email

As well as read the essay below, you can

Please note, links to all the Freedom Essays are included at the end of this essay. Open any essay to read, print, download, share or listen to it (as a podcast).

 

 

This is Freedom Essay 24

 

How did consciousness emerge in humans?

 

Written by Jeremy Griffith, 2017

 

The previous Freedom Essay 23 focused on explaining the integrative meaning of existence, because an appreciation of that process is necessary to be able to understand the subject of this essay, which is the answer to that great biological question of how we humans became fully conscious (how consciousness emerged in humans is fully explained in chapter 7 of FREEDOM). This is an especially significant question when we consider that other animals haven’t been able to develop a fully conscious mind.

 

Consciousness is all about the thinking mind

 

To present the explanation for how humans became conscious, it’s obviously first necessary to explain what consciousness is.

Nerves were originally developed for the coordination of movement in animals, but, once developed, their ability to store impressionswhat we refer to as ‘memory’gave rise to the potential to develop understanding of cause and effect. If you can remember past events, you can compare them with current events and identify regularly occurring experiences. This knowledge of, or insight into, what has commonly occurred in the past enables you to predict what is likely to happen in the future and to adjust your behaviour accordingly. Once insights into the nature of change are put into effect, the self-modified behaviour starts to provide feedback, refining the insights further. Predictions are compared with outcomes and so on. Much developed, nerves can sufficiently associate information to reason how experiences are related, learn to understand and become conscious of, or aware of, or intelligent about, the relationship between events that occur through time. Thus consciousness means being sufficiently aware of how experiences are related to attempt to manage change from a basis of understanding.

 

Illustration of a network of nerve cells in the brain

Interconnected nerve cells (neurons) in the brain

 

Since a conscious, self-adjusting mind would seem to be a very great asset for an animal to have, the obvious initial question when thinking about consciousness is, ‘Why haven’t many animals developed it?’ Despite this being an obvious question, it is conventionally argued that consciousness only emerged in humans because of our need to manage complex social situationsan argument known as the ‘Social Intelligence Hypothesis’. For example, the famous Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson relies upon this theory in The Social Conquest of Earth, when he says that ‘to feel empathy for others, to measure the emotions of friends and enemy alike, to judge the intentions of all of them, and to plan a strategy for personal social interactions…​the human brain became…​highly intelligent’ (2012, p.17 of 330). Social problem solving is an obvious benefit from being conscious, but all activities that animals have to manage would benefit enormously from being able to understand cause and effect, so it is completely illogical to argue that it wasn’t until the need to manage extremely complex social situations that consciousness developed. Any sensible analysis of the question of the emergence of consciousness must be based on the question of what has prevented its development in other animals. It is such a powerful asset for an animal to have that something must have stopped it being selected for in other species. The lack of social situations doesn’t explain why the fully conscious mind hasn’t appeared in non-human species. There was ample need for a conscious mind prior to the appearance of complex social situations.

So the question we have to ask is ‘What has prevented the development of consciousness in other animals?’ The answer to this question begins by first recognising that the meaning of existence is to develop the order of matter, the explanation for which was presented in the previous F. Essay 23. The second requirement is to recognise that, as a tool for developing order, the gene-based natural selection process (which has developed the great variety of life we see on Earth) has one great limitation. That limitation is that it normally can’t select for unconditionally selfless, altruistic, self-sacrificing behaviour because altruistic traits tend to self-eliminatethey tend not to carry on and so normally can’t become established in a species.

This is significant because, as was described in the essay on Integrative Meaning (F. Essay 23), for an arrangement of matter or whole to form and hold together, the parts of that whole must consider the welfare of the whole above their own welfare. Put simply, selfishness is divisive or disintegrative while selflessness is integrative. The problem for the gene-based natural selection process is that while altruistic, unconditional selflessness is the theme of existence, the glue that holds wholes together, it normally cannot develop this ‘glue’ of unconditionally selfless behaviouragain because altruistic traits tend to self-eliminate and therefore cannot normally become established.

It is true that the gene-based natural selection process will, to a degree, allow parts of a whole to cooperate and hold together if they each benefit from the cooperation. Situations of reciprocity can develop where one individual selflessly helps another on the proviso they are helped in return, because then both parties are still selfishly benefiting. So while situations of reciprocity can developin fact, such situations are the basis of the limited cooperation we see in most social speciescompletely stable, frictionless integration, where unconditionally selfless commitment to the maintenance of the greater whole occurs, cannot normally develop. (More on Integrative Meaning and the gene-based natural selection process is explained in the next essay, F. Essay 25: The truthful biologythe real story of the development of life, including humans.)

 

Image of meerkats

Meerkats demonstrating reciprocity

 

In fact, the gene-based natural selection tool for developing the order of matter on Earth normally actively resists self-sacrificing, altruistic behaviour. It is against altruism. It follows then that in terms of the development of consciousness, the gene-based natural selection process is, in effect, totally opposed to any altruistic, selfless thinking, and since altruism is the very theme and meaning of existence, such opposition blocks the development of honest, sound, effective thinking. Indeed, it makes sense that the gene-based natural selection process will and does develop instinctive blocks in the minds of animals to prevent the emergence of such truthful, selflessness-recognising, effective thinking. And it is this block against truthful thinking in the minds of almost all animals that prevents them from becoming conscious of the true relationship or meaning of experience. They are prevented from thinking effectively and thus from becoming conscious of the true relationship of events that occur through time.

An example of how genes resist self-destructive behaviour may be helpful here. In what are termed ‘visual cliff’ experiments, newborn kittens are placed on a table and while they will venture towards the edge of the table, they won’t allow themselves to go beyond the edge and falla sheet of glass is actually placed over the table to prevent them from accidentally slipping off the edge, but the point is the glass is unnecessary because the kittens instinctively know not to travel beyond the table’s edge. Presumably, this instinctive orientation against doing so evolved because any cat that did venture too close to a precipice invariably fell to its death, leaving only those that happened to have an instinctive block against such self-destructive practices. Natural selection develops blocks in the mind against behaviour that doesn’t tend to lead to the reproduction of the genes of the individuals who practise that behaviour.

 

Kitten in experiment peers over the edge of a visual cliff

A kitten in the original visual cliff study carried out by
psychologists Eleanor J. Gibson and Richard D. Walk (1960)

 

So, just as surely as cats were eventually selected for their instinctive block against self-destruction, most animals have been selected with an instinctive block against selfless thinking because such thinking also tends not to lead to the reproduction of the genes of the individuals who think that way. The effect of this block was, as mentioned, to prevent the developing intellect from thinking truthfully and thus effectively.

Again, as was explained in the previous F. Essay 23, selflessness or love is the theme of existence, the essence of integration, the meaning of life. While the upset, human-condition-afflicted, alienated human race has learnt to live in denial of this truth of the selfless, loving, integrative meaning of existence, it is in fact an extremely obvious truth and one that is deduced very quickly if you are able to think honestly about the world. We are surrounded by integration. Every object we look at is a hierarchy of ordered matter, witness to the development of order of matter. It follows then that if you aren’t able to recognise and thus appreciate the significance of selfless, Integrative Meaning you are not in a position to begin to think straight and thus effectively; you can’t begin to make sense of experience. All your thinking is coming off a false base and is therefore effectively derailed from the outset from making sense of experience. As the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer has written, ‘The discovery of truth is prevented most effectively…​by prejudice, which…​stands in the path of truth and is then like a contrary wind driving a ship away from land’ (Essays and Aphorisms, tr. R.J. Hollingdale, 1970, p.120 of 237). You can’t think effectively with lies in your head, especially with such important lies as denial of selflessness-dependent Integrative Meaning. Your mind is, in effect, stalled at a very superficial level of intelligence with little ability to understand the relationship of events occurring around you.

To elaborate, any animal able to associate information to the degree necessary to realise the importance of behaving selflessly towards others would have been at a distinct disadvantage in terms of its chances of successfully reproducing its genes. It follows then that those animals that don’t recognise the importance of selflessness are genetically advantaged, which means that eventually a mental block would have been ‘naturally selected’ to prevent the emergence of the ability to make sense of experience, to prevent the emergence of consciousness. At this point in development, genetic refinement favoured individuals that were not able to recognise the significance of selflessness, thus ensuring animals remained incognisant, unconscious of the true meaning of life.

Having denied the truth of Integrative Meaning and the importance of selflessness, it is not easy for the alienated human race to appreciate that conscious thought depends on the ability to acknowledge the significance of selflessness/​love/​Integrative Meaning. However, our own mental block or alienation is, in fact, the perfect illustration of and parallel for this block in the minds of animals. Unable to think truthfully about the selfless, loving integrative theme of existence, all our thinking has also been coming off a false base and, as a result, we too have been unable to think effectively. Alienation has rendered us almost stupid, incapable of deep, penetrating, meaningful thought. (F. Essay 25 explains how science, as a particular example of this, has been stalled by its denial of Integrative Meaning.)

 

Wallace & Gromit by Nick Park and Bob Baker of Aardman Animations

Wallace & Gromit by Nick Park and
Bob Baker, produced by Aardman Animations

 

When it comes to thinking truthfully and thus soundly, humans are now almost as mentally incognisant as animalsa state of affairs that is played on in the popular animated cartoon Wallace & Gromit (pictured above). In the series, Wallace is a lonely, sadalienatedhuman figure whose dog Gromit is very much on an intellectual par with him in his world. Both wear the same blank, stupefied expression as together they muddle their way through life’s adventures.

Again, much more is explained in chapter 7 of FREEDOM about the nature of consciousness, how blocks developed against its development in the minds of most animals, and the similarities with our own alienation; however, suffice to say, the reality is that the human mind has been alienated from the truth twice in its history: once when we were like other animals, instinctively blocked from recognising the truth of selflessness, and then again in our species’ current adolescent state, during which we became insecure about our divisive nature with no choice but to live in what Plato described as a dark cave of denial of the selfless, loving integrative meaning of existence. (See Video/​F. Essay 11 for more on Plato’s cave analogy.)

While humans have gradually retreated from consciousness into virtual unconsciousness because of our insecurity about our non-ideal, soul-corrupted, ‘fallen’, human-condition-afflicted state, we were, to our knowledge, the first animals to become fully conscious. So, the next question is, how were our ape ancestors able to overcome this block that exists in the minds of the great majority of animals and become capable of making sense of experience, become conscious?

Understanding how the nurturing process was able to develop selfless, moral instincts in our ape ancestors, and to a degree in bonobos (as was described in F. Essay 21), allows us to answer this crucial question. The reason we were able to become fully conscious is that, quite by accident, the nurturing of selfless instincts breached the block against thinking truthfully by superimposing a new, truthful, selflessness-recognising mind over the older, effectively dishonest, selfless-thinking-blocked one. Since our ape ancestors could develop an awareness of cooperative, selfless, loving meaning, they were able to develop truthful, sound, effective thinking and so acquired consciousness.

To use a comparative example, chimpanzees are currently in mental infancythey have the conscious mental powers of, approximately, a two-year-old human and demonstrate rudimentary consciousness, making sufficient sense of experience to recognise that they are at the centre of the changing array of events they experience. They are beginning to relate information or reason effectively. Experiments have shown that they have an awareness of the concept of ‘I’ or self and are capable of reasoning how events are related sufficiently well to know that they can reach a banana tied to the roof of their cage by stacking and climbing upon boxes.

 

Chimpanzees stacking boxes

 

In the case of bonobos, evidence suggests that they are now the most intelligent or conscious animals next to humans. This level of intelligence or consciousness is evident in this quote: ‘Everything seems to indicate that [Prince] Chim [a bonobo] was extremely intelligent. His surprising alertness and interest in things about him bore fruit in action, for he was constantly imitating the acts of his human companions and testing all objects. He rapidly profited by his experiences…​Never have I seen man or beast take greater satisfaction in showing off than did little Chim. The contrast in intellectual qualities between him and his female companion [a chimpanzee] may briefly, if not entirely adequately, be described by the term “opposites”’ (Almost Human, Robert M. Yerkes, 1925, p.248 of 278).

 

Image of Robert Yerkes with the bonobo ‘Prince’ Chim

Robert Yerkes with the bonobo ‘Prince Chim’ (left)
and a chimpanzee (right)

Kanzi, a 29-year-old bonobo. From ‘Time’ magazine, August 16, 2010.

Photograph by Finlay MacKay for TIME

The bonobo Kanzi’s intelligent gaze

 

So how did the process of nurturing overcome the instinctive block? It makes sense that at the outset the brain was relatively small with a limited amount of cortex, the matter in which information is associated. These brains had instinctive blocks preventing the mind from making deep meaningful/​truthful/​selflessness-recognising perceptions. At this stage, however, these small, inhibited brains were being trained in selflessness, so although there was not a great deal of unfilled cortex available, what was available was being inscribed with a truthful, effective network of information-associating pathways. The mind was being taught the truth and given the opportunity to think clearly, in spite of the existing instinctive blocks or ‘lies’. While at first this truthful ‘wiring’ would not have been very significant due to the small size of the brain, it had the potential for much greater development, for were an individual to be born with a genetic make-up that meant it had a larger cortex it could receive more training of love in that cortex, thus producing a more selflessly trained and truthful, effective thinking, conscious being. And, as has been explained in F. Essay 21, with this selfless training/​‘wiring’ of the brain occurring over many generations, the selfless ‘wiring’ would have gradually become instinctive or innate. Again, genetic selection will inevitably follow and reinforce any development process occurring in a species. The difficulty lay in getting the development of unconditional selflessness to occur, for once it was regularly occurringas it now was as a result of love-indoctrinationit would naturally become instinctive over time, which it did. Our instinctive moral soul, the ‘voice’ of which is our ‘conscience’, was formed. We are born with a brain that has instinctive orientations that incline us to behave unconditionally selflessly towards others, and to expect to be treated unconditionally selflessly by others.

Thus, the brain was trained or inscribed or programmed or ‘brain-washed’ or ‘indoctrinated’ with the truthful ‘wiring’ necessary to think in spite of the original instinctive blocks working against such training; our mind had, at last, been stimulated by the truth.

Again, how consciousness emerged in humans is fully explained in chapter 7 of FREEDOM.

 

Overview

Having now explained how we acquired our altruistic moral instincts in F. Essay 21, and the integrative meaning of existence in F. Essay 23, and how we became conscious in this essay, it would be timely to re-emphasise how these elements of integratively orientated cooperative instincts and a conscious mind produced our psychologically upset human condition.

As explained in Video/​F. Essay 3, and in chapters 1 and 3 of FREEDOM, our ‘good’ and ‘evil’ conflicted, psychologically upset lives are the result of an underlying battle between our original instinctive self and our newer conscious self. Basically, instincts, which are derived from the gene-based natural selection process, only give species orientations to the world, which means that when the nerve-based, fully conscious mind emerged that can make sense of cause and effect, it had to set out in search of understanding of the world to operate effectively. The problem was that this search for understanding by us fully conscious humans left us unjustly criticised by our instincts for acting independently of them, for, in effect, defying them, and until we could understand why we had to defy our instincts, all we could do was retaliate against their criticism, try to prove it wrong, and block it out; i.e., we became psychologically upset angry, egocentric and alienated sufferers of the human condition.

It should be pointed out that, as described in paragraph 259 of FREEDOM, all that is needed to produce a psychologically upset state in a species is for it to become fully conscious because that self-adjusting capability will naturally have to defy the non-insightful, intolerant, dictatorial instinctsand this particular psychosis would not involve repression of cooperative, loving instincts as occurred with us humans, just with repression of whatever instinctive orientation is present. However, what happens if the species’ instincts do happen to be cooperative and loving, as occurred in us, is that it creates a ‘double whammy’ effect because the upset angry and egocentric behaviour that results from defying the instincts, is then at odds with those moral instinctscausing even more guilt and upset. This means the human condition is an extremely guilt-ridden, horrendously upset state, which explains where the volcanic anger and potential for horrific violence in humans comes from. (This particular ‘double whammy’ effect from having moral instincts and its devastating consequences is described in chapter 3:5 of FREEDOM.)

