So, you might ask, "What the hell does your name mean, Metacognizant?"

And here's your answer:

An ant, a tree, newborn child- none of these are sentient. They don't have an identity, don't recognize themselves as personalities distinct from any other. In other words, they aren't cognizant. A dolphin is cognizant. An ape is cognizant. Give it a mirror and it'll be amazed to see itself, not enraged/turned on to see a stranger. (How do they prove this? Recent experiments with dolphins had researchers mark a dolphin with ink, they give it a mirror. The dolphin twists and turns to examine the marked spot, showing it associates itself with the image it sees.)

I have no way of knowing, however, whether the above mentioned ape or dolphin knows how special it is in creation. Did Koko the gorilla knuckle-walk around the San Diego Zoo with her head up her ass, thrilled to be one of the few species in the place with a sense of self? (Incidentally, she died recently.) If she had, she would have been metacognizant, "beyond aware"- aware of her own awareness.

Most human beings acheive this state of being. All it takes is a summary comparision with a hydra to make a person notice his or her own consciousness, and once one has, and is aware of it, one is metacognizant. Of course, each additional "meta" conveys less and less meaning. There is a far greater gap between the non-cognizant slug and the cognizant human than there is between the cognizant young child and the metacognizant (hopefully) adult. And if, upon reading this write-up, you acheive meta-metacognizance: congratulations! you have made almost no mental upgrade at all.

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