August 19, 2008

The Sudden Emergence of Consciousness

Just what happened in those caves?

Alasdair Coles on The Sudden Emergence of Consciousness

The Upper Paleolithic Revolution consisted of more than just cave paintings. Visual creativity emerged in many other ways. Burial rites become more complex. And, it is speculated, the first music was made and the first words spoken. van Huyssteen argues that the key distinction between Upper Paleolithic man and homo sapiens elsewhere and earlier hominids, was the power to construct and understand symbol, of which language of course is a part. This ability to ‘code the invisible’ allowed for storage of information outside of the gene and the start of the cultural non-genetic inheritance. The ‘mental toolkit’ required to manage symbolic representation is the ‘ability to be conscious of being conscious’ and to search for meaning. The new humans wake up, discover they are naked and meet God.

Posted by Jill Fallon at August 19, 2008 9:45 AM | Permalink