I haven’t written much for the past 7 days. Babysitting my girlfriend’s dog was time consuming although the dog rested a lot. She seems unaware of the absence of her usual caretaker. Time dimensions, like past and future, seem irrelevant to her. The dog’s absence of consciousness seems like a blessing – to her, my girlfriend, and to me.
Human consciousness implies having lots of irrational fears, an ongoing pursuit for happiness and satisfaction. In several countries, there seems an epidemic of burnout and depression (eg, BBC). It’s impossible to separate irrational anxiety, dissatisfaction and unhappiness from human consciousness. For some – if not many – people, consciousness is a burden.
All articles that I’ve read about consciousness assume that it’s a higher level in Life and Nature. I have never questioned that assumption – until now. In her 2016 book Thinking evil, the German philosopher Bettina Stangneth attributes evil to human thinking – or consciousness (see my blog). The mere fact that we can think, implies thinking good and bad things.
Unlike any other species, humans think about the origin of the Universe, the reason for being alive, whether there’s a Supreme Being or not, and so on and so forth. Humans have lots of questions and few answers. In general, this does not add to our happiness and satisfaction.
Military people think a new war is increasingly likely, either a systemic (e.g., WW3) or a political war like China-India (eg, CNN, Independent, my blog, Trouw). Human consciousness is adding to this likelihood rather than preventing it from happening. Throughout history, advanced human civilisations have had an increased likelihood of collapsing (eg, Futurism).
The assumption that human consciousness constitutes a higher life form might be wrong. Perhaps human consciousness is a (rather recent) statistical outlier and anomaly (see next paragraph). If that would be the case then we may never find “intelligence” in the Universe. It’s probably dead already (eg, Futurism) and/or collapsed under its advanced state (eg, Futurism).
There have been lots of human species for the past 3-4 million years (eg, my blog). Homo sapiens (the anatomically modern human) is dated to around 340 thousand years ago (eg, my blog, NYT). The arrival of Homo sapiens sapiens (the behavioural modern human), dates to around 40 to 50 thousand years ago, and wiped out all other humanlike species (my blog).
The behavioural modern human has never liked competition and still doesn’t. Human competition is now about gender, race, religion, sexuality, skin colour, and so on. Any human difference qualifies for being ousted from a group – or exterminated for being “dangerous”.
My “rental” dog accepts all other dogs during my daily walks. Sometimes there’s a (mutual) snub but mostly dogs are fine after smelling each other. Dogs do not separate deeds, words and thoughts. Only humans question each other’s (true) motives and (true) intentions. That is the burden of human consciousness.
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere