Intellect and emotion are interlinked phenomena; both are capabilities of human mind. Intellect fails to act whenever a person is in the grip of emotion. Both the humans and the animals have emotions, but both are set apart in the matter of intellect because intellect keeps animals behind humans.
What exactly is intellect and in which way emotion overtakes intellect? It is a serious question:
The word intellect owes its origin to a Greek word which was translated into Latin as intelluctus. Later the word found its place in English as ‘intelligence’.
Intellect belongs to the faculty of the human mind. Intellect is the product of Central Nervous System as is the case in respect of any other phenomena of mind. However, even today, the attributes of the term continue to reverberate within subjective evaluations and interpretations of the medieval philosophy.
In classical medieval philosophy, ‘intellect’ had a place that reflected human ability to know things. During the Middle Ages, the word ‘intellect’ was used to refer to the mental ability for reconciling philosophical and scientific understandings of the Nature: According to this concept, intellect maintained the link between the human soul and the divine intellect of the cosmos. Interestingly, religious thoughts and pursuits are praised by believers across the globe as the highest order of the Intellect.
Scientifically put, intellect is the ability of the mind to reach correct conclusions about what is true and real for resolving issues and problems being faced by individuals. In detail, intellect is the capability of the human mind to know generality and intricacies of situations and thereby to decide the course of action required of the individual.
Intellect, thus, evolves itself through knowledge gained from various sources. The sources represent experiences from social and cultural encounters and interactions with the environs.
The very principle of intelligence revolves around conditioned reflex actions responsible for sensations, perceptions, conceptions and judgments leading to memory: Various stimuli arising out of the interactions with environs which include parents, family, friends, relatives, teachers, customs, regulations, neighbors, society, social order, rules, study materials, climatic conditions and the Nature excite the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex of the humans. These stimuli are the causative agents for the building up of conditioned nerve connections (reflexes) for the establishment and nourishment of intelligence.
What then is Emotion? The English word emotion is derived from the French word émouvoir based on the Latin word ’emovere’. Emovere stands for conveying a meaning to indicate ‘move without’.
Theories about emotion stretch as far back as the stoics of ancient Greece. Emotion had sophisticated portrayals at the hands of philosophers of the past. Plato, Aristotle and Rene’ Descartes had amplified the phenomenon in brilliant ways. Of all the subjective evaluations, the most interesting evaluation of emotion pertains to those studies of the so-called ‘psychologists’. Sum total of all the philosophical explanations may be arrived at from what Danish Psychologist James-Lange had said: According to Lange ‘the perception of bodily changes as they occur, is the emotion.’ Despite being spiritualistic in essence, in these theories one can also observe some element to the effect that emotion is a bodily reaction. But none of the theories explains how such bodily reactions take place.
Emotion is a stirred up reaction to a sudden stimulus. The stimulus arises from social and environal influences. Since emotion is a sudden stirred up mental reaction, normal intelligence maintained and sustained through nerve connections in the cortex of the brain, gets overturned. The act of the overturn is the work of another conditioned or unconditioned reflex action. Both the animals and the humans are prone to emotions. In general terms, it can be premised that emotion is part of survival trait. In humans, emotion involves physiological arousal and consequent expressive behaviors.
In almost every individual, certain circumstances of environal factors which, to some extent, has bio-chemical ingredients as well, make the nerve cells in their sensory centres in the brain to excessively excite. As a result the brain activity passes through a particular phase of inhibitory stage. This particular inhibitory stage reflects the reaction of the brain during paradoxical hypnotic phase. In paradoxical phase, brain reaction to weaker and smaller stimuli will be much stronger and bigger. The physiological factors involved in the stirred up reaction called emotion, is invoked by nerve cells during the paradoxical hypnotic phase.
Emotion can either be positive or be negative. Some emotions occur suddenly over a period of a few seconds while others may last for years. Unprovoked sudden verbal or physical attacks and shedding of tears without tangible reasons fall within the category of sudden eruptive emotions. Teenager love affairs and husband-wife hatred leading to divorce can be taken as examples for long lasting emotions. Intellect fails to act in all types of emotive arousal.
For example imagine the case of a person who is enjoying a very delicious food at a restaurant. Unexpectedly, all of a sudden, a piercing shriek of sound comes from outside. Within no time, the person loses his appetite for the food; flow of saliva stops abruptly and the person’s attention totally diverts to the direction from where the sound came. What was happening here was a paradoxical reaction of the brain. It was ’emotion’ for the person. Salivation and ingestion of food is a process of stronger bodily function but a comparatively weak stimulus of the shriek of sound interrupted the stronger bodily function.
Intellect and emotion are inter-linked mental reactions. Emotion helps intellect to grow up but emotion is egoistic as well: Emotion does not allow intellect to go together. For, emotion overtakes intellect