2.a.10 – What is the role of human consciousness?

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January 16, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti


What is the role of human consciousness?

There is a considerable difference between genetic and cultural evolution in humans: the necessary involvement of human consciousness in the second one; innovations are often not random mutations, but reasoned responses that an individual has given to the problems he has; the success of these innovations depends then on the voluntary choices, although not very aware, that other human beings do.
The accumulation of knowledge, although a natural tendency of humanity, is also culturally encouraged: knowledge, science, studies and education are now consolidated values of our cultural tradition. Today the scientific progress allows us to better understand the evolution of culture, and the awareness of its dependence on our choices gives us the opportunity to lead it easily to our advantage, working a kind of artificial selection.
Using culture to satisfy personal needs is a practice as old as man and perhaps even more: today we know with certainty that the hominids had developed a technology to a certain level, although now it seems rudimentary, with the exaltation of the appropriate ideals, such as patriotism, religious devotion, racism and parochialism, with the political leaders always trying to drive culturally their own people to strengthen their power and wealth: wars of conquest in the name of religion, national prestige and, more recently, democracy are an example of it. Even the experimental scientific method can be seen as a voluntary choice between several theories to correctly describe nature.
The higher level of education that has gone spreading after the industrial revolution, in particular the study of history, philosophy, biology and psychology, may allow today large sections of the population to choose between different cultural models, in order to protect their personal interests, and also to study new ones, but the frequent wars, the lack of real democracy, the pollution and the economic exploitation of poor countries show that the culture of subordination to the community is still dominant on the personal well-being.



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