I’d guess the majority of people participating at this site would say intellect. After all, isn’t that what most of us believe sets us apart from other animals? In fact, I am fairly certain there are those here who would say the ability to reason entirely distinguishes human consciousness. My opinion is that the potential for quality of feeling is a far more fertile evolutionary path for human consciousness. Notice I emphasized both potential and quality. That’s because a human being can choose not to feel much of anything, and so quality might remain merely a potentiality. Some people purposely deaden their ability to feel; others may give it a low priority, putting it low on the list after all the stuff they have to do to survive, make money, think, raise kids, party, worry, etc. So how can the potential for quality feeling be much of an evolutionary path? First, consider how dependent we are on feeling even on a functional level. If you think about it, the senses are “feelers,” it is the way we touch the world. We feel light, sound, taste, smell, heat, cold, pressure, etc. because of nerve sensitivity. We might add intuitiveness (whatever that is) as another basic feeling ability of some individuals. And how is life when we feel bad whether physically or emotionally? Many people refer to the emotions as virtually the complete realm of human feeling, but that isn’t the realm of feeling I am talking about. Emotions certainly involve feeling, but emotions seem hard wired to survival issues and therefore not immediately under our control. It is, for instance, how we are wired and hormoned to feel fear or anger in certain situations, or how females are wired and hormoned to feel motherly love. But our emotions can invade our normal psychology too if, as we grow up, basic physical/psychological needs are threatened or denied, or our development is impeded. That potential for the distortion of emotions is usually what gives feeling a bad rap. If the feeling entwined in the senses and emotions isn’t what I’m talking about, what is it? Well, I mean the feeling that evolves into appreciation, and THAT is very much a human thing. From sunsets to a child’s laugh, we are presented daily with opportunities to appreciate. And then think about all the types of connoisseurs in the human race. There are film appreciators, wine appreciators, hiking appreciators, music appreciators; there are appreciators of cheese, swimming, coffee, travel, history, sports, science, sex, science fiction, art, camping, massage, computers . . . you name it. Other species can be observed appreciating, but none of them come remotely close to the level of appreciation humans are capable of either in breadth or depth. It’s ironic that so many animals are better equipped physically to appreciate. A dog for example is dozens of times more sensitive to smell than we are, but has no problem eating another dog’s feces or reingesting something he’s just vomited. So appreciation doesn’t seem all that dependent on how developed the senses are. What does appreciation have to do with feeling? Choose something you appreciate greatly, experience it, and check yourself during the experience. What is most prevalent in every event, and I mean without exception, of deep appreciation? Feeling. Real appreciators are turned cold listening to someone explain/analyze something when they want to feel it experientially. I remember a film class I took in college where Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast” was shown. I was mesmerized, totally caught up in the magic of it, when about 30 minutes into it the professor started analyzing what each scene “meant” during the film. I wanted to punch him. The deeper we feel, the better we can appreciate. The deeper and broader we appreciate, the happier we are. In fact, accomplished appreciators understand this so well, they start looking for stuff to appreciate. We crave it, need it, and want to be consumed by the feeling of total appreciation of life. Isn’t love appreciation? Could an individual value appreciation so much he becomes pure love? :!!) Someone like Jesus or the Buddha, for instance, did they achieve that? In that depth of appreciation, do we realize a new potential for humanness? I say yes, and that as a race we have a lot to learn about how our feeling nature can evolve us. Of course, the emphasis of the human race now is much more on developing the intellect. Yet if everyone becomes geniuses, but we are discontent inside, then we my use our genius to vent our discontent on the world and others (e.g., Osama is pretty smart). In contrast, even a moderately intelligent human being, capable of quality appreciation, can contribute to making life better for himself and all others here. So which is more practical for us to give top priority?