Why do we have emotions? What is the evolutionary advantage? I’m going to talk about emotions without considering anybody’s feelings, which is the proper way to talk about anything …scientifically speaking.
Emotions have mostly two purposes: first to provide us with a quick (and thoughtless) way to react to quick external stimuli and second to make us do things that are in our strategic (as species) interest, but against our short and middle-term interest.
Let’s consider the first one: despite our big brains (our biggest evolutionary advantage) decision making based on analysis takes time and data and skills. The reaction time is critical in many situations. We need some expressway to tackle rapid change. The animals react on an instinct and our heritage from them are our emotions (or intuition in a more general sense), which are our evolved instincts. They provide us with decisions short-cuts based on our biological selves and our past experiences, which have created our individual reflexes. The mechanism works well when it is not interrupted by analysis and deconstruction which some of us tend to apply to everything. The emotions are designed to be thoughtless …just surrender your critical mind and feel the flow. And here is the best part – consciousness, that feeling that you are looking at from inside your head. It is exactly that – a feeling, it cannot be understood because it is an emotion. In a way, the moment you explain it, it ceases to be an emotion, so it’s lost. That’s why the trouble with explaining consciousness and disagreement between science and philosophy, first claiming that consciousness is an illusion, second – arguing for millennia about the real nature of it.
The second purpose is about rewarding procreation thru sexuality and maternity. As species, we need reproduction hence the sex drive and maternal instinct, a strategic survival instinct. Of course, we glorify and romanticize sexuality in order to make us feel less trapped and programmed and mostly because it is there anyway, let’s make the best use of it.
Yes, life can be simplified, which doesn’t mean it’s simple.