The Human Condition
what we are

We now know we are the product of some 4,000 million years of biological evolution, with life emerging some 11,000 million years after the ‘Big Bang’. Our evolution is part of a continuing cosmic process and if we seek to identify a function, an aim, for evolution, it can be only that of exploring, blindly, the possibilities of existence within the constraints of the physical/biological laws. We can note that the universe has no discernible purpose, and the human species no discernible value, other than that which we ourselves confer.

This evolutionary ‘exploration’ has been manifested in random genetic mutations which have allowed the different species to emerge, develop and change, and be tested for survival advantage. From this process evolving genes have produced the human brain and what we recognise as ‘consciousness’, culminating in species-specific cognitive processes and resultant behaviour. It would be wrong to think of ‘us’ on one hand and ‘it’, the rest of the cosmic process on the other, as separate entities. We are part of it and it is part of us.

We can note that the essential characteristic of biological evolution is the ability to survive and reproduce. This requires a successful encounter with the environment. For us this encounter has been aided by the emergence of a brain and senses capable of forming concepts, cognitive models, of ourselves and the external universe. It will be argued here that these innate cognitive processes are the source of necessary, given, a priori concepts which give rise to some universal species-specific beliefs.