Consciousnessgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the word was God
I did a search for "consciousness" on Google and got 2.19 million hits. I made a Jr Executive decision not to confuse myself with all this material, so the following few uninformed thoughts are my own.
I start by wondering what defines a human being from the other denizens of the biosphere. Religious types of all faiths would probably say that humans are the only life-form that has been directly touched by God (and then we would slaughter each other in disagreement over the nature of that God). "Rational thinkers" might say that the various species are not very different at all (99% of DNA, yadda, yadda).
IMO what seems to define human beings is our "consciousness". I define consciousness as the ability to think about thinking; as the awareness of our own mortality. Who knows, perhaps whales and elephants and chimpanzees possess these abilities too but I don't think that has ever been demonstrated. And in the case of human beings, it seems likely that we have not always been conscious. A million years ago we stumbled through life satisfying our preprogrammed urges for food and warmth and shelter and sex just as do all the other creatures. What happened?
Somehow, sometime we became capable of abstract thought. Unlike other life-forms, we were able to think and represent that which we could not see. I think that it was the "gift" or the "evolution" of language that animated this consciousness.
This article claims that abstract thought originated 77000 years ago. This article speculates on how language enabled the Cro-Magnon cum Homo Sapien species of hominid to eliminate the Neanderthal species of hominid.
At least that is today's "truth". Stay tuned.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 04, 2002
Hmmm, so before we became self-aware (conscious), we did not even realize we existed. Maybe we did not exist.
Put that in your bong and smoke it.
-- (Carlos Casteneda@magical.realismo), March 04, 2002.
Interesting reading Lars. What hit me was that within a blink of an eye (geologically speaking) new species had formed. This whole evolution thing I find even more perplexing.
-- Maria (email@example.com), March 05, 2002.
"I did a search for "consciousness" on Google and got 2.19 million hits."
You just need to learn how to narrow your search, Lars. I did a search for "gaggy consciousness" on Google and got a very managable 19 hits.
-- Little Nipper (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 05, 2002.
you wacky google-whacker you
-- (email@example.com), March 05, 2002.
You want a word Bushmeister? How 'bout "word to your motha"?
-- (ROTFL@yer.scum sucking Repug inanities), March 05, 2002.