The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

The Advent of the Brain: Encephalization

The history of the brain is the history of the nervous system. Multi-cellular organisms eventually developed the ability to control their cells. Each cell had its own internal mechanism of control, and somehow was capable of mediating with the other cells. The nervous system is made of cells that mediate the need of the cells of the body.

This function was evolutionarily useful and therefore persisted and evolved. It presumably evolved both in quantity and in quality: more and more nervous tissues would coordinate the movements of the organism, and more and more processing would be performed based on performance. Eventually the nervous system started building abstractions of controls, the equivalent of "representing" the body and its interaction with the environment. At this point it made sense that the nervous system became "headquartered" in one specific place, rather than being spread throughout the body.

"Encephalization" is the name given by the British neurologist John Hughlings Jackson to the process whereby the nervous system of living organisms grew in size and importance especially in the head. What used to be a distributed system of control then became a centralized system of control. In mammalians, more and more centralized tasks were created via the newly born cerebral cortex.

The modern brain was born.


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