationships.
The absence of emotional display is highly valued in polite society. Humans have
advanced toward civil and productive social environments that are emotionally
neutral. Emotional neutrality is a requirement for acceptable behavior in school
and work environments.
Emotions and Feelings is intended for a well-educated smart reader who is
interested in Human Nature and the daily experience of humans in groups. The author is
Stephen Gislason Both Print
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