The first turn in experience was the turn to explicit or conscious perception. It emerged during deep history. The biblical story of the tree of knowledge and a myth of Prometheus have already illustrated this turn.

From information processing

The first experiential turn occurred in the Old Stone Age. This was the epoch of stone-tool-making cultures before the advent of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. For the survival of living beings, information processing is vital: they react to sensory input according to a stimulus-response scheme. The schema operates as implicit information processing, a process that operates without explicit, conscious awareness. The process is biologically inherited and sometimes further improved by learning.

to conscious perception

When consciousness intervenes, this sequence is interrupted, i.e. decoupled. Decoupling creates a pause that suspends the sequence of stimulus & response. With this new sequence, we go from perception via conscious awareness to a subsequent response.

However, consciousness is also a kind of searchlight that enables subjects to direct their focus also to things outside the immediate stimulus situation. This marks the transition from biological to cultural evolution. This transition becomes evident when the deliberate practice of tool production precedes the use of tools.


Continue with -> “Imagination”
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