The Feeling of What Happens:  Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness

Harcourt Brace & Company


Antonio Damasio


chapter five

The Organism and the Object




The body and the brain develop together, and if there is trauma to the infant from birth, both – of course – are affected.


“We have seen how a specific set of neural structures can support the first-order representation of current body states that I call the proto-self, and in so Doing, provide the roots for the self, the “something-to-which-knowing-is-attributed.”  (Damasio/FWH/159)”


I want to find out if this proto-self is the very earliest self, which seems to be what he is saying, that it is the ROOTS for the self.  I am wondering if PTSD originates at birth, if things start going in a very different direction IN THE BODY from this point onward – which is what I suspect DOES happen!

If that is so, then the rest of the process is altered as well: both the development of core consciousness and the autobiographical self.

I watched Terry at the thrift store today “go of” emotionally dysregulated, screaming and yelling, no reason – and I saw this different brain in operation.

I see it in lots of the tenants at the Y.

This evening Ernie said to me that he and I could have gotten along just fine, COULD HAVE?!  And that it wasn’t meant to be.  Bullshit.  He made a choice.  He said lots of times he can’t figure out what I am thinking.  Then he could have damn asked me!  But I also know that my brain formed differently, that I can’t read normal cues – not even those of a man I am deeply in love with – and I cannot give back normal signals that he or anyone else could read, either.

It makes me mad tonight.  Perhaps one of the first times I have been mad at my mother.  That she tortured me for 18 years, gave me this different brain, and now I am deprived of being with the man I love because he couldn’t read me?  And chose someone he could?

I know this man is messed up and nothing would have been easy.  But I wanted to have a chance.  And I NEVER WILL HAVE.  I don’t see that I can have a normal relationship with anyone, and not with a mate.  And I love Ernie.

I told him that men like simple women that are easy to understand, not complicated women that are a challenge.

And I mean that.

I also told him if I was with him I could not write this book, and that I was born to do this.  So, maybe that’s it.  Not see him any more and do nothing but write this book until I have this damn CURSE finished!

I have to make this point.  That no matter how horrible the abuse was, it is what she did to my growing brain that matters, that fucked up me and my life.


“…I began seeing consciousness in terms of two players, the organism and the object, and in terms of the relationship those players hold.  (Damasio/FWH/133)”

Relationship:  That is an attachment issue from birth – and beyond.

“All of a sudden, consciousness consisted of constructing knowledge about two facts:  that the organism is involved in relating to some object, and that the object is the relation is causing a change in the organism….elucidating the biology of consciousness became a matter of discovering how the brain can construct neural patterns that map each of the two players and the relationships they hold.  (Damasio/FWH/133)”


“The problem of representing the object seems less enigmatic than that of representing the organism.  Neuroscience has dedicated considerable effort to understanding the neural basis of object representation.  (Damasio/FWH/133)”

”On the side of the organism, however, matters are different.  Although much has been known about how the organism is represented in the brain, the idea that such representations could be linked to the mind and to the notion of self has received little attention.  The question of what might give the brain a natural means to generate the singular and stable reference we call self has remained unanswered….In Descartes’ Error I advanced the possibility that the part of the mind we call self was, biologically speaking, grounded on a collection of nonconscious neural patterns standing for the part of the organism we call the body proper. {1 chp 4] (Damasio/FWH/134)”

“In thinking about the biological roots for the procession of self from the simple core self to the elaborate autobiographical self, I began by considering their shared characteristics.  (Damasio/FWH/134)”

He just saying at the end of the Language and Consciousness file that there IS another level to be considered, although he is now ignoring it.  That is the level of someone who can operate without knowing their thoughts.

Importantly, removal of knowing and self without removal of wakefulness places the organism in grave danger – one is then capable of acting without knowing the consequences of one’s acts.  It is as if, without the sense of self in the act of knowing, the thoughts one generates go unclaimed because their rightful owner is missing.  The self-impoverished organism is at a loss as to whom those thoughts belong.  (Damasio/FWH/130)”

Refer here, also, to the preschoolers’ empathy article, and how preoccupied cannot tell who the distress belongs to – same thing, or growing to be the same thing…

How could he NOT start by considering this state?  Wouldn’t it be the state infants are in, growing a self and knowing from there?  At least an infant can hard no one by its state, and is hardly creating its own “grave danger.”

