I once sat out in the open. All day, all night. Watched the sun rise and set everyday, from the same place everyday. Pondered. My existence. Why was I here? Am I alive? If I am, what does it mean? What do I do with it?
Some would argue that that just couldn’t be. That I was incapable of thought. That a consciousness cannot be associated with the likes of someone like me. I smiled, benignly. Precocious upstarts, with their science and everything. So sure of themselves. But I do have a mother and she loves me. I’m perhaps a bit like her, maybe an exact copy of her. Perhaps not born out of cellular mitosis, as you understand it, but then your understanding means very little to my being.
The monotony of my dwelling would be broken by the rain or the wind or the fire or the river or the glacier. The external forces would move me, change me and leave me at a new destination. I learnt a lot from the moves. It felt good to be moving, it felt even better than reaching an actual destination. I learnt to swim, I learnt to dance, I came to appreciate music.
Then a preposterous thought came to me. Why must I wait for the ground to part under my feet? Why cannot I break out on my own, whenever I choose? What would it be like to fly?
Hold on kid, said my mother. You have the right idea, but you must be patient. Let me walk you through it. Actually, first you must learn how to crawl.
And so it began. My training. A thought restricted to thought no more; action an integral part of it. Vast amount of resources were pressed into service, Electromechanical, Chemical, Biological. Kinematics and Kinetics. Replication and Double Helices. Atoms and Molecules and even tinier particles you’ve invented so that they can be neatly categorized. As if. Mere tools, mere means, mere hypothesis, to explain my purpose, my journey. But all I really wanted to do was to fly.
And One Day I became aware. Of Me. Sentient. But that was a rather insignificant change. Just feedback added to my ever increasing arsenal. I was always me before I became aware of me.