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After having finished reading the Daniel
Dennett’s work, I would say that “From Bacteria to Bach and Back” is a slightly
annoying book. It is long and sometimes repetitive. However, underlying it all,
the book has a precise and interesting argument beneath all the chapters. The
main argument, also the most interesting thought and idea I encountered in the
book, is that mind and consciousness are no more and no less mysterious than
other natural phenomena, such as gravity or rainbow. Daniel Dennett attempts to
explain away the problem of consciousness, accusing us of being fallible to “Cartesian
gravity”. Concerning the so-called “Cartesian Wound”, the view that human
beings have an immaterial soul or mind distinct from the body, the author tries
to disarm the entire idea. He comes up with an thought of distinguishing
between a “manifest image” and a “scientific image” of nature. It is only in
terms of the former that we have difficulties with notions of purpose, agency,
mind, and consciousness. In addition, he says that consciousness could have
grown out of a purely mechanistic process – our life could not emerge entirely
at random, but from a somewhat regular system. Imagine the primeval soup, a bowl
with tides and currents, regular changes of temperatures and just all the right
and proper ingredients floating around. In an enclosed system like this, the
probability of proteins forming by chance increases and from that, the first
replicates could have been born.

Humans have limited thinking that our thoughts
arise out of our brains, but our brains are constructed for helping us as the
organisms to survive in the world. As a survival mechanism, socialization and
language for humans has proven extremely effective. Awareness has levels and
the ability to self-talk only can come after we learn to talk to others. Somehow,
in this process, consciousness emerges, but it is more than just our brains
that creates this, it is our surroundings and other humans. Consciousness is
something we share.

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