8-10-13-16-19-22-23 — the beauty of consciousness....
8-10-13-16-19-22-23 — the beauty of consciousness.... (The numbers refer to the chart in "a simplified history of religion"... WAR)
... and wars...
As the 100th anniversary of WWI is looming with gloom upon us, we can only reflect on the poor usage we have made of the beauty and of the ability of our consciousness. Not only that, we have used this consciousness as a tool to lie to ourselves — mostly because we did not understand reality and survival may have involve deceit at some stage. Not any more, but hey... we still live in "the age of deceit".
The viciousness of war — wars — could appear unnatural but war is "unnatural" not in its happening but in its ferocity and intent. Intent is part of the fuzziness of stylistic decisions rather than of needs.
Modern humans mostly developed in the last 10,000 years, though many civilisation by then had developed a sophisticated social consciousness that involved stylist interpretations of reality. For example the earliest stylistic representations that we know of, human activity involving extrapolation into symbolism go back at least 50,000 years, this possibly also in tandem with the use of fire. The stylistic interpretations of reality also exploited images from dreams, which mostly seem to be from a "different reality" and this would have created a confused view of the world. It still does. Dreams often manipulate our angst and other emotions beyond the possible.
In the Neolithic period, human activity was mostly confined to survival of small groups, hunters and gatherers who used very basic crude tools made of stone. Then came the bronze age and the iron age, in which humans, using fire, were able to "manufacture" stronger tools — used in hunting, defence or attack against other groups. Since then, the number of wars has been phenomenal... Human conflicts have helped some "inventiveness" while they have also increased the propensity for viciousness.
The big melt of about 10-12,000 years ago added another dimension to some areas in which humans lived, as grasses, the grain of which could be eaten, became abundant and also could be "grown selectively by removing others and/or be cultivated". This was a major step changing the focus from hunting and gathering to cultivation and the herding of animals.
Here came a new diversification of survival with a less immediate need but with a planning element for the future, for the descendants of monkeys.
Some animals do plan for the future: spiders will set their webs or nets and wait for the prey to be trapped. There is anticipation of a possibility in which survival is dependant of probability. I have seen spiders that busy themselves with making webs for no return and after a few times of this process, the spider could become "empty" of silk, should the previous web be taken down by passing traffic.
I have seen spiders eat their own web in a "recycling" necessity. When the web has been taken away by accident or such too many times, I have noticed spiders dying, should they fail to change position of the web. Most spiders will reset in a place where "traffic" (animal or human) is less of a problem. I believe the individual spider would be aware of the situation to a fair degree. Building a web below this line becomes a no-go area thus "learned instinctively"..
Spiders can create web while adapting to the surroundings. No two webs are the same. even for the same species of spider, though there are various "styles" of webs. The anchoring of main strands of a web is a feat of engineering: a main strand will be supported at its base by at least three other short (at four or five degrees angle) strands hitched at different levels along the main strand... Anyway I have digressed into the "consciousness" of spiders — species that have been performing the "same" thing for hundred million of years and survived well accordingly.
Squirrels will collect nuts and store them in hideouts for the winter-time when food is less easy to find. Some ants will store the pupae of some insects as supply of food for their developing young... Termites build mud structures that are as complex as housing estates. Birds build nests and prepare for the next season of young. The smaller birds will be on the lookout for bigger birds species coming to rob them. Crows are often chased by Australian mynas, in pairs, for just being in the vicinity of their nesting place. The lorikeet community is noisy as if the birds were fighting "happily" amongst themselves. They may be establishing and maintaining the pecking order in the trees they visit to feed, though there is enough nectar for all — or they just like to "chat"... or pair for life.
In the animal world, the skirmishes are rarely deadly between individuals of the same species. Sex for the male praying mantis is more dangerous. Instincts are the component of consciousness using the format of the DNA make-up of specific species. It gives them leeway to adapt to various circumstances in which "stylistic" choice can be made. Most animals have a stylistic ability — albeit small and contained in the memory of learned reactivities.
For humans, a lot of the fights are deadly, decidedly so, as the disputes become somewhat esoteric and imbued with desire, lust, sadism and greed beyond the "natural" boundary of behaviour. Through evolution, human instincts have been modified by greater choices of stylistic value with a greater gamut of aggressive blows....
In the wild, an unfit individual of a species will have buckley's chance of survival. Humans can survive while being totally unfit because the social structure will "value" the lesser able as much as the most able, through a maze of compassion, religious beliefs and other stylistic interpretation of "good" — and of course marketing.
