How Consciousness Survived Evolutionary Selection
The evolutionary development of human consciousness has proven extremely successful. This is because it allows us to enjoy life and overcome the reality of our foreboding death.
What's the Latest Development?
The evolutionary development of consciousness has made all the difference for the human species, but the details of this slippery faculty are hard to come by. In understanding the evolutionary role of consciousness, renowned English psychologist Nicholas Humphrey examines its development: First came simple reactions to our environment, the way a plant may respond to the sun, followed by the development of a central nervous system, allowing us to localize sensations in the body. Then, humans conceived of time as something more stable than it actually is, creating past and future from infinitesimal present moments.
What's the Big Idea?
After creating a stable past and future, a quick extension of the concepts would lead anyone to recognize the inevitability of their own death, and the death of all future generations, etc. Humphrey does not consider this realization to be a terribly helpful adaptation. But for him, consciousness has the ability to escape itself through beauty and enjoyment. Artistic endeavors like poetry and film-making reach beyond the limits of an organic human life, giving us a sense of immortality and encouraging ourselves not to give up so that our genes might be passed on to future generations...
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."
- A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
- In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
- The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.
- An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
- Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
- Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
- Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
- Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
- But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.