What consciousness seems to do is the following: it seems to be a way in which you can coordinate attention and other related abilities of awareness so as to optimise how insightfully you can make sense of your world. That’s why you need consciousness for complex problems that require insight, for situations that have a high degree of novelty or challenge in them. You can reduce consciousness when the problem has become very well defined for you.[iii]
the strangest and most wonderful constructions in the whole animal world are the amazing, intricate constructions made by the primate, Homo sapiens. Each normal individual of this species makes a self. Out of its brain it spins a web of words and deeds, and, like the other creatures, it doesn’t have to know what it’s doing; it just does it. This web protects it, just like the snail’s shell, and provides it a livelihood, just like the spider’s web, and advances its prospects for sex, just like the bowerbird’s bower.
And so the cake increased; but to what end was not clearly contemplated. Individuals would be exhorted not so much to abstain as to defer, and to cultivate the pleasures of security and anticipation. Saving was for old age or for your children; but this was only in theory – the virtue of the cake was that it was never to be consumed, neither by you nor by your children after you.[vi]