I: All Anyone Cares About is Consciousness

Published January 5, 2020, Page Last Modified June 27, 2023

[This is Part I of a two-part post. When you’re done, head over here.]

Whether you realize this or not, all anyone really cares about is consciousness.

Oh really? Do you think I care about consciousness? What I really care about is my family!

You care about your family because you want your family members to be healthy and happy and safe. You want them to have lives full of joy and free of suffering. You want the ‘feeling of what it is like to be them’ to be meaningful and worthwhile. That’s consciousness.

I don’t care about consciousness. I care about the environment!

You care about the environment because you want people and animals today and in the future to have air to breathe, water to drink, and a clean, pollution-free world to live in. Why? So that their conscious experiences are worthwhile. If I told you that we could magically save the environment, but only if we also gave untreatable clinical depression to every future person born, would you choose that future?

I don’t care about consciousness. Protecting human rights is way more important!

You care about human rights because rights protect people from coercion and cruel, painful conditions. You want their conscious experiences to be free from preventable and unnecessary suffering. Imagine that famine strikes a country where freedom of speech is restricted. As all citizens start to starve and feel pain from hunger, would you prioritize fighting for freedom of speech for the population or securing food for the population? Human rights are useful only in their ability to improve the conscious experiences of the humans that have them.

I don’t care about consciousness. I just care about making money!

You care about money because you can purchase things with money that make you feel a certain way. You care about your own conscious experience. If a genie could turn you into a billionaire but it would also come with life-long generalized anxiety order, would you do it?


Zuckerman, Andrew, "I: All Anyone Cares About is Consciousness", January 5, 2020, http://andzuck.com/blog/care/


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