Re: Origin of Emotions

Ken Brown (
Tue, 10 May 1994 05:44:01 +0000

Group: sci.anthropology.paleo
Zhuohan Cai <Zen+@CMU.EDU> writes:
> I am intrigued. Did our ancestors have the same range of complex
>everyday feelings we experience? Is there any evidence to substantiate
>or disprove that?
>This is just for interests' sake; I am no anthropologist.

Yes they did, at least the did in the 1st millenium BC. Try reading the
Bible, in particular the stories about King David in the book of Samuel. (If
you just start at the begining you get involved in about 200 pages of law
quite early on!)

N.B. it doesn't matter in this context that the stories are *true*, just that
they reflect a large range of emotions & describe strong bonds of affection
between David and others. That they could be written makes this point,
whether they are fiction or history.

There is a vast range of emotional expression in the Psalms as well. Most
ancient writing does *not* show these emotions because that was not its
function. A modern book of accounts won't be sentimental! Personal expression
is rare AFAIK in ancient western writing (I don't know about China or India)
but where it exists, as in parts of the Bible, it seems to me that the people
then were pretty much the same as people now.