Why should development be a separate consideration, a separate field of study?


need for stability

“In all the kinds of self we can consider one notion always commands center stage:  the notion of a bounded, single individual that changes ever so gently across time but, somehow, seems to stay the same.  (Damasio/FWH/134)”

“…it must possess a remarkable degree of structural invariance so that it can dispense continuity of reference across long periods of time.  Continuity of reference is in effect what the self needs to offer.  (Damasio/FWH/135)”

Dissociation breaks this continuity.  Lack of a coherent life story reflects discontinuity in the self.

I am wondering if PTSD IS more of a dissociative disorder than an anxiety disorder.

I did not associate my happy little baby self (in public) with the self that had to survive my mother in private.

“Relative stability is required at all levels of processing, from the simplest to the most complex.  Stability must be there when you relate to varied objects in space or when you consistently react emotionally in a certain way to certain situations.  Stability is there, too, at the level of complicated ideas….Relative stability supports continuity of reference and is thus a requisite for the self. Our search for a biological substrate for the self must identify structures capable of providing such stability. (Damasio/FWH/135)”


“Consciousness certainly appears to postdate both life and the basic devices that allow organisms to maintain life, and in all likelihood, consciousness has succeeded in evolution precisely because it supports life most beautifully.  (Damasio/FWH/135)”

“One key to understanding living organisms, from those that are made up of one cell to those that are made up of billions of cells, is the definition of their boundary, the separation between what is in and what is out.  The structure of the organism is inside the boundary and the life of the organism is defined by the maintenance of internal  (Damasio/FWH/135) states within the boundary.  Singular individuality depends on the boundary.  (Damasio/FWH/136)”

“Through thick and thin, even when large variations occur in the environment that surrounds an organism, there is a dispositional arrangement available in the organism’s structure that modifies the inner workings of the organism.  The dispositional arrangement ensures that the environmental variations do not cause a correspondingly large and excessive variation of activity within.  When variations that trespass into a dangerous range are about to occur, they can be averted by some preemptive action; and when dangerous variations have already occurred, they can still be corrected by some appropriate action.  (Damasio/FWH/136)”

Trespass, interesting choice of a word – reminds me of abuse consequences – including sexual.

This last part also parallels what he said earlier about pain (reparative) and pleasure (preemptive).

Also must relate both to homeostasis and equilibrium, and to the ability to regulate.

“”The specifications for survival that I am describing here include:  a boundary; an internal structure; a dispositional arrangement for the regulation of internal states that subsumes a mandate to maintain life; a narrow range of variability of internal states so that those states are relatively stable.  (Damasio/FWH/136)”

It is intriguing to think that the constancy of the internal milieu is essential to maintain life and that it might be a blueprint and anchor for what will eventually become a self in the mind.  (Damasio/FWH/136)”


“…the urge to stay alive is not a modern development.  It is not a property of humans alone….What does vary is the degree to which organisms know about that urge.  Few do.  But the urge is still there whether organisms know of it or not.  Thanks to consciousness, humans are keenly aware of it.  (Damasio/FWH/137)”

“Life is carried out inside a boundary that defines a body.  Life and the life urge exist inside a boundary, the selectively permeable wall that separates the internal environment from the external environment.  The idea of organism revolves around the existence of that boundary….If thee is no boundary, there is no body, and if there is no body, there is no organism.  Life needs a boundary.  I believe that minds and consciousness, when they eventually appeared in evolution, were first and foremost about life and the life urge within a boundary.  To a great extent they still are.  (Damasio/FWH/137)”


“In a curious way, life consists of continuous variation but only if the range of variation is contained within certain limits.  If you were to look closely inside the boundary, life consists of one big change after another, an agitated sea with one high swelling wave following another.  But if you look from a distance, the changes smooth out, like when a choppy ocean becomes a glassy surface seen from a plane high in the sky.  And if you remove yourself even farther and look simultaneously at the whole cell and at (Damasio/FWH/137) its environment, you will see that  against the upheavals of the surroundings, life inside the cell is now largely stability and sameness.  (Damasio/FWH/138)”

This makes me think about Glasser, Hillman and van der Kolk when they ask the question, “Can a person suffer too much?  Can they be broken?”  The “range of variation” has to be “contained within certain limits.”  Outside those limits?

Humans, with their added level and component of selfhood has an added level of risk in this process of life.  The body can stay alive, but?

