I don't know why I haven't seen this topic before.
But I think that emotions are necessary components for cooperation. Emotions help us create communities, assist each other, protect ourselves, respond to threats, and motivate us to find solutions to problems. And members of strong communities have a better chance of survival than lone individuals. Problem solvers have a better chance of survival.
Very interested in hearing feedback from others on this topic!
With due deference to Cosmedes & Tooby, Nesse, and Keltner et al, these need some sort of expansion to demonstrate evolutionary advantage.
• Being alone at night
- Fear of being stalked by a predator [This is valid only in extreme circumstances, e.g. being in a strange place. If you are in you hut, having a woman and children with you makes predation more likely, not less, because you represent a greater food supply. Humans are social animals. The anxiety is through not being part of a group; it encourages you to join a group.]
• Sexual infidelity
- Sexual jealousy [Jealousy is merely an effect, not a cause. The cause is that your genes will not be passed on.]
• Social ridicule
- Social anxiety [Social anxiety is again merely an effect, not a cause. Social ridicule is handed out to make you conform to the norms of the society which you share. We are basically conservative and like people who are like us.]
• Uneven reciprocity exchanges
- Pride, humiliation, obligation [Pride, humiliation, obligation are again merely an effect, not a cause. Uneven reciprocity exchanges are learning experiences and teach new thinking. They teach you caution and reasoning and, if applied, you accrue more benefit for yourself and society.]
• Being cheated
– Anger [This anger is the need to mete out personal justice. It comes from our morality. It thus tends towards regulating societies and forming hierarchies so that a greater social justice can be given to the group – see Uneven reciprocity exchanges above.]
• Considering cheating or not fulfilling an expectation
– Anxiety [This comes from a lack of understanding of betting odds -> great advantage for a small outlay. This is the same instinct that allowed us to work out how to set traps for animals – we cheat the animals. If we win, we eat and can survive to breed.]
• Having cheated others
– Guilt [This is always a fear of retribution. See uneven reciprocity exchanges and Being Cheated above.
• Another individual has an unjustified favourable status
– Envy [This is a lack of understanding of society, those who do understand it fare better: we are encouraged to understand, imitate and comply.]
• Finding a mate
- Desire, love [The breeding imperative that governs all.]
• Protecting offspring
- Love, compassion [The desire to achieve immortality through our genes. See Sexual infidelity and Being alone at night.]
What is not covered is “Loss
” which gives rise to sadness. Sadness is purposefully unpleasant to discourage you from experiencing the same loss again. You may lose your spear, which teaches you to be more attentive to possessions, or you may lose your mate, which causes sadness, depending upon the time of loss, at not being able to reproduce or have a reliable friend and assistant. We can empathise with sadness, and this causes us to act differently, compassionately, cooperatively to avoid sadness.
Emotions are the signs of learning. They are visible and thus a lesson to all.