I’m asking those questions because I’m considering “consciousness”-as the seat of humankind- but will take the poetic detour, which is convenient and by the way, “consciousness” still being a “mistery”-scientifically- it can be claimed beyond a reasonable doubt that poetry can solve-or dissolve- the science of consciousness and make the idea more amenable, or interesting. Nor that we have a Cultural neuroscience field of study, my days as my own private subjective self are numbered.
Lets start somewhere: Vicente Huidobro, a chilean poet, published, in 1916 “Adan“-spanish for Adam:-)”, (ADAN reads NADA in reverse: Nothing, what a bummer) where he pushes with his “creationist’ agenda-made explicit in “Non serviam”, a manifesto where he proclaimed humans’ independence-at least the poet’s independence- from mother nature. Adan is in essence a dramatization of the book of Genesis as a-scientific-myth-according to Jose Quiroga from Georgetown, but it has NOTHING to do with God , nor with ‘creationism” in its neodarwinian sense. Huidobro places as a decisive turn in Creation the moment Adan wakes up from his primeval dream. Before he wakes up there is nothing to consider. As he wakes up, mother nature: outside from the start, becomes severed from inside: “self, conciousness”. Hence, existencial angst forever. An collectively we never went back.
“”……….Y en medio de los dos grandes silencios Between the two cosmic silences
……….de la tierra y el cielo, of heavens and earth
……….eternamente cara a cara, face to face, eternally
……….Adán enorme y solo se elevaba Raises Adan, enormous and alone
215…..mudo como una estatua, mute as a statue””
This, is becoming conscious; we severe ourselves, trough consciousness from the outside, through a powerful independence movement: “Non serviam….you mother…. nature”. Mutely. It should be pointed out that it is suggested that language is not a precondition to be conscious (Cristoff & Tononi, among others have written extensively about the physical underpinnings). Which Im not sure if it will stand the test of further work: in my rationale it is hard to imagine consciousness as I experience it without language. It is interesting to consider that speech->language emerged from selves networking. When Adan emerges from the clay, everything resolves unto itself, blessing him, later, with the meaning of the words that quicken his independence from the landscape. No longer humans are part of it. When Eve wakes up he tells her. A very unpopular event with feminists.
Later I quoted; “Original man, shouting his consonants, did so in yells of awe and anger at his tragic state, at his own self-awareness and at his own helplessness before the void…” Barnett Newman, 1947, The first man was an artist. The Tigers’ Eye. N.8. So, here we have the first H. sapiens waking up. And the convergence with Huidobros’ take is remarkable. It begs the question: could H.sapiens ancestors do the same manouver, that is, know they are and dont know where? I doubt it. Could H. habilis, erectus, heidelbergensis have sapiens consciousness? Probably not. The idea that self-awareness and consciousness are a quantum leap in human history, that is emerged with sapiens, is appealing to me. I cant imagine a lower-in height, not in quality_ consciousness “level” asking and feeling the same way. Although there is some conflicting reserch about this, it seems that you are conscious or not, which sounds kind of funky.