“The job of reining in the amplitude of changes, of keeping the inside in check against the odds from the outside, is a big task.  It goes on continuously, enabled by sharply targeted command and control functions distributed throughout the cell nucleus, the organelles, and the cytoplasm.  In 1865, the French biologist, Claude Bernard, gave a name to the environment inside an organism:  the internal milieu…..His powerful insight was that in order for independent life to continue,  the internal milieu had to be stable.  In the earlier part of the twentieth century, W.B. Cannon would carry these ideas forward by writing about a biological function he named homeostasis and described  as “the coordinated physiological reactions which maintain most of the steady states of the body…and which are so peculiar to the living organism.” 2  (Damasio/FWH/138)”

“The unwitting and unconscious urge to stay alive betrays itself inside a simple cell in a complicated operation that requires “sensing” the state of the chemical profile inside the boundary, and that requires unwitting, “unconscious knowledge” of what to do, chemically speaking, when the sensing reveals too little or too much of some ingredient at some place or time within the cell.  To put it in other words:  it requires something not unlike perception in order to sense imbalance; it requires something not unlike implicit memory, in the form of dispositions for action, in order to hold its technical know how; and it requires something not unlike a skill to perform a preemptive or corrective action.  If all this sounds to you like the description of important functions of our brain, you are correct.  (Damasio/FWH/138)”

“…sensing environmental conditions, holding know-how in dispositions, and acting on the basis of those dispositions were already present in single-cell creatures before they were part of any multicellular organisms, let alone multicellular organisms with brains.  (Damasio/FWH/139)”

“Life and the life urge inside the boundary that circumscribes an organism precede the appearance of nervous systems, of brains.  But when brains appear on the scene, they are still about life, and they do preserve and expand the ability to sense the internal state, to hold know-how in dispositions, and to use those dispositions to respond to changes in the environment that surrounds brains.  Brains permit the life urge to be regulated ever so effectively and, at some point in evolution, knowingly.  (Damasio/FWH/139)”


If this is true for something this simple, then how is it for humans?

“Simple organisms in hospitable environments may require little knowledge and no planning at all in order to respond adequately and maintain life.  All that may be required is a few sensing devices, a stock of dispositions to respond according to what is sensed, and some means to carry out the action selected as response.  (Damasio/FWH/139)”

In other words, a secure and safe environment.

“By contrast, complex organisms placed in complex environments require large repertoires of knowledge, the possibility of choosing among many available responses, the ability to construct novel combinations of response, and the ability to plan ahead so as to avoid disadvantageous situations and instead propitiate favorable ones.  (Damasio/FWH/139)”

Someone whose brain developed under traumatic infant conditions will not have the same kind of knowledge about the world as someone has whose brain formed in a secure environment.

They will not have the same array of possible or available choices, nor will their bodies operate so that the cortex is consulted correctly when a choice is made (bypasses cortex) and the cortex itself does not operate correctly.

The hemispheres do not operate correctly individually or in tandem with one anther.

They will no have the same ability to plan ahead, and cannot tell pleasure from pain accurately – PTSD will override their body.

“The machinery to perform these demanding tasks is complicated and requires a nervous system.  It requires a vast stock of dispositions, a substantial part of which must be provided by the genome and be innate, although some dispositions can be modified by learning and additional stocks of dispositions can be acquired through experience.  The control of the emotions, which we discussed earlier, is (Damasio/FWH/139) part of this dispositional stock.  Several types of sensors are also required….Eventually, the management of life also requires a means of responding not just with actions carried out by muscles but also with images capable of depicting the internal states of the organism, entities, actions, and relationships.  (Damasio/FWH/140)”

“[To manage]…life of a complex organism in a complex and not necessarily favorable environment….A new approach is needed and nature has permitted it by developing  two anatomical and functional arrangements.  The first consists of connecting the brain structures necessary to manage different aspects of the organism’s life to an integrated but multiple-component system.  Ana analogy from engineering would be the assembly of interconnected control panels.  In biological terms, these panels are not myths:  they are located in several nuclei of the brain stem, hypothalamus, and basal forebrain.  The second consists of providing these management regions with moment-by-moment signals originating in all parts of the organism.  These signals offer the managing regions – the control panels – a constantly updated view of the state of the organism.  (Damasio/FWH/140)”

“These signals are “read” by a number of neural sensing devices which react differently according to the set points of their “reading” scales.  One analogy for this operation is that of the thermostat in relation to climate control:  certain temperature readings trigger a response (heating or cooling until the desired set point is reached); certain values trigger no response.  You can imag- (Damasio/FWH/140) ine some parts of the central nervous system, for instance, in the brain stem and hypothalamus, as a vast field of thermostat-like detectors, whose states of activity constitute a map.  There are some perils in this analogy since the set points in a living organism can undergo changes across a lifetime and can be influenced in part by the context in which the sensing devices operate….For these reasons, Steven Rose has argued persuasively for the use of the word homeodynamics rather than homeostasis. [3 chp 4]  (Damasio/FWH/141)”

