Antonio Damasio argues that even though emotions are viewed as a human trait, they are probably one of the earliest evolutionary advancements. He explains that emotions are "a way to live for as long as possible", asking "if you were a gene, what would you do?"
Antonio Damasio, noted researcher and professor of neuroscience at USC, talks with The New York Times' David Brooks about emotions and the science of being human. He describes the difference between emotions and feelings, and explains why emotions are one of humanity's most important survival mechanisms. - Aspen Institute
Antonio Damasio is David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California; he is also an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute. Damasio has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how the brain processes memory, language, emotions, and decisions. He has written several best-selling books, including Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain (Harcourt Trade Publishers, 2003) and Descartesâ€™ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1994). Damasio has received many awards, including the 2005 Asturias Prize in Science and Technology and the 2004 Signoret Prize. Damasio is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
David Brooks became an op-ed columnist for The New York Times in September 2003. He had been an editor at The Wall Street Journal, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, and a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic. Currently a commentator on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, he is also the author of Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There and On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense.