This is spiritual science. Science can be very spiritual. About that
"consciousness" thing. About that thing we call "God." About that thing we call
"I." Humans are not alone in our capacity for self-awareness. We are part of a
larger family of self-aware social animals that includes elephants and dolphins.
This is a high definition excerpt from The Science Channel's "Through the
Wormhole with Morgan Freeman." (http://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-show...)
This six minute excerpt is from Season 5, Episode 1, "Is God an Alien Concept?"
This sequence takes us to a research program that studies how elephants behave
in front of a giant mirror. Many of the elephants quickly recognize that they
are seeing themselves and they move on to examining themselves and looking at
body parts they can't normally see. This suggests that they are self-aware in a
manner similar to humans. They have the capacity for understanding the concept
of the behavior of other elephants as being distinct from their own. They can
intelligently coordinate their behavior with other elephants in order to solve
problems and accomplish goals they know they are unable to do by themselves.
Perhaps other highly intelligent social creatures attempt to understand things
in terms of the intentionality of other beings, seen or unseen? It's built-in to
our biological capacity for reason as social creatures. The study of children
proves it. We are utilitarian storytellers first. It's built in to our
developing brain. Before we know better, we make up stories that explain things
as existing for the utility of humans. As children, we see things as having been
designed for our use. In the absence of knowledge, we think up purposes that
make sense and we go with them until we learn more. The truth comes later when
we can afford it, if at all. In the mean time, we confabulate in a way that
works for us. It's a mental shorthand to save us energy and time and to maximize
our usefulness to ourselves and others. The truth is very expensive in terms of
our survival needs. Quick and dirty social reasoning on the fly is more
evolutionarily advantageous. It's more useful in a pinch when ignorance reigns.