It is becoming increasingly obvious that the autonomic nervous system, as well as all other body systems, are under direct control of the unconscious mind as part of the intelligence system. It is also apparent that the conscious mind can at times be trained to take over direction of many processes and body functions that ordinarily are under control of the unconscious.
The limbic brain, which oversees the endocrine system, has also been shown to be intimately involved with the release of neuropeptide messenger molecules that generate our feelings and emotional responses. Paul MacLean, chief of the National Institute of Mental Health's laboratory of brain evolution and behavior, believes that the limbic system is our emotional brain and thus generates feelings in response to the environment which are both protective and aggrandizing, including the emotions of desire, anger, fear, sorrow, joy and affection.13...These feelings and all others are transmitted by various neuropeptide molecules which are the same neuropeptides that direct the movement of components of the immune, endocrine and autonomic nervous systems. The latter two systems plus the limbic system have all been shown to be involved in the expression of emotion, probably because the neuropeptides released by the limbic system affect the other organ systems simultaneously.14
Many animals have limbic brains, so that it is not reaching too far to suggest that perhaps they have much of this same capacity. Many animals certainly do display evidence of emotion. It would also seem reasonable to presume that human emotion had to undergo the same evolutionary process that other systems went through.
The phenomenon of consciousness needs to be included in the intelligence spectrum; however, there is certainly no lack of controversy as to how this should be done. Do only humans experience consciousness? Should primates be included? Or does consciousness extend farther down the evolutionary scale? There are proponents who would restrict the existence of consciousness to human experience, and there are others who would argue that all lifeforms have varying degrees of it. There are some who see consciousness as a basic property of matter and would maintain that it stretches all the way back through phylogenetic evolution and beyond.15...Others assert that consciousness is not inherent in all matter but is actually a fundamental property of all living tissue.16...Darwin would be included in this group. Still others link the beginning of consciousness to the appearance of associative memory and learning.17...Once an animal is able to modify its behavior on the basis of its experience, it must be having an experience; therefore it must be conscious.18...Julian Jaynes would even place the origin of consciousness in man as late as the second millennium B.C.19
Hoimar v. Ditfurth has stated that unquestionably there are innumerable degrees of mind. This is apparent, both through evolutionary history and at the present time, in the experiential grids of so many species, each at a different level of development. These grids can be arranged in a finely gradated series so that they appear as a seamless continuity. Mind did not suddenly burst into the world, but evolved in a steady, slow, tortuous process. He believes that as matter evolved mind went through a process of increasingly more elaborate development.20
The concept of consciousness is an enormously complex subject and will be dealt with in a later section. Consciousness requires the existence of intelligence but the presence of intelligence does not necessarily require the existence of consciousness.
Self-consciousness in animals has been studied experimentally, and according to Gordon Gallup chimpanzees have been found to exhibit it. They can come to recognize themselves in mirrors, as well as recognize themselves as themselves.21
Whether consciousness is confined to higher animals or is inherent in all matter, non-living included, it probably follows a non-linear curve much like that for intelligence.
The concept that intelligence is manifested across a wide spectrum throughout the entire animal and plant kingdoms will be further illustrated in a later section. However, it should already be very apparent that intelligence operates at all levels of living tissue as reflected by molecular memory and extensive neuro-chemical communication.
Netscape CTRL + D
MAC Command + D
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