THE SOURCES OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN LANGUAGE
Here's another entry of mine on the website World Panthiesm:
Antony wrote: "the authors speculated that language probably arose for situations like hunters going out for the hunt, and coming back and telling the young or inexperienced the story of the hunt."
Antony, I like to take that discussion back further... to where language participated in the evolution of consciousness. I think language (thus consciousness) did evolve from two human functions—sex and work sounds, both vital to survival.
Years ago, when I was a teaching assistant, I came across the idea (50 years ago—don't remember from which book) that the sounds made by working people turned into language when the sound was associated with the work. Imagine that different sounds were forced from the men (and women) doing work—grunts and whooshes of various kinds. Eventually one more conscious member of the human species would summon another male to the kind of work that was associated with that grunt, wheeze or whoosh. The more facile the user of sounds the more he could use others to aid him. By being able to do that, his chances of survival would increase, consciousness be selected for and passed on. Another theory was that the imitation of animal sounds summoned others to the hunt for whatever sound he was imitating. Thus, a sound becomes associated with a specific animal and language facilitates the evolution of consciousness.
One idea about language I found for myself, but others, I'm sure, also know this... at some point during my days of the mutual seduction between the sexes that goes on and ends in the bedroom, I began to realize that it was not so much what I said as how I said it that ended up with coupling. The sound of my voice would change, soften and deepen, become less tense and more relaxed. So I tied that idea to the one I'd already heard about work. Soothing, comforting sounds led to sex and, eventually, one sound more than another, came to mean "let's do that sound, let's fuck!" Thus the four letter word came into existence and helped procreation and thus helped consciousness survive. I also know that perhaps humans listened to other species have sex and imitated those sounds to indicate a desire for sex.
Ain't love and work grand!? It may be no accident that Freud believed that if a person had love and work, that person was functioning okay.
By the way, this supports my idea that the so-called mysterious mind is just the brain listening to itself use words and rewatching images in a recursive fashion. I don't think the mind is as mysterious as some would have us believe.