The Seat of Emotion

Posted September 17, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Philosophy / 8 Comments

Nowadays, the source of emotion and passion is considered to be the heart; poetically referring to the soul and physically tied to the feeling of love (increased heart rate & increased blood flow). Reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover, I’ve noticed DH Lawrence using the loins and bowels as the seat of emotion and passion, which got me thinking about the philosophy behind the heart. In earlier times (Biblical and Archaic) the bowels was the source of pity or compassion and the loins the source of strength and power.

Interestingly enough, some of the early philosophers and scientists including Aristotle considered the heart as the seat of thought as well as emotion and passion, often rejecting the value of the brain. But the Roman physician Galen was one of the first to consider the seat of passions to be the liver, the seat of reason to be the brain, and the heart to be the seat of the emotions.

Thought we don’t often talk about the liver in reference to passion it is often said that the liver governs anger, the kidneys fear (the adrenals sit atop the kidneys) the lungs sorrow/ depression and the stomach or spleen as the source of anxiety and worry. Though these physiological responses to emotion are often obvious, modern society considers the seat of emotion and passion to be the heart and the seat of thought to be the brain. The heart is often represented with the shape & typically coloured red suggesting both blood and passion or strong emotion.

8 responses to “The Seat of Emotion

  1. There was a period of history where the brain was considered worthless matter while other organs were held in greater esteem. Only in the last few hundred years have physicians started to understand the role of the brain in connection to human behavior and physiology.

    There are way too many out there that still think only with their loins.

  2. Interesting, since fear can trigger heart palpitations, excessive sweating, shortness of breath. Maybe the fact that some people pee their pants when scared connected the kidneys with fear 😉

  3. Ernesto

    Seat of passions are the “reins” what are mention in Apocalypse Chaper 2 Verse 23. Interestingly the book of deusteronomy on chapter 28 verse 22 says that God will cause you a lot of harm if you do not do as he command you to. Here are the roots and causes of witchcraft.

    God is the missing lynk, the primitive man, who is an hermaphrodite individual with order and disorder in their genetic molecular structure.

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