Philosophers and scientists struggle to pinpoint what exactly consciousness is.
At its core, consciousness is what allows us to be aware of our surroundings and our inner state.
The original function of consciousness was probably to direct a mobile self to a fresh supply of food.
Consciousness is dependent on vision. Vision adds context and depth to our world. It adds a new dimension to awareness.
The next step is to visualise food in its absence, so a self needs an inner representation of the world to remain focused on its food.
Memory helps to return to the food source after some distraction.
Some animals are capable of visualising a reward that exists in the future. For example, the scrub jays can hide food in a cache to retrieve at a later date. They can even rehide if they become aware that a potential thief has been watching them.
This means they can see the world from a different perspective. This ability to see yourself in the position of others is vital to outsmart a competitor or empathise with a hungry friend.
Language takes the ability to read minds to a new level. Words enable us to think about ourselves and our place in the world and even about consciousness.
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