There are some who say that consciousness is a curse, and in all honesty they are likely right. Consciousness it what causes us to suffer, its what causes us to be unhappy, or to over think things.
A sponge, for example, has no nervous system, and therefore no consciousness. A sponge does not feel pain, nor is it aware of its own existence. A sponge simply exists, and the sponge is indifferent to both its own existence and the world around it. Indeed, it seems that the more conscious an animal is – the more they suffer. Orca whales, for example, display a high level of consciousness and understanding when compared to other sea creatures, and this is likely the reason why Orca whales in captivity suffer from depression and other mental problems (unlike other captive sea creatures). Why do the captive Orca’s suffer? Because they are conscious of their captivity, of their current slavery, of their restricted world.
Humans seem to be very similar too – in that the more conscious a person is, the more they seem to suffer. Those who are ignorant live in bliss – with little concern for how meaningless and indifferent the world actually is. Yes, it is consciousness that makes us realize how trapped we are, how alone we are, how terrible we are, how unhappy we are, and how hopeless we are. Consciousness is what causes us to feel, to perceive, and to analyze. Consciousness is what causes us to search for answers that we will never be satisfied with. If we did not have consciousness then we would be like a sponge – existing yet indifferent. Unaware of the cruel universe and its indifference towards us.
Our consciousness may cause us to suffer, but this does not mean that we should try to subdue or lower our consciousness. We have consciousness, so we might as well use it. I mean, we have a great opportunity to analyze and contemplate the world around us in a way that other organisms cannot. Why waste this product of our evolution?