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Have emotions always existed? In every historical period, in every place, human beings have always tried to interpret their experiences according to how they felt. But we haven't always felt the same and we haven’t always used the same words to refer to what we feel. I have been studying the history of emotions for 20 years. It is a relatively new discipline, in which we are trying to rethink what emotions are, and to avoid oversimplifying them. We start from three basic premises. The first is that emotions are more than our facial expressions, which is what Paul Ekman and his followers in the US appear to believe. The second is that we experience emotions through our language. The names and the words we use to talk about them are essential for understanding them. The third is that these words have a long history, during which their meaning has changed. I’m going to show you three aspects of my work on emotions with examples taken from historical documents. The first is the power of the imagination over the emotions. When we simply think of something that could happen, our imagination stimulates our emotions. I propose that we exercise our empathy to travel back in time, to different historical moments. We will begin at the start of the 15th century, when the Portuguese navigators were setting off, full of fear, attempting to sail around the coast of Africa, Not knowing if they'd make it further than their predecessors. Not knowing if they'd make it further than their predecessors, or make it back. What helped them overcome their fear and get on those ships was hope. The hope of attaining financial gain. At that time, when so many people were away from home, King Duarte of Portugal wrote about what was called 'soydade', a mixture of loneliness and nostalgia. He defined 'soydade' as something we feel in our hearts in two different situations. The first is when we are far away from someone we really care for. The second is, even before this occurs, when we know that the separation is imminent. The king also made a distinction between 'soydade' as the memory of a time which we really enjoyed and the 'soydade' we feel when we just think about things we'd like to happen. This last idea is similar to what we could call 'false nostalgia', when we sometimes find ourselves daydreaming. The king also distinguished between sorrowful 'soydade' and joyful 'soydade'. Sorrowful 'soydade' is when a memory makes us want to go back in time and be part of that conversation we had with a friend who is no longer with us. Joyful 'soydade' is felt when, instead of suffering because a friend is absent, we enjoy our memories of past times. Let's move on to another historical moment: the end of the 17th century, when the word 'nostalgia' was coined. In 1688, a Swiss medical student at the University of Basel, Johannes Hofer, wrote a thesis on a phenomenon he had observed amongst people who lived away from home. Some of those people were so sad to be away from home, that they were languishing and becoming ill,and were failing to recover. This phenomenon already had a name in German, 'Heimweh'. In French it was known as 'mal du pays'. The problem was that, when it came to making a diagnosis, these words just were not convincing as nosological categories. A technical term was needed. Hoffer decided to combine two Greek words: 'nostos' meaning 'homecoming' and 'algia', from 'algos', meaning 'ache'. Amongst the cases included by Hofer in his thesis was that of a Swiss man who had migrated to Paris. He missed the Swiss mountains so much that he became ill because he wanted to see them but couldn't. Then, when the man for whom he worked as a servant gave him time off to travel, his health started to improve. In the end, he made a full recovery without even travelling. I'm using this as an example of how thinking that something is possible actually changes the way we feel. It also raises the question of whether our society values sufficiently the power of the imagination. It also leds me to the second aspect of my work on emotions: the relationship between mind, body and emotions, which had already been understood in Hippocratic medicine 25 centuries ago. We began to lose sight of this in the mid-19th century. And now we are being reminded again, it is something we know: Emotions have an impact on our physical and mental health. What we do with our body, our sleeping habits, what we eat, and how much we eat, if we do a lot of exercise or lead a sedentary life, clearly affects how we feel. Let’s look at it in the context of 1792. It was three years after the French Revolution and it was the beginning of a war which would last 23 years: The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. At this point in the history of France, nostalgia came to be seen as an epidemic disease. It was the leading cause of suicide. Many treatises and articles were written on the subject. Having read quite a few of them, I will now outline what I see as four contributing factors. First, many of the soldiers who were admitted into hospital because they were suffering from nostalgia or were very ill had been injured, and were weak and undernourished. Their weakness made them feel sad and made them want to go home. The second factor is that many had been forced to fight for ideals they perhaps didn't believe in. This was a new French nation, a republic, which they often did not understand. The third factor is that, at that time in the history of France, a third of the population didn't speak French as their first language. They spoke Breton, German, Basque or Catalan. The fact that many of these soldiers spoke dialects