“Consciousness and Complexity”

In the case of humans, we are above the threshold at which great organized social complexity emerges. Yet, we may be as cognitively limited as our ape cousins. Consider that we know scientifically, that our actions are destroying the planetary ecosystem, altering the weather, and that this global civilization is based upon ever-increasing use of ever-diminishing hydrocarbon energy resources. Our rational response to this would be to immediately take drastic actions to remedy these behavioral errors.

Yet, our material wealth, the position and power of societal elites, the very way that we have been indoctrinated to understand and interact with reality itself, is based upon preservation of the existing patterns of social order. So we as a global society, effectively do nothing. At least we do not take effective actions in a timely manner.

Like the great apes we are able to comprehend reality abstractly through mathematics, and for humans, science, but at a concrete, tangible level, we are unable, as a species, to translate abstraction into changed action. Humans fail the test, though at a higher level of social complexity than great apes. This conclusion strongly suggests that a creature that was cognitively to humans as we are to great apes would NOT fail this test. Therefore it is possible to not fail. The question before us is: is it possible for humans to not fail it?


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