The basic instinct for survival would at least in part seem to operate through the emotions system. The periodic experiential process of feeling good would seem to make the continuation of life a desirable goal, thus enhancing the motivation to survive.
There is no way of knowing at this stage of our knowledge just how far down the evolutionary ladder emotions are experienced; however, it would seem possible that some types of feelings or protoemotions exist in all life forms. This remains speculative since even though all living organisms require some type of motivational system to produce behavior favorable to the survival of the organism, it is conceivable that the presence of drives could accomplish this task without the need for emotions.
It has been argued that there is continuity between embryological development and the development of emotions, consciousness, thought and action, and that all living organisms are characterized by a biological directedness that is experienced as desire and purpose.17...Animal behavior, as well as human, appears to be very strongly influenced by emotions which provide this desire and purpose and motivation for action.
To suggest that animals experience emotions would first of all require the presence of some level of consciousness on their part. There are researchers who believe there is much evidence to suggest that at least higher animal forms do experience discrete feeling-states. Donald Hebb has produced a full-blown fear state in chimpanzees by the presentation of a display significantly at variance from what they had previously perceived. For instance, a chimpanzee will become extremely frightened, excited or anxious if it sees a mutilated or dismembered body of another chimp.18...Jane Goodall witnessed the display of grief in an eight-year-old chimpanzee when his mother died. After manifesting behavior that was interpreted to represent severe depression, the chimp died 25 days later.19
According to biologist Wolfgang Kohler, higher animals clearly experience emotions. After testing chimpanzees, he stated, "Their range of expression by gesture and action is very wide and varied, and beyond all comparison, superior, not only to that of lower apes, but also to the orangutan's. Certain chimpanzee emotions are easily comprehensible to us human beings--for example, rage, terror, despair, grief, pleading, desire, and also playfulness and pleasure.".20
John Flynn is a researcher who has demonstrated that it is possible to trigger a complex form of affect-laden behavior in cats by direct electrical stimulation of certain brain centers. Full-blown attack behavior with associated facial expressions can be precipitated by this method. A whole set of behavior patterns, which are presumably accompanied or even triggered by specific affective states, can be produced by internal as well as conventional external environmental stimuli.21
Human brains have been found to contain various endorphins that are potent natural pain killers and can also cause feelings of euphoria and belonging. Similar neuropeptides have been found and measured in many forms of animal life from protozoa to fruit flies. These chemicals appear to put them in the "mood" to mate, eat or flee from danger. Opiates, which are basically similar to human neuropeptides, can induce protozoa to eat. Even bacteria appear to have primitive likes and dislikes. They are attracted by sugar and repelled by salt.22
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