“The range of possible states of the internal milieu and of the viscera is tightly limited.  This limitation is built into the organism specifications since the range of states that is compatible with life is small.  The permissible range is indeed so small and the need to respect its limits so absolute for survival that organisms spring forth equipped with an automatic regulation system to ensure that life-threatening deviations do not occur or can be rapidly corrected.  (Damasio/FWH/141)”

“…living organisms naturally carry devices designed to insure limited variance, or if you will, maintain sameness.  Those devices are planted genetically in any living being and do their basic job whether beings (Damasio/FWH/141) want it or not.  Most beings do not “want” anything whatsoever, but in those that do, it makes no difference:  the basic regulatory devices still operate in the same way.  (Damasio/FWH/142)”

PTSD builds “unusual” device responses – from birth – how they are supposed to operate “normally” is “plated genetically” but they can be altered in their operation.  Thus the automatic responses of the body that override what the individual might “want.”  The survival devices of the body are so convinced that threat to life is a constant reality that to change these responses – especially if established since birth – might be nearly impossible.

“Moment by moment, the brain has available a dynamic representation of an entity with a limited range of possible states – the body. [4 ch 5]  (Damasio/FWH/142)”

“It is astonishing to discover that the seemingly rock-solid stabilities behind a single mind and a single self are themselves ephemeral and continuously reconstructed at the level of cells and molecules.  (Damasio/FWH/143)”

“…although the building blocks for the construction of our organisms are regularly replaced, the architectural designs for the varied structure of our organisms are carefully maintained.  (Damasio/FWH/144)”

“…the brain reconstructs the sense of self moment by moment.  We do not have a self sculpted in stone and, like stone, resistant (Damasio/FWH/144) to the ravages of time.  Our sense of self is a state of the organism, the result of certain components operating in a certain manner and interacting in a certain way, within certain parameters.  It is another construction, a vulnerable pattern of integrated operations whose consequences is to generate the mental representation of a living individual being.  The entire biological edifice, from cells, tissues, and organs to systems and images, is held alive by the constant execution of construction plans, always on the brink of partial or complete collapse should the process of rebuilding and renewal break down.  The construction plans are all woven around the need to stay away from the brink.  (Damasio/FWH/145)”

Agency, of course, requires a body acting in time and space and is meaningless without it.  (Damasio/FWH/145)”


“The statement that there is no such thing as a pure perception holds true….when you are simply thinking of an object rather than actually perceiving it in the world outside your organism.  Here is the reason why:  The records we hold of the objects (Damasio/FWH/147) and events that we once perceived include the motor adjustments we made to obtain the perception in the first place and also include the emotional reactions we had then.  They are all coregistered in memory, albeit in separate systems.  Consequently, even when we “merely” think about an object, we tend to reconstruct memories not just of a shape or color but also of the perceptual engagement the object required and of the accompanying emotional reactions, regardless of how slight…..the images you form in your mind always signal to the organism its own engagement with the business of making images and evoke some emotional reactions.  You simply cannot escape the affectation of your organism, motor and emotional most of all, that is part and parcel of having a mind.  (Damasio/FWH/148)”

“As for the sense of ownership of images and the sense of agency over those images, they, too, are a direct consequence of the machinations as foundational sensory evidence.  Later, our creative and educated brains eventually clarify the evidence in the form of subsequent inferences, which also become know to us.  (Damasio/FWH/148)”

“Having a car zooming toward you does cause an emotion called fear, whether you want it or not,, and does change many things in the state of your organism – the gut, the heart, and the skin respond quickly, among many others.  (Damasio/FWH/146)”

The organism perspective with which images are formed is essential for the preparation of acts involving the objects depicted in the images.  The correct perspective relative to the oncoming car is important to design the movement with which you escape it, and the same applies to the perspective for a ball you are supposed to catch with your hand.  The automatic sense of individual agency is born there and then. Later, you can draw inferences to the same effect.  The fact that you had interacted with an object in order to create images of it makes the though of acting on the object easier to conceive.  (Damasio/FWH/148)”

“Consciousness occurs when we know, and we can only know when we map the relationship of object and or- (Damasio/FWH/148) gamism.  Only then can we possibly discover that all of the reactive changes described above are taking place in our own organisms and are caused by an object.  (Damasio/FWH/149).”


“…what most often comes to mind upon hearing the words somatic or somatosensory is the idea of touch or the idea of muscle and joint sensation.  As it turns out, hover, the somatosensory system relates to far more than that and is actually not one single system at all.  It is a combination of several subsystems, each of which conveys signals to the brain about the state of very different aspects of the body.  (Damasio/FWH/149)”

“…the varied aspects of somatosensory signaling work in parallel and in fine cooperation to produce, at multiple levels of the central nervous system, from the spinal cord and brain stem to the cerebral cortice4s, myriad maps of the multidimensional aspects of the body state at any given moment.  (Damasio/FWH/149)”


“…the smooth muscles, which are so abundant throughout the viscera and which are under autonomic control.  The designation autonomic means that a particular process is controlled in its virtual entirety by devices independent of our will which are located in the brain stem, hypothalamus, and limbic nuclei, rather than in the cerebral cortex.  There are smooth muscles everywhere, for example, in any blood vessel anywhere in (Damasio/FWH/151) the body.  (Damasio/FWH/152)”

“…the neurons that carry signals related to nociception (pain) are different from those which mediate other aspects of body sense….(Damasio/FWH/152)”

“Additional information fro this division of the somatosensory system comes from viscera and is carried b visceral afferents to the spinal cord and by nerves such as the vagus nerve (which bypasses the cord altogether and aims directly at the brain stem).  (Damasio/FWH/152)”



“The sense of self, in either core or autobiographical versions, is unlikely to have been the original variety of the phenomenon.  I propose that the sense of self has a preconscious biological precedent, the proto-self (Damasio/FWH/153) and that the earliest and simplest manifestations of self emerge when the mechanism which generates core consciousness operates on that nonconscious precursor.  (Damasio/FWH/154)”

“The proto-self is a coherent collection of neural patterns which map, moment by moment, the state of the physical structure of the organism in its many dimensions.  This ceaselessly maintained first-order collection of neural patterns occurs not in one brain place but in many, at a multiplicity of levels, from the brain stem to the cerebral cortex, in structures that are interconnected by neural pathwaysThese structures are intimately involved in the process of regulating the state of the organism.  The operations of acting on the organism and of sensing the state of the organism are closely tied.  The proto-self is not to be confused with the rich sense of self on which our current knowing is centered this very moment.  We are not conscious of the proto-self.  Language is not part of the structure of the proto-self.  The proto-self has no powers of perception and holds no knowledge.  [11 ch 5].  (Damasio/FWH/154)”

Does this proto-self take over the body in PTSD reactions?

“Nor is the proto-self to be confused with the rigid homunculus of old neurology.  The proto-self does not occur in one place only, and it emerges dynamically and continuously out of multifarious interacting signals that span varied orders of the nervous system.  Besides, the proto-self is not an interpreter of anything.  It is a reference point at each point in which it is.  (Damasio/FWH/154)”

Is what?  Strange sentence?

“…important qualification regarding the relation between brain regions and functions, such as proto-self.  Such functions are not “located” in one brain region or set of regions, but are, rather, a product of the interaction of neural and chemical signals among a set of regions.  This is true of the nonconscious proto-self in relation to the set of regions I outline below, and it is also true of functions such as core self or autobiographical self….Phrenological thinking must be resisted at all costs.  (Damasio/FWH/154)”

“The structures required to implement the proto-self are listed below, along with those which are not required to implement it.  Drawing on the two lists, it is possible to test the hypothesis in a vari- (Damasio/FWH/154) ety of ways….A preliminary assessment of the validity of those predictions is possible on the basis of current evidence from neuropathology and neurophysiology but further prospective studies are needed to firm up any conclusions.  (Damasio/FWH/155)”

[] “1.  Several brain-stem nuclei which regulate body states and map body signals.  Along the chains of signaling that begin in the body and terminate in the highest and most distal structures of the (Damasio/FWH/155) brain, this region is the first in which an aggregate of nuclei signal the overall current body state, as mediated by the spinal cord pathways, the trigeminal nerve, the vagus complex, and the area postrema.  Included in this region are classical reticular nuclei as well as monamine and acetylcholamine nuclei. [12 chp 4]  (Damasio/FWH/156)”

[]  “2.  The hypothalamus, which is located near the structures named in 1 and closely interconnected with them, and the basal forebrain, which is located in the vicinity of the hypothalamus, is interconnected with both hypothalamus and brain stem, and constitutes an extension of those lower structures into the forebrain.  The hypothalamus contributes to the current representation of the body by maintaining a current register of the state of the internal milieu along several dimensions….The hypothalamus helps regulate the internal milieu by acting on the basis of such maps.  [cc to file]  (Damasio/FWH/156)”