So, in the case of us humans, when we became fully conscious we were acting in defiance of our species’ particular cooperative and loving moral instinctive self or ‘psyche’ or ‘soul’, the voice or expression of which is our ‘conscience’. Yes, our ‘conscience’ is defined as our ‘moral sense of right and wrong’, and our ‘soul’ as the ‘moral and emotional part of man’, and as the ‘animating or essential part’ of us (Concise Oxford Dictionary), while the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology’s entry for ‘psyche’ reads: ‘The oldest and most general use of this term is by the early Greeks, who envisioned the psyche as the soul or the very essence of life.’ Indeed, as the ‘early Greek’ philosopher Plato wrote about our integrative or ‘Godly’ (again, F. Essay 23 explains Integrative Meaning and its personification as ‘God’), ideal behaviour-expecting instinctive moral nature, we humans have ‘knowledge, both before and at the moment of birth…​of all absolute standards…​[of] beauty, goodness, uprightness, holiness…​our souls exist before our birth…​[our] soul resembles the divine’ (Phaedo, c.360 BC; 65-80). So, when our conscious self became upset by our particular cooperative and loving instinctive self, or psyche, or soul, and as a result, retaliated against it by attacking it, trying to prove it wrong, and denying it, our conscious self was ‘psychologically upset’; it was instinct offended. In fact, since ‘osis’ means ‘abnormal state or condition’ (Dictionary.com), we developed a ‘psychosis’ or ‘soul-illness’, and a ‘neurosis’ or neuron or nerve or ‘intellect-illness’. Our original gene-based, instinctive ‘essence of life’ soul or psyche became repressed by our intellect for its unjust condemnation of our intellect, and, for its part, our nerve or neuron-based intellect became preoccupied denying any implication that it is bad. We became psychotic and neurotic. (see pars 63, 258 & 379-382 of FREEDOM)

So that is how the elements of integratively orientated cooperative instincts and a conscious mind caused us humans to become sufferers of the extremely psychologically upset state of the human condition!

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Watch Jeremy Griffith present the breakthrough redeeming explanation of the human condition in Video/​F. Essay 3, or read chapter 1 of FREEDOM.

 

Discussion or comment on this essay is welcomedsee below.

 

 

 

These essays were created in 2017-2019 by Jeremy Griffith, Damon Isherwood, Fiona
Cullen-Ward, Brony FitzGerald & Lee Jones of the Sydney WTM Centre. All filming and
editing of the videos was carried out by Sydney WTM members James Press & Tess Watson
during 2017-2019. Other members of the Sydney WTM Centre are responsible for the
distribution and marketing of the videos/​essays, and for providing subscriber support.

 

LEAVE A COMMENT





Please note, we encourage constructive discussion about this information and so reserve the right to moderate or decline posts that we feel are not relevant or inappropriate. In particular, with the subject of the human condition being so confronting, malice can easily occur, and where comments are deemed to be motivated not by objectivity but by malice, they will be declined. It has to be appreciated that the possibility of malice toward this subject matter is very real, and we have a responsibility to manage that as best we can.

  • MREquals on June 28, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Thank you for giving me this information, it helps me!

  • Willow on July 2, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    I am constantly blown away by this information – to finally be able to understand what it means to be human and the emergence of the human condition is incredible. Thank you for these emails which are really helpful additions to everything else available from the World Transformation movement.

  • Deborah on November 15, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    The meaning of life is how we give and recieved love. We are so caught up in the stupid garbage of the day that we have forgotten to feed our souls. We have accumulated so much “wealth” yet people still starve. Let’s explore our humanity more. Stop the practice of collecting worthless objects. We are experts at that. Let’s become experts at our own humanity.

  • R.Ross on November 16, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    The materialist explanation of consciousness and mind doesn’t cut it. Consciousness was first and all comes from that. Mind is consciousness and can exist when the brain is flatlining.

    The idea that mind emerges from matter is delusional and without proof. Desperation on the part of materialist-reductionist science-medicine.

    Consciousness is soul and merely makes use of the physical brain as a receiver and transmitter.

    An interesting article however.

    • Consciousness us the "less than nothing" that would precede unity prior to the cosmos forming itself on December 11, 2017 at 6:24 am

      locate

  • Fred on November 17, 2017 at 6:07 am

    What is the operating conceptual framework in your awakened human brain consciousness . Because I am to some degree altruistic and selfless , I am going to attempt to communicate with you . Because I see the sincerity and earnestness , in what you are doing and the need for what you are doing , any potential human with any glimmer of intelligence , can see that what we call humanity needs to begin , to work on itself if it is going to survive . I can see somewhat the answer to the Question I asked you , by what is written in the preceding reasoning work in your writing , by how you are processing all or most of the information and perception input into your brain consciousnesses . Note here this is not meant to be damaging to you or your project in anyway , that is not my intention . So what is the processing program in your brain , who or what put it there , how did it evolve , there are flaws in some of the reasoning that need to be looked at , there are some assumptions based on not much knowledge or evidence in some parts , no I have not read the whole of The Book . What is “human?”,consciousness how and why is it devolving now . On facebook I have seen a Female humpback whale go to a boat of fishermen , to get them to cut off a fishing net that was killing it , also a gigantic manta ray that went to scuba divers to get them to cut of a fishing line that would have cut through it is wing and disabled it , how much intelligence and reasoning power do animals have , other animals have done similar things . What qualifies me to say what I say , no degrees , but by living, experiencing , reading , working through problems , internally and at times with others ,observing self and others , things either function or they do not , I have observed at times 3 generations of alcoholism-substance abuse in families , demonstrate the principle of the unconscious transmission of behavior patterns to the offspring , that unconscious transmission activity is a survival mechanism , that happens between 1+5 or 2+6 , depending on what uni you went to , ha ha . So I was told when I was not long out of teens , by a vocational guidance tester , that I had a high I Q and an analytical mind , why wasn’t I doing tertiary education , the next thing that happened I was in a meditation group the teacher was a spiritual heavy , who advised me that I was born into unconsciousness and had a reactive subconscious , so I guess I developed an interest to finding out a lot of things about that state of being , the teacher did at times smash the unconscious human personality ego (self esteem ), to make sure it did not get too large , now to write this with one finger has taken hours , also I have been careful not to push any buttons in you , by using spiritual terminology , also we are after all talking about what goes on in human ? heads down here in the form world 3rd dimension . I personally think it is admirable that you have chosen to serve in the way that you are , if anything I have put in here is of any use to you , I am glad to have been of service , what I have put here is for you , not for general publication all over the internet , the darker side is hammering me enough already . There is a big difference between believing and knowing . All the best L O L .

  • Roger on November 17, 2017 at 9:57 am

    I might have said this before but … that is one of the most amazing pieces of information I’ve ever read. !!!
    I should say that email 23was amazing too, which leads to excitement, because for the first time we can see how all the disciplines or areas of science are related.
    But understanding what makes us so unique was just fascinating … and simple.
    I was expecting an explanation that was going to be complicated and “over my head”, but like Jeremy’s entire explanation of the Human Condition, once you understand how the genetic and nerve based learning systems work it seems like another ‘obvious’ truth …. obvious of course if you’re not trying to block it out.
    If you’re interested in science YOU HAVE TO read emails 23 and 24.

  • RJ on November 18, 2017 at 10:01 am

    I really agree Roger. Simple and astonishing at the same time! I went on to read Chapter 7 as referred to in the essay above and I really related to this part of paragraph 650:
    “Viewed superficially, it is incredible that the mental state, where we have our own personal feelings and particular sense of self, can arise from a bunch of nerves, but really it is simply a consequence of there having been sufficient development of nerves’ ability to understand cause and effect. In the same light, it is amazing that 92 elements operating under the law of Negative Entropy could give rise to the amazing variety and complexity of life that we see around us, or that the simple combustion engine could give rise to the amazing phenomenon that is a Ferrari sports car, but they have. We can try to argue that knowing how the combustion engine works doesn’t explain the mystique that surrounds a Ferrari, but, in fact, it does. Consciousness is amazing but it is simply a result of memory which allows us to understand cause and effect. So while the claim that it was beyond our current powers to explain the phenomenon of consciousness no doubt helped upset humans avoid the issue of the human condition, the argument was in truth nothing more than intellectual bluff.”

  • jesusjamey on December 11, 2017 at 6:15 am

    We understand your intellectual progression to be the development of the Christ consciousness. The origin of unity is the resistance of 2 to be identical to #one. 3 then affirms 2 as a logical imperative and then the new unity of 3 as trinity becomes a unit. Ultimately mind realizes choice to be good, evil or neutral. Unitary means infinite. 4 is not infinite so can vary in character which us the source of truth or falsity.

    How will global unity manifest?

    We say the social convention if the family, not if the Nation, will rationalise itself worldwide and violence will gradually fade from conscious considerations

  • Roland Parijs 陆蓝克 on December 13, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    What a wonderful and impressive article. It makes sense that unselfishness is a not reproduced, since it could prevent an organism to produce itself and carry on it genes!
    An organism has to survive at all costs in order to reproduce and is therefore selfish.
    However the main paradigm is cooperativeness, integration as shown in the whole universe, where everything is built of atoms, molecules and cells. Each member of a molecule, cell or organism has to be unselfish in order to maintain the whole, exactly the opposite!
    Incredibly powerful stuff.
    But there is also the second law of thermos dynamics, that says that any system left on its own strives for the highest entropy, meaning the highest disorder.
    I was always wondering how then can live have started, because live is striving for the lowest entropy or highest order, of which man and waaaaaauw-man are the summit.
    I have started to read the book and hope to learn more of this incredibly powerful book.

    • WTM Admin on December 14, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Thank you for your very appreciative email Roland. It is always very inspirational to see someone understanding the true significance of what Jeremy has written. With regard to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, it is true that disorder will always increase in a closed system, however, as Jeremy explains in chapter 4:2 of FREEDOM, there is a second path to the Second Law of thermodynamics, which states that in an open system, where energy can come into the system from outside it — in Earth’s case, from the sun, matter integrates; it develops order. Freedom Essay 25: ‘The Truthful Biology’, is a fascinating read, and it walks the reader through the emergence of DNA (life), through to single celled animals, and multi-cellular animals, to species. So I highly recommend you read that one Roland.

  • Sam on December 15, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Really good article and explanation of our society. I grew up virtually parentless, progressed into adulthood learning to give to get until I exhausted all opportunities and crashed. It’s been a tough long journey to become a more giving person but have struggled with being taken advantage of. This article puts it all into perspective for me. To be a more selfless giving person- but learning now to not expect anything in return from any person.

  • user on December 28, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Animals are fully consious, equal to humans, if you do not sense that then you are insesitive for that kind of perception. the only difference between a human and an animal is not the level of consiousness (high or low) but the body.

  • Linda Kennedy on August 24, 2018 at 3:31 am

    can you explain the human condition

    • Susan on August 26, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      Hi Linda. Thank you for your interest in the WTM. You may find exploring our FAQ section helpful, for example to quote from FAQ 1.1 which is titled ‘What is the human condition’: “the agony of being unable to truthfully answer this fundamental question of why we are the way we are — divisively instead of cooperatively behaved — has been the particular burden of human life. It has been our species’ particular affliction or condition — our ‘human condition’.” We also highly recommend the first 4 videos on our homepage, as the key to understanding and solving everything.

  • Danny brennan on December 31, 2018 at 5:27 am

    I stopped reading this because I belive all animals are consious and any one who thinks otherwise are completely deluded lol… animals have memory love afection and also temperment along with attitude … we have linguistic skills Also the ability to undersand each other (to a certian extent) but very little else…. the big di ferance bettween ya and annials is greed not consusness

    • Tommy on December 31, 2018 at 11:50 am

      It’s a shame you stopped reading Danny. Coincidentally I re-read this essay last night and the simple explanation of human consciousness here is quite amazing to me, as are the referenced chapters in Freedom. Before I came across this information I did wonder about other animals being conscious too, but I now see that being FULLY conscious is unique to humans, as Jeremy says in the Essay, ‘consciousness means being sufficiently aware of how experiences are related to attempt to manage change from a basis of understanding.’ Para425 of Freedom I really love where Jeremy answers the question of how do we know that other species like dolphins and elephants aren’t fully conscious like humans. As he says there, ‘developing consciousness depends on overcoming the competitive, selfish ‘animal condition’ and becoming orientated to selflessness, so if you are still preoccupied with selfish, competitive dominance, as other animals are, you can’t become fully conscious.’
      In regard to human greed, you are right that animals don’t suffer from that, rather it is a consequence of the human condition which resulted after consciousness emerged in humans and clashed with our already established loving instincts (essays 2 & 3).

  • Roy Speakman on January 18, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    Very interesting read !

  • John tembo on March 21, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Hi, thank you very March for this interesting book of Mr Jeremy Griffith

  • William Finch on May 25, 2019 at 3:50 am

    At last, I now understand why we suffer from the human condition, thanks to essay 24. I have found these emails most helpful in understanding the book freedom. Your hard work is appreciated.

  • John mays on April 2, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    I suppose we have to be aware of the ego inside as being an enemy ….

    • Genevieve on April 3, 2020 at 2:00 pm

      John, rather than our ego (the dictionary definition of which is our ‘conscious thinking self’) being the enemy, what Jeremy’s instinct versus intellect explanation brings to light is that our conscious mind has been on an immensely heroic search for self-understanding. Now that that understanding has been found, we can finally reconcile our instincts with our intellect and transform the human race.