Nietzsche called consciousness our most fallible organ[i], yet despite its inaccuracies it is really the defining element in what it is to be human, and in its constant dialogue with the unconscious and its struggle to be conscious of the non-perceivable, consciousness embodies the amazing complexity of the condition of being human. Despite Nietzsche’s remark, we have no more prized possession and once it has been taught to work well and learned how to maintain itself in proper working order, there should be nothing more dear to us. It is the defining feature of the Homo Sapiens – I am because I know and I know because I’m consciousness – and yet, perhaps Nietzsche was right, as far as humanity as a whole goes, it is in a sad state of neglect, misused, often quite blatantly abused and fragrantly uncared for by most people.
For humanity to be honest with itself it must protect this human-defining power. Humanity needs to see itself more clearly for what it is – and we are essentially “Sapiens” the animal that knows. Sapiens needs to impose itself, above the term “humanity” itself, not as a new species but as a fulfilment of the potential it has always had, or, better said, as a commitment – perhaps for the first time really – toward fulfilling that potential of being truly conscious of the Universe.
[i] Friedrich Nietzsche, GENEALOGY OF MORALS, 2nd Essay, XVI)