I think, therefore I think I’m something special.
We imagine we’re somehow above everything, better than the rest of creation, ‘chosen’ in some inexplicable way, if not by God then by the universe that went to the trouble of building us from stardust.
Being special, we demand this, we want that, we deserve respect, love, success, and the rest.
Had we been around when Darwin’s ideas first appeared, we’d have been outraged by the notion that we could have evolved from apes.
Even now the fact that we’re fundamentally no different than other animals is artfully buried under our pretensions of civilized sophistication.
More than that, we think that by dressing up the same instincts, urges and bodily functions we share with other species, we become not just superior to them, but perceive ourselves as part of a different kind of reality where only we and our needs matter.
At best, the arrogance of this delusional elitist attitude becomes an instinctive urge to protect the things we depend on for our well-being – but only so we can plunder them more thoughtfully.
At worst our approach manifests as a godlike disregard for anything that isn’t useful to us. Even each other.
It took millions of years of evolution for us to become separate from our surroundings; to recognize that our senses were not the same as the physical environment that caused them.
Our senses now define us as individuals and give us our personal identity. But senses – along with the bodies and brains that go with them – were evolved by genes to ensure their own survival.
With our vain glimmering of awareness, we still imagine we are genes. With that comes the human delusion, built on the genetic survival instinct, that as the human manifestation of my genes, ‘I’ matter most.
It’s a conviction that naturally leads to the idea that we’re all separate units and simply co-exist in our own personal world of ‘me-ness’.
The closest we ever come to true unity is an illusion created by our own personal desires for ourselves as individuals.
Anything more profound that could transcend the ‘me-ness’ is practically metaphysical and incomprehensible to us, because our physical bodies and their demands trick us into believing physical sensations are the real raison d’etre for this whole charade.
As an entirely physical process, our genetic heritage actually contrives to keep us apart at the level that matters: the conscious one. That’s the one we need to work on.