I think the cognitive scientist Merlin Donald has the general right idea when he conceptualizes human evolution in terms of 3 phases (or phase shifts,
if you will):
He marks the emergence of the theoretic consciousness to around 2,500 years ago with the ancient Greeks, although its fair to say that these ideas,
inasmuch as they are said to have been brought into Greece by the philosopher Thales, probably originated in the middle east and Egypt, with a perhaps
extra distinctive influence from the hebrews, given their general deification of all of nature into God, and subject all things to an analysis of
"what is it really"?
Thales took these ideas and stripped them of its metaphysical-religious assumptions - as they appeared in the middle east - and began the process of
'secularization', as it were, where things can be spoken about as they are or as they appear, without any necessary commitment to ones thought being
''gold". Skepticism, in other words, is what Thales introduced - and what gifts it has brought to trhe Human species can be seen by the material
developments of our present say civilization.
Beating Out Mythological Consciousness
Of course, phase transitions, especially those which occur in evolution, are not linear processes in the least bit. With species, and with the
evoluion of any system - be it as body, or a society - it is always a population level event which determines how the process evolves.
So, consider the atoms in your body; they are typically are of a specific kind - nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, sulphur, magnesium, phosophorus; which
means life excludes the vast majority of atomas from its processes, but nevertheless, the estimate of 28 zeros worth of atoms in your body means that
your body is a monstrously complex system at the microscopic level - with atoms logically emerging, and then meeting with other atoms to form
super-structures that maintain their own higher mass and coherence, all the while interacting with other superstructures in ways, that, when you look
at it from a higher scale, appears to be a process guided by an even higher system level event - in this case, the cell.
Cells form tissues; tissues form organs; organs form organisms; and organisms are correlated to events and situations in the environment which they
are biodynamically tethered to like steel to a magnet. So when it comes to the dynamical coherence of any organism, Irv Dardik is absolutely right to
say that there is a "simulcausal" dynamic whereby a "carrier wave" pertinent to the organism as a whole entrauns or guides "inner waves" which
form and maintain themselves "bottom up", even as they dissipate into loss energy, and so, force the organism to reconstruct itself through eating.
Humans, on the other hand, have minds; and minds emerged through the bit-by-bit connections and tensions which emerged between animals which began to
represent the feeling needs of those they lived with, so that their own functional processes - such as hunting, eating, sleeping, defecating,
urinating, child-rearing, etc - basically anything of functional relevance to living - could be represented affectively in their consciousness, and
slowly but surely, those feeling-meanings became "mimetically" communicated as index signs pointing out something immediately present; after this,
symbolic thought emerged when the index could be arbitrarily 'formulated' as constituting something else i.e. this sound "means this"; symbol
always depends upon an index; which in turn requires an icon or quality in reality from which it derives its meaning.
Right now, the transition out of mythological consciousness and into theoretical consciousness is playing out on the world stage between our various
elites. Us computer people do not have much of an influence; if you're not rich or from a promiment family in some respect, your vote is not as
significant as those who are. This is more or less the pattern in history, as recorded by Walter Scheidel in "The Great Leveler", elitism is a
characteristic feature of the mythological consciousness, simply because the dynamics of capital i.e. the desire to aqcuire and maintain one has
acquired - becomes an end in itself.
This delusional value which ultimately hurts the self which holds it cannot be unlearned, and so, the mythological consciousness is truly a
"consciousness based in an emergent mythology". Mythologies control minds because human beings which haven't discovered the power and sigificance
of scientific reasoning have no power to see their experiences and beliefs in light of a more true theory of how things work.
How does the mythological consciousness operate? Well, for one, there is this mindnumbing tendency not to "critique ones own beliefs", or to see the
self-serving nature of their beliefs, and not see anything existentially or ontologically errant in believing that humans are supposed to think or
feel those ways.
The person who has trouble appreciating my reasoning cannot seem to recognize the metaphorical power of their own life
experiences in projecting, or forming, certain ideas of life BEFORE they even begin their reasoning or rationalization processes.
So, what is a primary metaphor? "Survival of the fittest" is a major one - one which has afflicted the upper-classes since time immemorial. And what
is the beastial error in logic, the fallacy they succumb to? The idea that because evil and injustice can be said to exist in nature, as for example,
any time we see some innocent young of a species become the meal of a predator, we look upon this in such a way as to think that this situation
applies equally to us.
But semiosis is what defines how an animal behaves: the crocodile gets no higher level pleasure in eating a baby duck. The alligator has no
"thoughts" about it; he simply is what he is: an effective killing machine. Look at the lamprey - that wormlike fish borrowing animal that hasn't
changed its form in 300 million years, simply because it is so effective doing what it does. Evolution only occurs when the niche-organism
relationship changes such that the niche no longer supports the need of the organism. Organism's can devolve or evolve, which means lose complexity
or gain in complexity, depending on the situation and the affordances it offers to the organism.
Thus, unlike the alligator, or lion, or snake, or fox - these creatures merely "express ideas"; as individual living beings, they cannot help but be
what they are.
Humans on the other hand are very meta-cognitively organized creature, where "knowing that we know" renders the quality of our knowing either
"coherent" or "incoherent" - and perhaps each side has its own ontological attractor, determined by the 'qualia' that the human becomes defined
In either case, theoretical consciousness - of which the above is an example of - does not fall for stories that the human mind tells itself,
primarily because as a scientific orientation, it is interested in objective causality - not what the subjective mind needs. In this sense, clinical
psychology and cognitive science have been deeply influenced by the ethological views of Tinbergen and Lorenz, who always seen behavior in terms of
how the organism computed threat and safety, as well as basic motivational "needs" as it relates to 'exploring' the world.