Emotional Sentience: The Nature of Consciousness
When examining phenomenal experience through the lens of physics, several conundrums emerge: Specificity of mind-body interactions, feelings of free will in a deterministic universe, and the relativity of subjective perception. The new biology of “emotion” can shed direct light upon these issues. It suggests that all organisms are endowed with an ancient “emotional sentience”, informative feelings that serve the crucial function of sensory-motor self-regulation – a profoundly misunderstood evaluative guidance system, one that offers an active role in evolution and still undergirds all human values. Careful examination of the biophysics involved, however, requires further investigation into the fundamental nature of “the self” (as the subjective observer in quantum mechanics), perhaps one with an ultimately creative “self-actualizing” role in a participatory universe. Profound implications flow from this new view, into nearly every social science, into public health and criminal justice – with promising portent for vibrant physical, mental, social and spiritual human flourishing.