[] “3.  The insular cortex, the cortices known as S2, and the medial parietal cortices located behind the splenium of the corpus callosum, all of which are part of the somatosensory cortices…..Based on my own observations in patients, I have suggested that the ensemble of these cortices in the right hemisphere holds the most integrated representation of the current internal state of the organism at the level of the cerebral hemispheres, along with representations of the invariant design of the musculoskeletal frame….Jaak Panksepp also links body and self, by means of an innate representation of the body in the brain stem.  His idea comes close to my notion of proto-self, in several respects, although his view of how such a representation contributes to consciousness is entirely different from mine.  [15 ch5]  (Damasio/FWH/156)”


Most of central nervous system

“It includes all the early sensory cortices for external sensory modalities – which means that it includes visual and auditory cortices  (Damasio/FWH/156)”  etc

inferotemporal cortices – put in brain parts temporal lobes

hippocampus – in file

prefrontal cortices – in file


“We have seen how a specific set of neural structures can support the first-order representation of current body states that I call the proto-self, and in  o Doing, provide the roots for the self, the “something-to-which-knowing-is-attributed.”  (Damasio/FWH/159)”


“It is time to say something about the roots for the other key player in the process:  the “something-to-be-known.   (Damasio/FWH/159)”

the “something-to-which-knowing-is-attributed.”



“The background for our understanding of how the brain represents the something-to-be-known is extensive…..Beyond the primary sensory cortices we understand a little about how explicit mental representationsthose which have a manifest structure – are related to varied neural maps and about how some memory for those representations can be recorded in implicit manner…..However, we do not know all the intermediate steps between neural patterns and mental patterns.  We do know that the same overall region supports image making for both perception (which we construct from (Damasio/FWH/159) the actual scene external to the brain, from the outside in) and for recall (which we reconstruct in the mind internally, inside out, as it were).  (Damasio/FWH/160)”

“We have reasons to believe that the integration of sensory representations across modalities – say, vision and auditory, or vision and touch – ma well depend on timing mechanisms that coordinate activity across large regions of the brain and probably will not need yet another single integrative space per se – a single Cartesian theater.  And we know for certain that basic sensory integration does not require higher-order cortices in anterior temporal and prefrontal cortices. [15 ch 5]  (See appendix section 3, for a more extensive discussion of these issues.)  (Damasio/FWH/160)”


“…the implementation of the something-to-be-known is inevitably accompanied by a complex effect on the proto-self, that is, an effect on the very neural basis of the something-to-which-knowing-is-attributed.  Let me repeat that this is enough for being but not enough for knowing, that is, not enough to be conscious.  Consciousness…only arises when the object, the organism, and their relation, can be re-represented.  (Damasio/FWH/160)”

I had enough as a child for being, but I don’t think I had enough for knowing.

“Now let us turn to the case of an object that is not actually present but has, rather, been committed to memory….the memory of that object has been stored in dispositional form.  Dispositions are records which are dormant and implicit rather than active and explicit, as images are.  Those dispositional memories (Damasio/FWH/160) of an object that was once actually perceived include not only records of the sensory aspects of the object, such as the color, shape, or sound, but also records of the motor adjustments that necessarily accompanied the gathering of the sensory signals; moreover the memories also contain records of the obligate emotional reaction to the object.  (Damasio/FWH/161)”

I thought these could be stored separately?

“…the distinction between actual object and memorized object….permits memorized objects to engender core consciousness in the same way that actually perceived objects do.  This is why we can be conscious of what we remember as much as we are conscious of what we actually see, hear, or touch now.  Were it not for this magnificent arrangement, we could never have developed an autobiographical self.  (Damasio/FWH/161)”

So what happens if the “facts of a memory” are not recorded?  As in PTSD?  Or not stored “accurately?”


“..the so-called “face area” (at the occipito-temporal junction, within the fusiform gyrus)…. (Damasio/FWH/166)”

“..selected regions of the auditory sector of the cerebral cortex….(Damasio/FWH/166)”

“…the association cortices….visual and auditory association cortices….damage in those sensory cortices does not compromise core consciousness.  When it comes to extensive damage of early sensory cortices, only damage to the somatosensory regions causes a disruption of consciousness….the somatosensory regions are part of the basis of the proto-self, and their damage can easily alter the basic mechanisms of core consciousness.  (Damasio/FWH/167)”


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