The significance of self-consciousness
Without self-consciousness, the price of our life would not be much different from that of plants and animals. With self-consciousness, we merely cognize the existence of our inner being through the representation of our unchangeable characters and empirical grounds. One could obtain the learning experience empirically. But that could only broaden the empirical grounds on which our characters reacts so as to reflect into one’s willing. To me, the significance of self-consciousness therefore becomes a specious and ambiguous proposition that does not make any sense empirically. However, simply realizing this does not deter me from baffling into this trap all the time.
Empirically, everything makes perfect sense in the short run. I want to do A because I would like to achieve B. The reason I need to get B is because I like C … But people eventually follow the same path, and no one could avoid that, no matter if you are a 50 IQ Bushman in Kalahari desert or a super genius Ashkenazi Jew with an IQ of 190. The Bushman won’t think much metaphysically and the Ashkenazi Jew is not free of the manipulation of lust, hate, jealousy and compassion. The major difference being the variance in terms of the development of their civilization. If our mission is to expand and thrive our civilization, sustain it through generations, contribute greatly to the world so as to benefit others and make your name known for generations, I would rest my case here. This is usually the ultimate hypnosis for smart people in an advanced civilization. Complicated traditions, religions step in to reinforce this vision and prevent us from wandering off all the time. But the chaos of the post-rational stage convinces me that that ancient tradition of ours, is merely some good old indoctrination which no longer works nowadays. Then, what is the meaning of my self-consciousness? How could there be any missions of mine if it was set by some grounds? Schopenhauer might be right after all. We come to suffer, for we would always build our objectives based on some grounds. Once the significance of one’s being depends on the necessary grounds, you would always suffer when you haven’t achieved it. When you achieve it you must respond to other grounds, otherwise you would get trapped in boredom. This cycle continues until your self-consciousness diminishes according to the biological determinants…
Sometimes I think mankind should never develop metaphysics at all. Perhaps to live in a set-up realm without knowing its setup would satiate humans better. But unfortunately we are given the privilege to realize what it is.
Some random dabbling thoughts, in memory of my beloved grandmother and uncle.