Observations placeholder

Darwin, Charles - The Expression of the Emotions



Type of Spiritual Experience


Very few people realise that darwin wrote other boooks than the origin of the species.  One of those books was about emotions.  In this book he treats emotions as functions - spirit in other words and did a very thorough analysis of how uncontrollable they were - how the subconscious seemed to act without conscious control and also how the autonomic systems and emotional system were linked.

From experience, you know that the responses you make to emotions are not controlled.  Think of how the muscles of your face adopt configurations that are typical of joy or sorrow or anger; or of how the skin blanches as a reaction to bad news or flushes in a situation of embarrassment; or consider the body postures that signify joy, defiance, sadness, or discouragement; or the sweaty and clammy hands of apprehension; the racing heart associated with pride; or the slowing, near stillness of the heart in terror.  Charles Darwin studied the effects of emotion and noticed the same thing…….

A description of the experience

Charles Darwin – The Expression of the Emotions

The action of the heart is much accelerated.. the face reddens or may turn deadly pale.  The respiration is laboured, the chest heaves, and the dilated nostrils quiver.  The whole body often trembles.  The voice is affected.  The teeth are clenched or ground together and the muscular system is commonly stimulated to violent, almost frantic action.  The gestures … represent more or less plainly the act of striking or fighting with the enemy

.......Great pain urges all animals … to make the most violent and diversified efforts to escape from the cause of suffering… with men the mouth may be closely compressed, or more commonly the lips are retracted with the teeth clenched or ground together.. the eyes stare wildly… or the brows are heavily contracted.  Perspiration bathes the body .. the circulation and respiration are much affected

The source of the experience

Darwin, Charles

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps