WTM FAQ 5.5  Aren’t other animals capable of conscious thought like humans? / How can you say humans are the only fully conscious animals?


Jeremy Griffith explains in THE Interview that consciousness means being sufficiently aware of how experiences are related to attempt to manage change from a basis of understanding cause and effect. Clearly, while other animals have various levels of ‘awareness’ none can consciously manage events like humans can, and so it is accurate to describe humans as the only animals possessing fully conscious minds. It is also worth noting that Jeremy explains that developing consciousness depended on overcoming the competitive, selfish ‘animal condition’ and becoming orientated to selflessness, so if a species is still preoccupied with selfish, competitive dominance, as other animals are, they can’t become fully conscious. We recommend our FAQ 5.4 titled ‘What is consciousness? / Why is it that humans became conscious while other animals haven’t? / How did consciousness emerge in humans?’ For a full description of the emergence of consciousness in humans, see chapter 7 of FREEDOM.