Our lives are governed by many of the same primeval forces that direct the actions of lesser animals. Millions of years of natural selection have furnished us with an array of survival strategies ñ giving us the ability to take in information from the outside world make decisions about the sorts of actions we should take. Many of these survival systems operate on a subconscious (or pre-conscious) level. When the body is dehydrated, the brain triggers the affective state of thirst to direct the individual to seek out water. For the most part the individual pays little regard to the actual cause of the impulse, in this case dehydration rather they are directed towards a certain course of action by the brain, almost as if by remote control. This is true not only for basic survival urges such as hunger, thirst and sexual reproduction, but for more subtle and complex social interactions as well. Our brains monitor and record our relationships with other people and so modify our behaviour towards them. Friendships are built upon the notion of social reciprocation; you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Whilst this may seem like an attempt to reduce such notions as loyalty, camaraderie and respect down to calculated Machiavellian plotting, this is not the case for much like the thirst that drives us to seek out water, the feelings of warmth we have towards our social companions are very real indeed.
This much we have in common with many members of the animal kingdom, in varying degrees. From the basic survival drives present in all animals to the complex social networking of the great apes. What sets us apart as humans is not our ability to make informed choices, but degree to which we can determine the wider implications of these choices.
This brings us to the Christian moral concept of sin. Now clearly, no animal is capable of sin, since they do not have the knowledge of Good and Evil that we as humans possess. Good and Evil are abstract concepts that stem from our capacity for higher thought. Many animals kill either for food or territory etc., but only a human being can commit an act of murder. Other animals exist in a state of purity, of innocence, they simply act mechanically according to instinct and cannot be considered guilty for their actions any more than an earthquake is guilty for the devastation it wreaks. We on the other hand are aware of the devastation we cause, and so we alone are responsible for what comes of our actions.
The vast majority of the human population goes about its business with little awareness or regard for their place within the world. They react according to the problems life poses to them on a day by day, year by year basis. They accept the information the world throws at them unquestioningly, subconsciously submitting themselves to some outside authority the church, the government, society, friends, family, the media and so on. By acting upon the dictates of others, they free themselves of having to make their own decisions.
As we seek to expand our awareness and understanding of the universe, so too must we accept the greater burden of responsibility. In knowing the reality of a situation we have no choice but to act for once learned, a truth cannot be unlearned, to do nothing is still an action, a choice.
To seek to become as a god is to accept that the full weight of existence once conveniently shouldered by an external authority, be it God or Government, lies squarely upon your own shoulders. For better or worse, your choices create the world in which you live.
I am just a monkey on a davenport in his living room. You can make me anything else you want.