Rodney Cotterill explains a lot about the structure of very simple bacteria. What he shows is that even bacteria have Emotions.
To agree with this we have to agree on a definition of the Emotions. Agreeing about “What an Emotion is” is one of the most complex discussions in Psychology. The discussion is so complex that there is really no discussion possible.
The simplest way to solve this discussion is to start with the meaning of the word Emotion. Emotion simply means “Movement“.
So an Emotion could be described as “Something that moves us” or “Something that shows to other People that we are Moved“.
We are moved by an Event, Something that Happens. Something that “Makes a Difference“.
An Event is a Change in our Environment or Context. This Context could be our Internal Environment (our Body, Pain) or our External Environment.
When you are a bacterium you are moving in an environment that contains Food. You need Food to produce Energy. The environment is not homogeneous. The concentration of food is different in the Space the bacterium is exploring. It even contains deadly food, Poison.
“A bacterium like Escherichia coli procures information by probing its surroundings, through the propulsion provided by its flagellum. In effect, this creature integrates incoming chemical signals during a few-second period of its travels, and adjusts its direction of advance accordingly. The integration is achieved through temporary chemical modifications to molecules located in the bounding membrane, which transfer nutrients to the cytoplasm, and also through changes to certain other molecules in the interior of the cell. Such integration is essentially a short-term memory mechanism”.
The bacterium is probing his environment. When he finds “food” he acquires “energy” and his mover, the flagellum, reacts. The process of intake and movement is a cycle.
The Cycle takes time (a few seconds, a delay, a Rhythm) and acts as “a short term memory“. Memory is not stored in the body of the bacterium. The Memory of the bacterium is his Cycle.
When the bacterium finds Food he circles around. He is attracted to the Center. When he finds Poison, he moves away. When he moves away his flagellum rotates anticlockwise. When he is attracted his flagellum moves with the clock. The bacterium shows spiraling behaviour.
The Bacterium LOVES Food and he HATES Poison. In between he is EXITED (Chaotic). He starts to Probe, to Explore, his Environment to find Food (Love) again.
The Emotional State of the Bacterium is a 100% correlated to the State of the Bacterium itself.
The Bacterium Is His Emotions.
When the Bacterium could be AWARE of all his INTERNAL states he would need many words to explain his emotions to us.
When we could show the bacteria that his states are “just” related to a few EXTERNAL states that are related to “the amount of Food in his environment” he could reduce THE AMOUNT OF WORDS to DESCRIBE his emotions to a few.
Cotterill shows that in time many new features (mostly Sensors) are added to the Organisms that followed the Bacterium in the process of Evolution but the basic structure of the bacterium stays in place.
“The ultimate evolutionary product was the brain itself, though there is not universal agreement as to why this structure actually developed. One obvious view is that it served to gather the sensory organs and their interneurons into a single unit, an alternative idea being that its precursor emerged at a primitive stage, as a device for coordinating the two sides of the body“.
“The peripheral reflexes can act independently of the brain, but they can also be coordinated and sequenced by it. The main point to be grasped here is that the brain’s primary purpose lies in the need for inhibiting peripheral reflexes, when particularly sophisticated sequences of muscular movements have to be executed“.
The Brain is not Thinking. It is inhibiting Thinking.
We think independent of the Brain.
The Brain is INHIBITING our thinking when we want to override the Action Patterns that are stored in our Bodily Cycle.
We want to override our Experience when something happens and the Event is not related to our Goals.
Goals are related to Expectations and Expectations are something we, Mammals, are able to “calculate“.
We, the Mammals, are able to create an Image of the Future. By the process of Abstraction we are able to generate “schema” or “actions patterns” that are imaginary.
When our Goals are violated we are just like the primivitive organisms able to permit the current movement, switch to another, or stop altogether.
Just like them we have a choice but our choices are not only applicable to the real world. We are able to switch between the real world and other worlds. The underlying system is comparable it just works on another level.
We, the organisms, are Moving Memories that ARE our Emotions. We are all looking for Love (Energy) and when we are without Love we start to Probe to find it again.