Identifying the Seat of Emotion in the Human Brain

It is impossible to identify the seat of emotion in the brain because it isn’t in the brain! Have you ever heard anyone say that they fell in love with someone with their whole brain? Or have you ever heard someone say that something ‘broke their brain’? No, both of these strong emotions are said to occur in the heart, not the brain. People fall in love with their hearts and they say their heart was broken over something.

In their mad scramble to equate humans with machines, scientists have completely overlooked the possibility that emotions may originate somewhere in the body other than in the brain. While the brain may be compared to a computer, it seems to me to be the seat of action. If you desire something or someone, the brain will try to devise a way for you to acquire it. But, the desire does not originate with the brain. When you see that special someone walking toward you, your brain doesn’t start to race, your heart does. Love, desire, hate and other strong emotions originate in the heart. That is probably why the Bible counsels us to guard our hearts and says that God examines the heart for a person’s motives.

As an example I offer this scenario. A man sees a fabulous woman who is beautiful, smart, funny and all the other things he wants. His heart will begin to race and other parts of his body also may respond when he sees her. He really wants this woman. But, he’s going with or is engaged or married to another woman. He tries to put the beauty out of his mind, but something keeps pressing her into his thoughts. Finally the brain, after going through all the pros and cons, says, “You can’t have her, get over it” and he tries harder. But, his heart keeps racing every time he sees her and he can’t get her out of his mind. Finally, his brain begins to develop plans in order to give the man what he wants. It makes a plan to leave the other woman, weighs the cost of that action, and plans a strategy to seduce the beauty to come to him. So, did this emotion come from the brain or the heart?

Women understand that emotions come from the heart and are affected by other things as well. Their hormone fluctuations cause emotional changes including crying, rage or fear. In fact, our emotions are affected by many outside influences. Our brains may tell us that pain from the loss of a loved one is natural and will pass, but our hearts are screaming and hurting. As M’lynn in Steel Magnolias says in the cemetery when being comforted by her friends on the loss of her daughter, “My mind knows that, but why can’t my heart understand it?”

You can spend a lifetime trying to find the seat of emotion in the brain, but it will be a lifetime spent in fruitless search. As Indiana Jones and his friend Sala said in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, the Germans couldn’t find the ark because “they’re looking in the wrong place”.