To be conscious is to feel!

What does it feel like for you – red or blue?

Experiencing the colour red may feel like blue to you. A different part of your brain lights up. Your experience of something is uniquely yours and is part of your consciousness.

A summary of thoughts after attending the Talk, The hard question of consciousness by Professor Mark Solms, on Tuesday 19th at UCT.

Feelings are conscious and not a sixth sense but ‘the foundational sense, the powerhouse’, says Professor Mark Solms. He explains consciousness as affective – through feelings – and how this actually takes place in the brainstem vs the cortex. And yes, he does this passionately with much academic argument which I would not attempt to include (here) and will rely on him and his publications speak to this.

I drew so many inferences with my work and studies through Neuroleadership Institute and Neurozone, and the emphasis on how something makes us feel, bringing us to pay attention to that, and incorporating how we want to feel to move forward/to change/to bring results.

How do you want to feel?

We know what we should feel like. Consider how our feelings impact and drive our homeostasis, for example, maintaining body temperature at the right levels, to stay alive. Through our biological value system, says Prof Solms, we choose ‘good over bad’, that is, to stay alive and therefore maintain the right temperature, and this is relevant for all creatures.

Being conscious of how we feel because how we feel is consciousness, bringing us into the experience, and affecting our learning for future experiences, to have an improved (more effective) experience the next time round by being aware of how we feel (before, during and after).

The key learning for me that I want to share is the application of the learning:

 Everything that goes on in our biological and behavioural systems involves learning.

 How we feel is significant for our learning.

 We adapt and apply ourselves more effectively by being able predict based on our (past) experiences and be motivated and goal directed to change (future). Why? Because it makes us feel good – it is rewarding (the law of affect reminder by Prof Solms) and we want to stay alive and thrive.

 Building learning capacity is essential for wellbeing for performance.

Imagine how our collective consciousness, feelings, and choices of/for our experience, can allow us continue to evolve as human beings and as a species (think team and organisation) MUCH more effectively.