Well, humans certainly are unique enough to ask the question and ponder the possibility of our uniqueness. Animals could care less about such philosophizing.
I was inspired to write this post from reading The Hannibal Blog entitled “How humans are (not) unique.”
Certainly, all living creatures are unique and fulfill unique roles in Nature’s economy. Many brain researchers currently state that most of the things we believed made us psychically unique have been observed in other species—such as aggression (and murder), empathy, pleasure anticipation, the Golden Rule and Theory of Mind.
Hmmm? Theory of Mind? Really?!!
It seems that our current Theory of Mind suggests that humans possess the same facilities as other species with the only difference being an added layer of complexity.
This seems odd because my studies into neuroscience suggest there is as yet no complete theory of human cognitive architecture. However, some pioneering researchers are beginning to suspect that brain complexity goes deeper than the substrate of neural (synaptic) pathways and that the neuron itself may have its own “nervous system.”
Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg beat everybody to the punch on this important topic of brain complexity! He was the first to put forward a neuron theory (brain cells and their connections) and formulate a multi-level theory of mind. His model of mind and consciousness was based on discoveries that led him to believe that the cognitive functions of sensing, imagining, reasoning, intuition and even spiritual experience were totally discrete operations and acted within their own structures (substrates). Each structure within this scaffolding and hierarchy of human consciousness possessed its own unique geometrical principle by which constraints of action were lawfully removed so that new powers of abstraction could be obtained from the sensory data of the circumfluent universe.
The difference between the complexity of animal minds and human minds is not continuous but discrete. In humans, there is no finite ratio between seeing physical objects, seeing mental ideas, and seeing (recognizing) “truth.” These distinct cognitive functions operate in different layers of the brain and neuron.
My upcoming book Proving God spends two chapters covering these new geometrical powers and the discrete qualities of different human cognitive functions, which rely on these forms (classical and non classical) of bio-structure.