… this week’s essay, which is the answer to that great biological question of how we humans became fully conscious. This is an especially significant question when we consider that other animals haven’t been able to develop a fully conscious mind.
Nerves were originally developed for the coordination of movement in animals, but, once developed, their ability to store impressions — what 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.