The fundamental bodily needs express themselves as urges in both animals and humans. Animal behaviour aims at food, shelter and reproduction to ensure the survival and continuity of the species. These impulses of self-preservation are encoded in our bodies as ancient, animal heritage. They are part of human nature that responds to environmental impulses to maintain the integrity of the body.

Urges develop under the influence of senses.

Urgesenses + AROUSAL (emotion)

Urges are expressions of bodily needs: survival and reproduction.

Derek Denton distinguishes between 'classical' emotions such as love, anger, fear etc. and 'primordial'homeostatic emotions, which he describes as "the subjective element of the instincts, (...) the genetically programmed behavior patterns which contrive homeostasis." Those primordial emotions are evoked by bodily states such as thirst, hunger, breathing, pain, fatigue etc. They are necessary for the body's internal milieu and its balance, thus the homeostatic sensations are experienced as imperious and strive for gratification.

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CULTURE = cultivation of human emotionality and mentality


Urges are physiological movements that let the animal experience the sensations of hunger, thirst and sexual tension. These are bodily needs required for basic survival. Urges make it possible for an animal to instinctively 'know' when to eat, drink and propagate, so that the organism and the species can persist.

An urge is biological arousal expressing a bodily need. When those needs are satisfied, we are overcome by a sensation of pleasure. When bodily needs are not satisfied, we feel frustration or discomfort. When environmental processes go even against the integrity of our bodies, we feel pain. An animal reacts with fear and anger when it feels threatened or prevented from obtaining what it needs. It follows its urges, and its emotional life is for the most part influenced by the bodily issues of survival and self-preservation. This also represents the lowest (most primitive) part of our human nature.

Undeveloped (primitive) mentality occupies itself mainly with bodily issues. Any abstract thought is too difficult for it to handle. In this way the focus might shift more easily towards the basic and primitive layer of human nature, because there is no mental interests to occupy the weak mind. It is part of character development to learn how to control urges and how to devote oneself to the cultivation of 'higher' faculties such as noble feelings and intellect. Collectively, the cultivation (promotion, fostering) of human emotionality and mentality in society is the task of culture.

The difference between animals and humans is that we have a highly developed mentality. We intellectualise emotion and so develop feelings due to our more or less developed minds. In this way our emotional life becomes far more complex than that of animals.

Human development implies a moderation of urges and the cultivation of noble feelings and thoughts through culture.