Emotions are ancestral memories guiding us to deal with what's next – Part 2 
By Dr. Keith Witt
July 10, 2012
In Part 1 of this series we talked about emotions as ancestral voices guiding us in dealing with the unique world we’re each born into. These ancestral voices are central in learning and practicing habits of feeling, thinking and acting with people, objects, and inner experiences. Emotionally driven learning keeps us adjusting to the world. We’re born with the ability to feel an infinity of emotional nuances, but to a large extent we learn exactly what we want, fear, love, hate and so on through experience and memory. Brains monitor people, the world, and our inner psychological/physical/social natures, looking for patterns and understanding–leading to emotionally driven responses encoded into deep memories which arise when cued by similar situations. Smelling chocolate chip cookies in the oven evokes warm feelings of security and pleasant craving (in me anyway). If the tall dark- haired boy next door bullied you, you might feel uncomfortable and insecure around tall dark- haired guys. When we’re born, we have a hundred billion neurons, but only 18% of them are hooked up into neural networks. Our inherent emotional capacities are mostly objectless—not much tied to specific people or experiences. On the other hand, we do have emotional predispositions such as:
- Infants yearn to see and touch Mother’s face and body.
- Masculine people are drawn to competitive dominance and the female form.
- Feminine people yearn towards intimacy and to be seen as light.
- We’re born fearing snakes (yes, fear of snakes is a genetic predisposition).
- panic/separation distress,
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