Thursday, 27 November 2014
My question is: how much complicated social behavior could be entirely unconscious and merely automatic? Imagine a planet where evolution has taken a different course. There are large, complex, sensitive, mobile, social organisms in which reflective self-consciousness has never emerged. The highest level of consciousness is mere sensation and I am trying to envisage a minimum even of that.
Such organisms would:
cooperate and specialize;
gather, hunt, cultivate, herd and fight;
build complex structures for shelter and other practical purposes;
communicate non-conceptually, i.e., exchange complex signals but not meaningful symbols.
They would therefore lack language, religion, myth, philosophy, science, inquiry, experiment, art and literature. Andersonian explorers would arrive, identify a dominant species and attempt contact but, after a while, would realize that there was "no one home."
How possible is this? Could the native structures initially be mistaken for a civilization?