what does a sperm feel?

i wonder what sperm think or feel. they want to find the egg, don’t they? or does a sperm just happen to swim, just for the heck of it, it doesn’t even care, and happens to find the egg, with no sense of reason or purpose or meaning or urge/desire/emotion/longing at all? is the consciousness that i have now the same as the consciousness that was in the sperm that i came from?

right now, i feel, “i am, and i want to be happy”. when i was 4, i felt “i am, and i want to be happy”. was i a sperm that felt “i am, and i want to be happy”?

does the feeling of “i am” and the longing for happiness and purpose come after the sperm and egg come together and work together to mix dna and form a body and nervous system and such?

or does the feeling of “i am” and the longing for happiness and purpose exist in the sperm? we can see the sperm swimming like it really wants to get somewhere, or does it just look like it wants to get there, but it actually doesn’t care? what do sperm feel, and how does that relate to what i feel and what i am

or does the feeling of “i am” and the longing for happiness and purpose exist somewhat in the egg, too? but when i say “i am”, i feel that i am one, not that i am two. it doesn’t make sense to me that i could have been the sperm and the egg, separated, at the same time. i am one, in one place. i am not two

if a sperm longs for happiness and purpose, where does that longing for happiness and purpose start? how are sperm created? is the creation of a sperm the creation of one that feels “i am, and i want to be happy”?

or does the feeling “i am, and i want to be happy” exist already, somewhere outside of the sperm, such as sunlight, and it somehow gets inside of the sperm?

Sperm don’t have feelings. Feelings exist (mostly) in the limbic system of the brain, and sperm don’t have brains (trust me, I’ve made a lot of them).

Sperm are just organized chemicals doing what they are designed to do (swim towards an egg). They do not have subjective consciousness or emotions, those are caused by the nervous system, which sperm do not have.

I believe the feeling of ‘I am’ starts around age 2. That is my understanding of when an individual learns to seperate his/her identity from others.

What does this even mean? You mean before the age of two infants identify just as much with others as they do their own selves? That makes no sense. You could say that their thoughts and emotions just aren’t very coherent at that age, but it seems meaningless to say “seperate his/her identity from others” without specifying what you mean.

edit re op: yes, sperm don’t feel anything, because they are unthinking automatons. The capability to feel that “i am, and i want to be happy” appears to be built up over time some time between conception and toddler-hood.

  1. A sperm is a cell - individual cells do not feel or think.

  2. The “shift” key is used to make capital letters.

  3. Don’t drink the bong water.

thanks, wesley

i think it makes sense that sperm do not have the same complex feelings that i do, such as anger or sadness, or a sense of touch. but what is at the root of these emotions? chemicals? chemicals similar to the chemicals in a sperm? electricity/energy? electricity/energy similar to the electricity/energy in a sperm? how much difference is there, at the root of the particles and energy that makes up a nervous system and brain in a body, and the root of the particles in a sperm? are these not similar particles?

how complex is the longing to feel good (or the longing to not feel bad)? how complex is hunger? does a rat feel hunger? does a roach feel hunger? what’s the smallest thing that feels hunger? what is hunger, biologically? within the body of an organism, where does hunger originate from?

does the feeling of “i am” require that a person can separate their own identity from others? isn’t it possible for something to have a feeling of existence without having a knowledge of anything else existing?

it seems to me that the only requirement for a feeling of existence would be that something exists. why would there need to be anything extra than that? i don’t see any reason to believe that every particle in a rock doesn’t feel existence, just as i feel existence

No, the accepted belief is that they have no sense of individual identity or self.

At birth a child seems to have no concept even of where its body begins and ends. It is unaware that its hand is part of its physical self, but that its mother’s hand is not. Over time it develops and increasing sense of physical self, but emotional/mental self is still undefined. So the concept that they could know something that somebody else does not know, or the concept that when they are tired the whole world isn’t tired, these are completely alien to them. Their sense of identity isn’t clearly separate in their mind from others.

That doesn’t mean they identify just as much with other as with themselves. Quite the opposite in fact, it means they are largely incapable of identifying with others because they don’t comprehend that others are actually different personalities.

Precisely when the shift takes place, and in what form, is a matter of debate, but facilities like theory-of-mind and the ability to lie are pretty good guides to what is going on and can be tested. Around the age of 2 is a pretty good rough guide to when it starts to happen.

thanks for the input, polemic. i can type more effeciently and still maintain just as much meaning by not capitalizing

how do you know an individual cell does not feel?

what creates feelings in a human? isn’t a human made up of many individual cells? if none of these cells feel anything, then what exactly is feeling? if feeling doesn’t come from individual cells, where does it come from? the sun?

I would think that complex connections between hundreds of thousands, if not millions of cells, are required before anything approaching “feeling” can be approximated.

blake, when a baby cries for its mom, it experiences emotions/feelings. it is hungry for milk. do you believe a baby is not hungry when it cries? the baby feels its existence, or it wouldn’t be hungry. the baby must feel “i am” because you can’t feel “i am hungry” unless you first feel “i am”

do you think it’s impossible to hurt a baby because a baby doesn’t feel?

Because feelings (generally) arise from the limbic system in the mammailian brain. And it took a long time for organic life to evolve limbic systems and brains. I was recently watching a documentary on PBS about mother-child bonding in various species and the narrator said ‘the first mother that acted like a mother occured roughly 150 million years ago’. I don’t know how true that is, but his point was that feelings like love are only 150 million years old (love supposedly began in mother-child bonding and eventually spread to mating, father-child bonds, family bonds, friends, community, etc). But suffice it to say, love may only be 150 million years old but single celled organisms have been around for over 3 billion years.

A field called ‘affective neuroscience’ is devoted to studying how emotions and feelings arise in the brain.


I don’t know if they know where feelings arise from exactly. We don’t even understand for sure what subjective consciousness is yet.

The emotions you are talking about are not caused by particles any more than they are caused by atomic fission. Yes, they might not be able to exist without atomic fission, but they are an emergent property, and both qualitatively and quantitatively different.

You feel emotions because you have a sense of self with which you can feel those emotions. You feel hungry because there is a you to feel it. Lowered blood sugar leads to signals being sent to the brain and interpreted against other current stimuli.

Sperm just aren’t at that level. The work entirely by physical stimulus-response cycles. They are no more capable of feeling than a washing machine, which is also a complex machine that also works by physical stimulus response cycles.

Very. It requires an ability to not just monitor current nutritional status, but also to interpret that and to override it as necessary.

Almost certainly.

Probably not.

Why does size matter?

A feeling of disquiet engendered by a knowledge of lowered nutritional status. It’s that knowledge part that’s important.

The brain.


Of course not. If an entity is unaware of anything else existing then it must be unaware of the very existence of time and space themselves. Such an entity can’t possibly have a feeling that it exists because it can’t even comprehend the possibility that it might not exist, either at some future time or in some other place. Existence is a privative. It only makes sense if there is at least a possibility of a state of non existence. Your organism can’t possibly comprehend the state of non-existence, and so can’t possibly comprehend existence.

No, it requires that something not exist. Anything that can feel at all is aware that something exists: the feeling. The feeling of personal existence requires that it be aware that it could potentially not exist, or exist in some other form. ie it needs to be able to comprehend a different world where things are not as they are now.

Well when you give us some evidence that a particle of rock can feel at all, we’ll take it from there.

For very young babies, up to a couple of months at least, probably not, or at least not at any way that makes the word “emotion” meaningful.

When my washing machine is overloaded it makes a beeping sound; it cries out to let me know. That doesn’t mean my washing machine is feeling emotions.

Older infants almost certainly do experience emotions.

There’s no evidence to believe this is true. The brain senses a homeostatic imbalance and initiates a response, There’s no evidence that it feels hunger. It may do, but they’ve been trying to demonstrate it for decades, and no luck so far.

All of which is just begging the question. Feeling emotions requires a knowledge of existence, hunger is an emotion, a baby feels that emotion, a baby cries when it feels that emotion, therefore a baby is aware of its own existence. But your premise that baby feels hunger is even more tenuous than the point that you are trying to prove.

Define “hurt”? Define “feel”?

