On the Plane of Self Consciousness - VI
Instincts which are both human and animal, as the sexual and the maternal, undoubtedly came down to man through long lines of descent and have been in possession of himself and his ancstors for millions of years; but the human moral nature, though it is rooted in and has grown from these, is of comparatively recent origin; It not only does not go back behind the birth of self consciousness, but it is certainly very much more recent than this.
Man, that is, Self Consciousness, as has been said, must have come into being some three hundred thousand years ago when the first Alalus Homo uttered the first true word. In the individual to-day man is born when the child becomes self conscious-at the average age of, say, three years.
Among the Indo-European races not more than about one individual (so-called idiot) in a thousand grows to maturity without attaining to Self Consciousness. Self Consciousness having appeared in an individual, is only lost in great and rare crises-as in the delirium of fever and in some forms of insanity, notably mania; on the other hand the human moral nature does not appear in the individual ( on the average) until say, half-way between three years old and maturity.
Instead of one or two in a house and, several times the same number in a hundred are born, grow up and die without a moral nature. Instead of being lost in great and rare crises it is constantly being temporarily lost. All these indications go to prove that the human moral nature is a much more recent birth of time than the human intellect, and that if we suppose the former to be anything like that age.
Reference: Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind: Richard Maurice Bucke
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