or languages not shared by others contributed to what I see as the fourth factor: isolation, loneliness, and lack of communication with others. Here's an example that illustrates these four factors: In 1792, there was a surgeon called Moreau de la Sarthe who cured a soldier of nostalgia simply by asking another soldier from the same region to talk to him and reminisce about past experiences. He managed to cure him doing just this. The soldier regained his will to live and to keep fighting. It appears that escaping loneliness through conversation and reminiscing about the past was the best therapy. Not all doctors believed that nostalgia was an illness itself. Many thought it was just another form of melancholy. Since ancient times, melancholy has been understood as an illness that would affect mind and body and has been associated with fear and sadness. Since the end of the First World War nobody has died of nostalgia or melancholy. The meaning of these words has changed. As we have seen, some similar emotions have different names and nuances depending on how they relate to time and space. In every place and time, as circumstances and sensibilities have changed, different symptoms, associated with emotions, have been identified and different therapies and ways of managing them have been found. For example, the old concept of nostalgia and 'saudade' share a sense of solitude. And both these states share with melancholy a sense of absence, which can lead to self-absorption. The meaning of 'melancholy' began to change in the hands of psychoanalysts, who gave it a meaning similar to what is understood by 'depression' today. In 1917, Freud wrote and published an essay in which he distinguished between sorrowful mourning, following the loss of an important person or thing, and melancholy as a much longer-lasting sorrow without an obvious cause. Seventy years later, the psychoanalyst and linguist, Julia Kristeva revisited that distinction and added that sometimes, faced with loss, real or perceived, we cling to sorrow, as if it could replace that which we feel we have lost. She also suggested, as an alternative to the use of antidepressants, that one might connect with artistic images and with poetry. According to Kristeva, those who feel too sad are incapable of finding meaning in logical language. By contrast, poetic language, with its rhythm, alliteration and rhymes, can grip those feeling sad and help them to process and overcome or transform their sadness. I believe that listening to music or poetry, poetic language and its rhythms, can help us understand that emotions are not something inside us that we simply express, but something that helps us to connect with others. I propose an experiment. Let's listen to part of a poem by Rosalia de Castro from 1884. It alludes to the 'saudade' felt by the wife of an emigrant who is about to leave. It also evokes other emotions that help to counteract that sadness. (Recites) It was the last night, the night of sad farewells, and yet no tear blurred his tranquil eyes. Like a servant who leaves a master who whips him, he muttered, in excitement, while packing his bundle: Cry? Why should I cry? We are lucky we can leave our humble land. In other people's country, where we might be mistreated by strangers, we won't lack the stale bread our homeland has denied us. And the children are so happy, they smile; the wife, though sad, finds comfort in the staunch hope that he who departs will one day return for her. To think that they too will go, that is the dream that gives strength to those in anguish left behind. The poem can serve to illustrate the third aspect of my work on emotions. I study emotions within their historical and sociocultural context and in specific situations in which social interactions shape and transform the emotions of all those involved in the interaction. And this cannot be recreated in a lab. As for the power of words, I want to highlight something referred to as 'bibliotherapy'. For example, in the UK, there are people who visit hospitals and read Shakespeare to the patients. Because, even if they are no longer able to use language, they are able to feel the rhythm of the words, of poetry, of the spoken word. In the US, for instance, there are people who read out stories about grief to children who have lost their parents, so that, by sharing the trauma, they might be better able to process their own grief and might feel a little less alone. I'll end with a specific situation in the here and now. What do we do when we hear that at the US border with Mexico migrant children have been removed from their parents? How do we react when we read reports about the sorrow, fear, anguish and anger displayed by these children? And about the mental health problems they are experiencing? And when we are made aware that in 2018, between May and June, 300 of these children were prescribed antidepressants? How do we feel when we see other migrant children risking their lives by crossing the Mediterranean in the hope of a better life only to end up alone and isolated when they get here? We might respond by feeling upset or enraged. Or might be encouraged to cultivate compassion. Compassion is not an emotion we feel unintentionally. It's more than just empathy and sensitivity. It's not about imagining other people's sorrow and feeling pity for them, so that they might feel less alone if we suffer with them. Compassion can be learnt, can be cultivated by being less self-absorbed, by not letting us be blinded by our emotions, or those of others, and by using our intelligence to contain negative and painful thoughts and focusing on finding collaborative solutions. Thank you. (Applause)