One of the most significant stumbling blocks in almost all explanations of consciousness is that they focus on the wrong thing. The consciousness we most often talk about is trivial in terms of understanding the facility of the mind. In addition to this ordinary human consciousness, people also occasionally experience so-called animal consciousness. Animal consciousness emerges, for example, in the context of so-called mystical experiences. We cannot explain human consciousness without animal consciousness. Despite its rarity, the mystical experience turns the idea of consciousness entirely on its head. In general, the description of the human mind is based on so-called essentialism. In it, human minds have the built-in essence that makes them what they are. Therefore, we believe that we must explain human cognition based on the qualities manifested in it. However, it is the missing quality that explains why the mind works the way it does. Next, I will try to clarify what should happen to the human psyche as he grows up and explains the essence of consciousness familiar to us.
Every child has the ability and passion for learning for herself the nature around her, but adults abuse this skill by forcing them to adapt to adults’ highly distorted and theoretical worldview.
Childhood runs on autopilot
Consciousness is considered one of the greatest human mysteries. The problematic nature of consciousness is mainly due to explaining consciousness as an advanced form of animal consciousness. However, studies of mystical consciousness suggest that such a perception is wrong. The differences between animal consciousness and human consciousness are not a matter of development but intended for different situations. Moreover, we cannot understand human consciousness without considering the differences between the consciousnesses of the child and adolescents. The child’s psyche runs on mental autopilot, and the child doesn’t question it. Thanks to that, children learn their environment quickly and safely. Learning is guided by many cognitive mechanisms, including, e.g., ties to parents, emotions, feelings, imagination, will, reason, memory, and heavily modified sensory experiences. Rapid learning is also possible because the child takes their environment for granted and does not question it. During adolescence, the mechanisms gradually begin to disengage. The world of the obvious disappears first. As a result, the child starts the so-called second questioning period (which practically never ends). The child questions the values of his parents and that they are entitled to be right. The other mental mechanisms should soon also disappear, indicating that the individual is finally an adult (and no longer “an individual”). However, this never happens.
The mental stagnation, aka being lost
The teen falls into darkness and feels unaware. Their instincts will never come to replace the lost autopilot. This uncertainty, which we later call consciousness or awareness, becomes the permanent state of the psyche. Despite its permanence, it is merely a state of transition and thus devoid of all the security and happiness we expect from life. The culmination of everything turns out to be a mere bubble.
In a way, consciousness can be considered one of the defects caused by the prolonged maturation of the human species. It is clear that nature did not mean the human consciousness permanent, but it is a mistake. The mistake is that the state of the psyche we know as everyday consciousness does not disappear, even if it should; I have also addressed this defect elsewhere on this site. It would be absurd to try to explain humans as peculiar beings by this faulty quality alone. Instead, we should understand that the autopilot has stopped working and that it should change to another mechanism, a critical part of which is instincts. And that one could be called animal consciousness. Other languages have their own words to describe the state of mind I call “animal consciousness”, but I shall use this as a general term for the phenomenon.
Please note that it is questionable whether animal consciousness can be called “consciousness” at all because, instead, it is a lack of consciousness. But since there are no standard terms, let it be called consciousness. In practice, however, animal consciousness lacks all the mechanisms by which a child built the safe world necessary for survival. After all, an adult does not even need such safety.
Consciousness is a childish feature
Although all human beings have state and creature consciousness (or animal consciousness), the latter rarely comes to the fore. It must be because humans have lost it at some point in their evolution. Animal consciousness remains hidden, but it nevertheless comes to the fore through rare and occasional mystical experiences. We know that the connection between animals and mysticism has been understood for a long time and is evident in the traditions of many indigenous peoples. There is no need to repeat the examples here. Instead, the so-called civilized cultures have sought to eradicate this understanding by tidying up mysticism by removing the animal, raw, and childish foreign ingredients from it. By transforming animal nature into human nature, civilization has practically made mysticism incomprehensible.
Since state consciousness is just a mistake, all things of human interest are, of course, due to animal consciousness. Where state consciousness is just narrow and self-contained, animal consciousness in many ways knows no boundaries. Mystical experiences alone have shown that even our highest cultural creations, such as languages, are utterly useless in describing reality. Animal consciousness escapes all attempts at explanation. It is essential to understand that the purpose of children’s psychic mechanisms is not to give an accurate picture of the world but to protect the child at the expense of distorting reality.
The “exploded view” of the mind. “Animal consciousness” should replace a set of different tools (know as “state consciousness”) designed to control sensory perceptions and transform them into an easy-to-understand form. Volition, cognition, and memory disappear when animal consciousness dominates the mind.
Mystical consciousness reaches out to the animal world
Animal consciousness should also be the actual mind of an adult, but in the case of modern humans, this is only partially realized (i.e. with mystics). The contents of animal consciousness are hard to formulate clearly, but we can still say something about it. W. T. Stace has described experiences from different times and different cultures in his book Mysticism and Philosophy. In this state, the mechanisms of consciousness, i.e., volition, cognition, and memory, cease to function. Now at the end of adolescence, they have accomplished their mission. Second, sensory-modifying mechanisms stop working, and sensory stimuli will be experienced directly and uncensored, or “as such”. At the same time, childhood hypersensitivity disappears and, for example, smell, taste and visual senses become sharper. Third, the tendency to perceive forms, shapes, and characters, such as recognizing faces, disappears. Also, the sequence of dots appears no longer as a line. Instead of the whole, the details look more attractive. Fourth, ethical or moral attitudes disappear, and previously dirty, ugly and broken things take on a strange, exciting and friendly character. A man also cuts relationships with parents. The consciousness that used to shape all these things has disappeared—so it has not changed or evolved; it has only fulfilled its mission.
Human consciousness, considered a particular hallmark of excellence and uniqueness, is a trivial and meaningless transition that in itself explains absolutely nothing about modern humans and their psyche. If we define man as a whole by an only passing property, it will inevitably skew the picture. No matter how unpleasant it may seem, we must see ourselves as mentally unfinished animals.