Evolutionary benefits for abstract feelings
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27-06-2011, 05:06 AM
Evolutionary benefits for abstract feelings
Why would humans evolve into beings that enjoy feelings for abstract things like patterns of sounds/colours? Is there any evolutionary benefit in such feelings?

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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27-06-2011, 01:01 PM
RE: Evolutionary benefits for abstract feelings
Amazingly good question.

I wonder this myself and through many attempts at finding out have gotten no closer really. The best I've heard in relation to evolution has to do with music.
I heard that once upon a time ago our ears would have been more attuned to pitch, etc. in terms of communication with one another via medium distance, such as monkeys do now with mating calls, shouts of leadership, basic grunting and screeching. Over time this would have changed with language, but our enjoyment of voices may still be some remnant of our past, due to pitch and volume as well as tone. This would help dictate why we like certain music over others if followed down through our genetic line. I don't know how well I like that, but that's the closest thing I've heard on that topic. As for beats I think that much has been well explained using science. It has been proven that hard beats elicit chemical reactions within our bodies, such as the release of adrenaline or endorphin's to various effect. I would imagine that sound would have been used as a signal for many things when we were cave babies to alert us to whatever. Hard beats for war or attack, soft ones for peace or relaxation.

Any way it's all conjecture at this point and I'm not a scientist unfortunately.

My biggest question had less to do with sound because I can reason with that as far as evolution, but more to do with Visual art. I don't see any reason why one person would like horrible purple square paintings and why I would like watching bob ross paint. I don't get it and I have yet to read or hear anything that made any sense.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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27-06-2011, 01:52 PM
RE: Evolutionary benefits for abstract feelings
(27-06-2011 05:06 AM)The_observer Wrote:  Why would humans evolve into beings that enjoy feelings for abstract things like patterns of sounds/colours? Is there any evolutionary benefit in such feelings?

Evolutionary? yes
Genetic? no
It's best explained by the Meme theory
http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_blackmore...temes.html

..."we can be truly free - not because we can rebel against the the tyranny of the selfish replicators but because we know that there is no one to rebel."
Susan Blackmore : The Meme Machine
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28-06-2011, 01:03 PM
RE: Evolutionary benefits for abstract feelings
I have read of a hypothesis that things like music, art, poetry, etc. have their roots in sexual selection. Think about it. Male birds especially will go to great lengths to make beautiful nests out of the colour blue, for example. This demonstrates to the female that the male is willing to dedicate time and effort to courting her, thus ensuring that he will invest more time into his offspring as well. Also, it demonstrates that the male bird is resourceful, since he needs to not only collect the materials for the nest, but food in the meantime (all without becoming some other animal's dinner). Birdsong is also used to court females.

So, if this hypothesis (I'm not sure who came up with it, to be honest) is true, then you can blame us females for liking pretty colours and songs. Tongue It demonstrates to us that the male is willing to put the time and effort into the task of courtship, and that he is not just in it for the sex. Wink

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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28-06-2011, 01:10 PM
RE: Evolutionary benefits for abstract feelings
(28-06-2011 01:03 PM)SecularStudent Wrote:  I have read of a hypothesis that things like music, art, poetry, etc. have their roots in sexual selection. Think about it. Male birds especially will go to great lengths to make beautiful nests out of the colour blue, for example. This demonstrates to the female that the male is willing to dedicate time and effort to courting her, thus ensuring that he will invest more time into his offspring as well. Also, it demonstrates that the male bird is resourceful, since he needs to not only collect the materials for the nest, but food in the meantime (all without becoming some other animal's dinner). Birdsong is also used to court females.

So, if this hypothesis (I'm not sure who came up with it, to be honest) is true, then you can blame us females for liking pretty colours and songs. Tongue It demonstrates to us that the male is willing to put the time and effort into the task of courtship, and that he is not just in it for the sex. Wink

I like that theory, sort of like a natural selection of taste. But I must ask, if we do it for your attention... why do you do it?

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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28-06-2011, 01:15 PM
RE: Evolutionary benefits for abstract feelings
(28-06-2011 01:10 PM)lucradis Wrote:  I like that theory, sort of like a natural selection of taste. But I must ask, if we do it for your attention... why do you do it?

I have absolutely no idea Tongue

Perhaps it's along the same lines as to why males have nipples? Maybe it's just a by-product in females?

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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28-06-2011, 01:23 PM
RE: Evolutionary benefits for abstract feelings
I have nipples because otherwise I'd have weird hair circles on my chest. Duh.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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