What is that? OK, for the pragmatical and the scientist who is in need of calculable matter, it's a bunch of hormones. But whát is it ?
It is definitely a physical thing too, it can be felt in our organs... like a weird sea sick sense in the stomach, changes in our heartbeats, or a throat tightening up. I am not talking about the adaptive reactions in fight or flight situations, that conserve energy and help us focus our strength on the only thing of vital importance: running or punching.
No, I'm talking about emotions like feeling so lonely and lost it makes you feel as if your chest cavity is being scratched empty with a paint scraper. Feeling so awkward and ashamed that you don't want to attract any attention... and then you blush. Grieving so hard it comes to tears ... deep silent joy given away by more tears.
And what ís the use, in terms of natural selection, of tears and upset mucous membranes? A bride blowing her nose behind her veil is not a pretty sight. And if she manages to imitate a fog horn, she's not a pretty sound either. It might set the groom running -while the 'curtain' is still down-. I don't see the evolutionary advantage in that...
Maybe we need tear filled eyes to stop us from looking at what is either too ugly to witness or too beautiful to behold ?
Could we experience feelings if there was no physical component in it ? Could I feel down if my body was still joyously taking in all stimuli form the surrounding world ? Could I.. no wrong example, I was about to say 'smile while experiencing pain' but some people smile through their tears, so the answer's yes. Could I do some spontaneous dance steps while suffering from a deep wish for a hug?
If there were no physical sensations attached to our emotions, our languages would surely be a lot poorer. How could you stomach that? I didn't have the heart for it. And a nice Dutch one: he was standing with his mouth full of teeth, which is in plain (?) English: he put his foot in his mouth. A bit of a problem with proprioceptive information, I gather?
Maybe God was being a cheap skate. Or pragmatical... Using the same neurotransmitters for body functions as for emotions. I know that a bad mood causes stomach problems. While stomach ache makes people sour and angry. Suppose He used very different hormones for feelings and body parts. How big should our brains be and how many more organs would we need ?
I'm walking a side line here. My original question should be read like ... how can events, tragedies, romances etc. that are outside our own lives, arouse emotions in us? Even if these events are in art, in music or in stories?
Why all these questions, why this post?
Can't you tell? I just saw a movie... and now I wish I had never bought the DVD.