Are we into November already? Does this mean we get the castoffs of schools still operating on quarters? :wink:

Blake, never allow this statement to exist long enough that others can see it, but I mostly agree with you. :wink: Enough that the difference isn’t worth the fight, today, at least. :smiley:

I assume this is the result of inference from observations…what experiments specifically lead to this conclusion? I mean what makes you say that a newborn “is unaware that its hand is part of its physical self, but that its mother’s hand is not”, when clearly one shows distress (and presumably feels pain) at having its hand bitten, but seeing someone else’s hand being bitten seems to evoke at most puzzled interest. Or that “they are largely incapable of identifying with others because they don’t comprehend that others are actually different personalities.” A simpler explanation would be that they just aren’t capable of cohesive thoughts and feelings period. To say they aren’t capable of distinguishing the personalities of self and other would imply that they are capable of understanding what a personality is at all, which I think presumes too much.

what is non-existence? everything that i have ever known or seen has existed, and i’ve never experienced anything that doesn’t exist

i know that particles can move and particles that are in a form can break apart. is that what you mean by non-existence?

does a rat know that it can not exist? does it think about that? or does it just react on its feelings?

i don’t really have any answers, just a lot of questions, and everything everyone has been saying has been helpful. i’d like to get a better scientific understanding of what i am

do you all believe that there is no happiness/unhappiness in most of the universe outside of earth? do you all believe that outside of earth there is nothing that has a goal?

do you believe that goals were created on earth? do you believe that goals are conditional in this universe, they only come up under certain conditions, such as the conditions that have taken place on earth, to set the stage for evolution and life?

do you believe that there are no goals in a star or in the sun or in a black hole? do you believe that there is no sense of purpose or desire or longing outside of earth (or any other environment that allows for life)?

do you believe that certain conditions occurred on earth, which allowed for evolution and life to take place, and that created goals? that created purpose/desire/longing?

do you think that if i (very hypothetically), working only with non-living elements and using as much time as i need, mixed them in a certain way, that i could essentially create happiness? that i could create an organism similar to a rat, that wants something, and that i could give it what it wants, and therefore, create happiness? for example, let’s say i mix carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, etc. in whatever i need to, to create dna or something very similar to dna. is it not possible, hypothetically and assuming i have a lot of time, that i could use these non-living elements to create something that has a goal?

i don’t have the answer. i’m wondering if anyone else does, because i’d like to know

I’ll bother chasing down the references when you show that you are worth the effort.

For now, you can understand the flaw in your reasoning here by observing what the baby does when someone bites its hair. While its hair is indisputably part of its own body, its amputation evoke at most puzzled interest.

When you have puzzled out why that is, you will see why your reasoning here is so obviously flawed. (Hint: sensation is not the same as awareness or : people still sneeze in their sleep)

If you took the time to do the basic reading on this subject you will see that this can’t be true. Heck, if you spent some time with young children you will see that this can’t be true. A child that explain the plot of “Snow White”, in detail, from memory still can’t explain why she ate an apple that she knew the witch had poisoned. After all the witch knew it was poisoned, and the reader knew it was poisoned, so Snow White must have known too. The idea that the inability to explain this act-of-missing-knowledge comes from an inability to form cohesive thoughts just doesn’t make sense.

But like I said, this is something that you need to study more before continuing this discussion. I suggest you start with the Wikipedia article on “Theory of mind” and proceed form there. But to suggest that an infant has a working theory of mind is just demonstrates that there is too much ignorance on your part to be fought in this forum.

Sigh. No. Children understand that their personality exists because they know it changes over time. They know they are sometimes happy, sometimes scared etc. That’s not what they have difficulty with. They have difficulty understanding that others don’t feel the same way.

Nonsense. Absolute nonsense that betrays the grossest ignorance of the subject you are trying to dispute with others.

Have you ever had a dream about giant talking boots? They exist do they? They must do, you experienced them.

Ever been moved at the death a character in a book? That death actually existed did it? It must do, you experienced it.

You’ve never heard of the World Trade Center? So it must exist too, since you’ve never experienced anything that doesn’t exist.

This is total nonsense. Of course you have experienced things that don’t exist. Some of them never existed, they were products of your imagination. Some of them existed once but ceased to exist long ago.

At this point I give up. You clearly do not have the requisite knowledge or understanding to make it even possible to discuss this with you, much less make it a productive discussion.

I find it very interesting that you identify as coming from the sperm. This is true in a sense, but you have developed just as much from the egg as the sperm.

This isn’t a criticism of your question, I just found it really interesting.

Anthropomorphisation at work.

Ova don’t *do *anything.They are featureless spheres floating along on the stream, completely inanimate.

Sperm move, they appear to strive, they are regularly described as competing, they can clearly sense their environment. They try and they fail and they die. They even appear physically similar to vertebrates with a distinct head/body and a tail.

It is hardly surprising that most people identify with the sperm. I would be amazed if anyone identified with the ovum, simply because it has no human characteristics whatsoever.