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Olympiano t1_j1z2vms wrote

I think what drives it is that discovery and striving to understand things feels good, or is rewarding in some manner. I guess it’s a result of evolution reinforcing this as well as our intelligence and the ability to reason abstractly, and when they come together, we wander into strange territory and begin to examine ourselves as well as the world.

I have heard a theory that our self-awareness is not even necessary for what we have achieved as a species though, and that it’s simply an incidental byproduct of the development of our intelligence. Some things just evolve incidentally without necessarily conferring a benefit in itself. So maybe the level of abstraction we’ve reached where we are self-aware is just… an accident of evolution. Maybe it’s possible for humanity to have done just as much but not possess this extra ability.