Consciousness: Thinking

Consciousness is not thinking – I point out that the evolution of human consciousness on its rudimentary journey to thinking has been a long one. It has only been 30-40,000 years that thinking has evolved in humans. The type of concrete thinking that allows us to be aware of the world around us, but more important thinking that awakens us to ourselves.  Karl Jaspers postulated, “thought is the beginning of human existence.” (1951) I have heard some refer to this evolutionary leap as the Big Bang of consciousness that gave us the ability to think. I like that analogy. However, for 3-fourths of those 30,000-40,000 years that consciousness was as much Limbic emotive as Neocortex thinking. With the evolution of human civilizations 6,000-12,000 years ago and the ever increasing development of human language, our consciousness has been able to advance to ever higher levels of awareness and comprehension. Abecedarian consciousness has progressed to neocortical symbolic thinking, and gradually evolved into sophisticated higher levels of self-comprehension. The current posts contain my journey’s endeavor to come to some understanding of my ability to think, and its role in my own consciousness, awareness, comprehension, and knowledge. I have long wondered what role thinking has played in allowing me to have a better understanding of myself and in answering the questions, “Who am I?,” “What am I?,” and “What is my place in the Universe?”

I intrinsically agree with Pascal proclaiming that, “man’s greatness lies in his power of thought.” (1669)  I support John Locke who said consciousness is required for thought —> we need some level of consciousness in order to think. However, importantly consciousness and thinking are not the same thing. It was  P. D. Ouspensky who indicated that, “consciousness can exist without thought,” but “thought cannot exist without consciousness.” (1971) Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “consciousness has coiled back on itself to become thought.” (1969) I maintain that all living creatures are conscious and aware at some level, for all creatures have at least a sensorial alertness to their environment. I recognize that humans can be awake, alert, and conscious but it is our thinking ability that allows us to have an awareness and comprehension of that consciousness. In some inexplicable way thinking brings consciousness to myriad levels of awareness, comprehension, knowledge, and self-knowledge (CACK Model). Thought is a cognitive process that involves analysis, synthesis, decision-making, and other various levels of ratiocination and reasoning. I advance the idea that the most distinguishing factor for humans is our thinking ability, because it makes possible for us to have self-awareness. Thus, thought is required in order to have some level of self-awareness and self-comprehension.


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