In this episode of enNovo Radio, I look at a portion of Antonio Damasio’s new book call The Strange Order of Things. In it, he spends a lot of time talking about homeostasis, feelings, and culture.
Homeostasis refers to the fundamental set of operations at the core of life, from the earliest and long-vanished point of its beginning in early biochemistry to the present. Homeostasis is the powerful, unthought, unspoken imperative, whose discharge implies, for every living organism, small or large, nothing less than enduring and prevailing.
Feelings and homeostasis relate to each other closely and consistently. Feelings are the subjective experiences of the state of life—that is, of homeostasis—in all creatures endowed with a mind and a conscious point of view. We can think of feelings as mental deputies of homeostasis.
Feelings, as deputies of homeostasis, are the catalysts for the responses that began human cultures. Feelings are agents of homeostasis, the powerful principle behind the regulation of life. The human saga, in the strict sense, owes a lot to a highly developed cerebral cortex, but the essentials of that saga had been germinating long before.