When I say feelings, you may think about being happy or sad – not something that drives innovation. Actually, feelings have played a vital role in human development.
Let’s start with basic human function: eating. We eat because the feelings of hunger followed by satisfaction after eating. In this case, feelings provide important information about how the body is doing and trigger the mind when food is needed.
Other types of feelings, curiosity, are what lead our mind to find a solution for problems. Therefore, in this case, it’s the feelings that motivated us to question the world, which lead us to come up with innovation.
One thing about being human is social behaviour. In fact, this behaviour is not only found in human but also in one of the simplest organism on earth: bacteria. Scientist found that bacteria have some kind of sensory information which allows them to join forces and form groups to build a defence against threats. However, if certain bacteria are freeloaders, other bacteria will leave them alone. Against, it feelings that brought us or even bacteria together.
If feelings are good things, why sometimes it perceived as bad to involve feelings? We have always been told that it’s better to let logic and reason to dictate our behaviour. Nonetheless, it actually more harmful to ignore your emotions. Even when emotions can get messy and melancholy, without them we would be left with colourless experience.
Feelings as Innovation driving force
Way back in history, humans came up with inventions to withstand the feelings of hunger, fear, and cold. These feelings triggered the innovations of shelter, clothing, and fire, as well as tools for hunting.
Then came the innovation of arts, such as music, dance, theatre, and painting. These arts provided a sense of comfort by providing entertainment that uplift people feelings. It’s not surprising that singing can stir deep, warm, sad, or happy feelings depending on the note.
After that, philosophy came along. This was spurred by the feelings of awe and wonder when people try to think and grasp the mysteries of life.
Finally, modern science emerged. In medicine, the feelings of pain and suffering drive drug development. In physics and chemistry, the feeling of discomfort, inconvenience, and frustration drive more technological innovation.
If you want to learn more about this topic, I recommend The Strange Order of Things