Professor Paul Stenner has written about and suggested an autopoietic systems approach to emotion.  This concerns how emotions, affects and proto-communication de-paradoxify the paradoxes that we must know what we cannot know and share what we cannot share. As Stenner writes:

Emotions are not concerned with the environment but with grasping-as-signal the noise that would otherwise disrupt the ongoing operations of the psychic system or, put differently, with the noise that the psychic system would otherwise become through disruption. Better the self-generated scream of fear and shutting of eyes than a confrontation with a more primordial and unrecognisable noise. […] In an argument reminiscent of Sartre’s (1993) case for the magic nature of emotions, Niklas Luhmann suggests that they thus secure the continuation of autopoiesis with »unusual means« (such as dispensing with subtle discriminations and the need to decide on the basis of a consideration of consequences). Luhmann is clear in his insistence on this internal role: »Emotions are not representations that refer to the environment but internal adaptations to internal problem situations in the psychic system that concern the ongoing production of the system’s elements by the system’s elements« (1995, 274).

Emotions are internal responses to interruptions to hypothesised cognitive processes [Mandler]

Emotions, I argue, represent a threshold zone or domain in which the norms of social systems are bundled together with states of consciousness and bodily processes [Stenner]

(Source: Paul Stenner: “Is Autopoietic Systems Theory Alexithymic? Luhmann and the Socio-Psychology of Emotions”).

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