The author, smiling winningly Scott Raymond home

Consciousness through society

22 Mar 2003

Steven Johnson wrote in Emergence about how humans developed conciousness, and one of the current ideas is that we first had to develop the ability to create “theories” of other people’s minds. That is, it’s possible for me to “put myself in your shoes” and imagine what is going on in your head — and it’s one of the most basic abilities that is required to be a social being. Certainly, the ability to create “theories of minds” was an evolutionary advantage, but it may also be that conciousness was a sort of happy side effect. Only once we are able to conceptualize the “other” may we begin to understand what we ourselves are. More on this later.