It is nearly impossible to maintain complex social interactions with a dominant pheneomenal-consciousness. Reptiles are an example of p-consciousness dominant system because much of their behavior is controlled by unconsciousness pathways making them creatures that are highly behaviorally instinctual. Mammals in contrast, are able to exhibit a wide range of intentional behavior. Physically, it was evolutionary favorable for the brain to shift toward a predominant access-consciousness over a previously dominating phenomenal-consciousness.
I contend that social interaction created the necessary condition for evolution to favor a dominant a-consciousness. My hypothesis is that social pressures of maintaining group dynamics in the hominid linage gradually brought more information into awareness until a threshold was met and infinite enumeration was learned. This concept is the basis of iterations in tool making. The acquisition of this knowledge likely led to a change in the brains physical structure due to the brains malleability and neural plasticity. The knowledge of infinity also subsequently led to the great leap and modern human behavior without necessary requiring a gene mutation. This framework for enacting modern behavior also gives a reasonable explanation to why it took almost 150,000 years 1 for anatomically modern humans to become behaviorally modern. The similarity is echoed by studying trained chimps in captivity, where it seems brain capacity and learning abilities greatly exceed the behavioral tendencies seen in the wild. One of the contending theories on how modern behavior emerged is through a biological reorganization of the brain which led to natural languages. The other called the continuity hypothesis holds that modern behavior is not due to a genetic or biological change but instead from the gradual accumulation of knowledge 2. Even by contrasting these theories, it is still difficult to deduce whether the knowledge of infinity or concept that enumeration is indefinite caused a biological restructuring or if infinity was gradually understood which then finally unlocked the potential of the anatomically modern human brain. In either scenario though, the importance of the concept is highly likely to be the catalyst for our intelligence and rationality.
Human intelligence was achieved through evolution primarily for social reasons rather then ecological ones 2. In order for humans to maintain complex social groups the fundamental quality was morality, and similar notions of shared values within the group. Since these proto-humans had the evolutionary pressure to maintain large social groups they needed to increasingly become aware of more social stimuli and learn how to solidify their morally based judgments.
Early hominid cooperation and social interaction created the evolutionary path that led to our current human consciousness. The mechanism or “glue” that allowed social groups to be maintained was done through shared notions of morality. As hominids continued to evolve in complexity, the social interactions of these human ancestors led to goals for united survival which was exacted through shared notions of values and morality. We developed our theory of mind because sociality led humans to enact mutually beneficial behavior in order to maintain a united species. The social goal is for long term survivability accomplished through applying moral underpinnings to issues related to socialization. The human capacity for a theory of mind is pivotal because morality is contingent upon individuals understanding the emotions of another then simultaneously judging it upon a notion of group unity.
This is the evolutionary explanation for how we acquired our intelligence and is the reason why we live such rich social lives, evolution has given us grand skills for cooperation and it is undeniable that we achieve more as a species by cooperating.
Modern activity is attributed to burying the dead, beads, cave paintings, but the true origin of this behavior is counting and by understanding infinity the plasticity of the brain led to its application into all behavior including tool building.
1 McBrearty, Sally, and Alison S. Brooks. “The revolution that wasn’t: a new interpretation of the origin of modern human behavior.” Journal of human evolution 39.5 (2000): 453-563.
2 Mcdougall, Ian; Brown, FH; Fleagle, JG (2005). “Stratigraphic placement and age of modern humans from Kibish, Ethiopia”. Nature 433 (7027): 733–736. Bibcode 2005Natur.433..733M. doi:10.1038/nature03258. PMID 15716951.
3 Dunbar, R. I. M. “The social brain hypothesis and its implications for social evolution.” Annals of human biology 36.5 (2009): 562-572.