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Where does human consciousness come from?

Most animals have a brain but they are not self-aware. So what is it that makes humans self-aware and conscious and different from other animals? Why is it that humans feel all sorts of emotions (love, sense of humor, joy, etc.) and other animals don’t?

7 COMMENTS

  1. maybe because we are more evolved then they are or maybe something more but its one of those age old questions but if we are the only ones then how come most wolves travel in packs and have a sense of leader ship and dolphins have the ability to take turns feeding on fish they capture and also use tactics to get their food , just because we cant see it does int mean its not there

  2. the way you’re brain is wired.
    that’s why some people have no concious and can easily take a life without feeling sorry.
    that’s why some people can’t disect a frog even though it’s already dead.

  3. That is an excellent question, and the most accurate answer is that no one knows. There are several theories, of course.
    The primary difference between human and animal brains (at least higher animals) is the development of the pre-frontal cortex. The human pre-frontal cortex is by far the most developed, and largest proportionately, of all animals. It is believed that our self-awareness (metacognition, conciousness if you would take it that far) is largely thanks to this area of our brain. Many people would say our conciousness has supernatural origins as well (as of now there is no conclusive evidence to the contrary).
    As for emotion, that localized in very different areas of the brain (limbic system, amygdala), and many people believe that higher animals are actually capable of feeling emotions. There is some evidence to support this, though it is of course difficult to prove.

  4. As humans evolved, they grew larger heads, larger brains, and folds in the cerebral cortex, which increase the cortex’s surface area. This allowed the human brain to perform functions that could not be performed by smaller, less developed brains.
    For example, rats can fear because they have a developed amygdala, but they cannot contemplate their own existence, as higher brain functions are performed in the frontal cortex, an area much better developed in humans. Hope that helps!

  5. I believe all mammals have a “consciousness” and also have emotions and intelligence. Their level of consciousness is not as high as humans. We are capable of far more than they are, but very few humans actually develop their inate potential to achieve these higher states of consciousness.
    One theory of consciousness is the cemi field theory.
    Check it out:
    http://www.surrey.ac.uk/qe/cemi.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_theories_of_consciousness
    Another way of viewing the levels of consciousness is called the “Miranon Cosmology”. It basically says that there are 7 “focus levels” for each region of consciousness. For example, plants reside in focus 1-7.
    Animals are capable of achieving levels 1-14
    Mammals levels 1-21
    Humans are capable of achieving levels 1-28, although some claim to have reached focus 49.
    Focus 49 is the highest level in this plane of existence.
    I hope some of this made sense. Sorry to be brief, but must get back to Income taxes!

  6. Humans stand out from the rest of nature because they have an over-developed brain in comparison to their body, unlike any other creature. That doesn’t mean that the rest of nature is unable to feel the same as humans, just that they don’t have the ability to experience everything that we can. For example, snakes (unless cornered) would rather hide under a rock than bite you – this shows self-awareness and indicates the same fight or flight logic that we have. Ants and Bees have been known to sacrifice themselves for the protection of their colony – this shows the same unselfish behaviour that some soldiers have shown when trying to protect their comrades. Bears, and Squirrels, demonstrate that they are conscious of the change in coming seasons when they bulk up on body fat, or store food, for the up and coming winter months. Chimpanzee’s can show love to a mate. Dolphin’s have demonstrated a sense of humour in play. Pet animals, especially dogs, show joy when their owner comes home. No other animal is 100% the same as humans, but they’re not 100% totally different either. Although some animals have the ability to plan ahead, a day, a season, or even a year, we humans can plan ahead as far as we desire – due to our imagination, and that’s the key, our imagination. You just have to think of Hollywood and all those futuristic movies about life in outer-space. Who hasn’t heard of the idealistic future of “Star Trek”. Animals don’t have our ability to imagine the future and since the future doesn’t affect them today, they live for surviving now, whereas we plan for the future.

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