On other subjects, rather than eliminate a problem, problems are often cultivated to search for a solution that keeps more people busy... this empirical development of technology and scientific curiosity has brought the human civilisation to where it is now... Despite the global village and world trade, communities still exist with noticeable differences.
Location, tooling, ethnicity, cultural beliefs, laws, origins, breed, race have diversified the stylistic behaviour of communities though the human DNA is basically resiliently the same with minor differences from one people to another.
From the original DNA "soup" 3.8 billion years ago till about a billion years ago, individuals in some species developed a crude awareness of self, through the development of feelers, senses and eyes. Plants on or near the surface of the sea became more and more reactive to light. Photosynthesis is a very complex series of molecular adaptations that allow light to become a source of energy used in the "feeding" process — which is a molecular absorption of certain elements in cells that thus allow for survival and duplication of cells in order for the plant to grow.
When life invaded the land surface, many of the animal species that evolved already had senses such as eyes and "hearing".
The image at top is telling of the battle DNA wages against itself. It's an accident of evolutionary construct that this battle exists. Sometimes it leads to "evolution", sometimes to "devolution" and sometimes to "extinction". At most time though it's just a battle that has no meaning, nor other purpose than a particular species way to acquire proteins to maintain itself in the greater context of the multiplicity of DNA strands. At top, the cockroach is still "alive" but unable to escape or defend itself... We know that ants will try to dislodge parts of our skin when they bite us... I have observed a team of ant chasing an earth worm that was well alive until, within minutes, the worm was overcome by the attack.
As DNA modifies there are point at which it cannot reproduce with a too far removed strand of DNA. ... Sexuality is the way DNA evolved over a couple of billion years to cope with complex association of cells. Some cells will become specialists in creating "pure" half-cells (gametes) that can create a new individual of a species by merging with another half-cell and then multiplying as stem-cells in a specific environment that provides "food" and "protection. In most species, this environment is what we call the "egg".
So what about consciousness? There is more consciousness in the brain of an ant, than there is in the entire starry universe. The universe has no knowledge of itself, nor of the lives within. The moment at top is an existential happening when the cockroach brains are dying and the ants "steal" the proteins of its body. Such an instant could have triggered a writer's muse to imagine a human being taken by a mob of little people... Lilliput.
Our consciousness has developed to a point at which it appears to be separate from the body. But our consciousness like that of other species is very much a function of memory. Without memory, there is no consciousness. Even the people who loose their "memory" through trauma or whatever still have the greater part of their memory intact or modified. Otherwise they would be either dead or in a coma with a dead brain. Alzheimer slowly reduce the size of our memory by removing slabs of it from our brain. Often it's the ability to recall the present that vanishes first. Consciousness suffers from this degradation until there not enough memory, including automated memory that regulate some organs, left to sustain life. Many sufferers of advanced Alzheimer end up with a blank look, as if "there was no-one there). They are unable to care for themselves. They only survive through care from other people.
As well, we can modify our consciousness with some "foods" such as alcohol or other "drugs". Our consciousness is dependent of our body. So some people invented the idea of a "spirit" supplied by the godly department at the north pole, in order to sell some morality wrapped up in a religious paper to us. The "spirit" is thus designed to be the little person inside pushing levers towards "good" when our nature is trying to push us towards "evil"... It's all rubbish of course. We as humans descendants of monkeys have our own stylistic desires shaped by social constructs all developed in evolution from several converging factors simultaneously or in a succession of "improvements".
For example, the opposing thumb, the lack of thick body hair, the larger — than we need for survival — memory size giving us the notion of choice when presented with options of equal value, spare time, and not the least, the fact that in the human species due to a variegated slightly degenerated DNA construct and other influences, NO INDIVIDUAL looks the same apart from twins.. All this led to the creation of stylistic habits and questioning in which survival is not the only game in town.
From year to year, nowadays, most humans have new games to play and new ways to interact with other people. But the basis are still there, though some stylistic "information" such as religious morality can slowly disappear while new method of "passing" the time is dumped upon us... And we become happy or unhappy lemmings in the bigger game of our social and global constructs. This is where science and mathematics — mathematics being one of the stylistic languages that helps us understand our environment by giving us ways to explore repeats, predict and build most of our comforts, including money — have to shine more in our social endeavours.
Our shared consciousness needs greater understanding and less deceit for a better future. As our present politicians and religious leaders are master of deceits, pigs will fly...
Professor of Arachnids...