We are governed by the same biochemical reactions as other animals are but we are different from other animals. Our difference with other animals is qualitative. Our differences are millions years apart. The difference is not due to the strength of our muscles or our bones. The difference is due to the “phase shift” our brains and minds have undergone during evolution. Many species, other than humans, dominate the Earth, number wise. They reproduce and mutate faster. They know the rules of traditional warfare. But they can never be seriously considered as human competitors.
Ernst Schumacher classified minerals, plants, animals, and humans on the basis of their ‘level of being’. If mineral is ‘m’, then plant is ‘m+x’, animal is ‘m+x+y’, and human is ‘m+x+y+z’. Here ‘x’ is ‘ontological discontinuity’ which transforms a non-living entity to a living one. ‘Consciousness’ is represented by ‘y’; animals are conscious because “they can be knocked unconscious”. “Man has power of life like the plant, power of consciousness like the animal, and evidently something more”. ‘z’ is that ‘something more’. Schumacher called it ‘self-awareness’ meaning “man not only is able to think but is able to be aware of his thinking”.