“The Circus” PBS Documentary 2018 – Part II

WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHEN, AND …HOW ARE WE

Many feel that the need for interaction, and some basic understanding with awareness of the unseen spiritual world, is paramount to our very existence. A fellow anthropologist Jared Diamond won the Pulitzer Prize with his book by devoting decades of his career to study how the inequalities that exist on the small planet came about, and what forces were central to and dominated the various so-called periods and cycles during many so-called stages and ages of our relatively early development, here towards the end of sapiens’ first 2 million years.

His answer was simple, revealing, and believable. “Guns, Germs and Steel”…those were the game changers that enabled a small but growing hunter-gatherer community in Mesopotamia to become the first farmers and genetic manipulators of their space/time into being the “center of the world.”

It grew across the globe heading west…a latitude that farmers understood well on our “small” planet. It settled, grew fast and thrived, subsequently incubating into what we now call Europe and developed from basic centralized farming which enabled the mighty city and all that comes with it. Subsequently those ancestors developed more and powerful metals that, along with some significant catastrophic and fatal diseases, were used with weapons of destruction to enable what followed.

Fast forward to our world today…still reeling and recovering from centuries of world-changing conquests that shaped the countries and cultures throughout North/Central/South America, Africa, Australia, Europe initially, much of India, Indonesia, and major parts of the Middle East. Changing our genes and behaviors further changed our genes and behaviors…etc.

The rest of the species, besides our own, have still to pay the ultimate price of our quests for MORE. And, somewhere along the way, engineered by the likes of Charlie Darwin and his astute associates, our own slowly evolving/devolving species recognized that those other creatures, so long believed to be inferior products of natural selection, were indeed equal to or more evolved with unique conscious perceptions and awareness of the world surrounding us all.

And this concept, so agreed upon from imaging and field studies, that a substantial installment representing (arguably) the “finest minds” on this small planet at the University of Cambridge on July 7, 2012 summed up a short but powerful “Declaration on Consciousness”. (Read full document in Education Page)

The cognitive neuroscientist, neuropharmacologist, neurophysiologist, neuroanatomist and computational neuroscientist gathered “to reassess the neurobiological substrates of conscious experience and related behaviors in human and non-human animals.”

They found homologous brain circuits correlated with conscious experience and perceptions in both human and non-human animals. They also found “neural circuits supporting behavioral/electrophysiological states of attentiveness, sleep and decision-making spearing to have arisen in evolution as early as the invertebrate radiation, being evident in insects and cephalopod mollusks, e.g. octopus.”  

“Birds appear to offer, in their behavior, neurophysiology, and neuroanatomy a striking case of parallel evolution of consciousness. Evidence that human and non-human animal emotional feelings arise from homologous subcortical brain networks provide compelling evidence for evolutionarily shared primal affective qualia.”  

So what exactly are we saying here? “Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious state along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors.”

“Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates and generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”

So, where exactly does that leave us? If animals are not as we thought they were, now found to be most probably as conscious as we are, what have we done to them? And, if this be so, then who exactly are we and how are we to interface with these creatures far more like than unlike us…currently the dominant species today?

And lastly, how are we to think of ourselves after we have mistreated, mismanaged, and indeed tortured our kindred spirits? What can we do to rebalance and restore the relationship with all conscious beings around us, given the extent of distortion and distraction rendered to “them” in our ignorance?

What and how many species have been lost and are currently being lost, forever due to the senseless distortion of lives and habitat?

I propose a new spiritual paradigm, with which we align our bodies, minds, and souls, with other conscious, and evidently in many ways more spiritually evolved, so-called “animals” with whom we share the same space/time right now.  

Our dependence on animals is ubiquitous and absolute. Who actually can guess the last species to be made extinct that will tip the scale with critical mass thereby causing our species to disappear from an otherwise bright alternative future scene?

Can you guess or even feel the threat that looms ever closer as the killing continues? The eating of animals has been hardwired into our genetics for millennia. What is it about taking a life off the landscape that gives us such a rush, similar to the survival of a small band of hunter-gatherers back in the day?

Survival itself you feel very unconsciously…somewhere deep in a naturally selected slowly evolving part of our ever-changing brains.  Moving “right along” so it seems.

Next time with Earl E…aka “The Frog”

Are we as a species intelligent and evolved enough to understand and realize how we got here and what our level of awareness has been inherited from our ancestors, however different they might appear to us now?