The Neo-Darwinian theory holds that a process of natural selection sifted through a huge genetic pool of slightly variable traits and eventually complex social behavior and the capacity to learn emerged in higher species. Driving this evolutionary process is said to be the need, or “urge” of genes to replicate. In the Neo-Darwinian model individuals are seen as self-contained vehicles of genetic selection as well as self-contained agencies of intelligence.
Whereas in my reading of animal behavior, emotion, the deepest aspect of consciousness, exists as a state of attraction. There are not many emotions, there is only one, attraction. This is universal to all life forms. It is a core aptitude within all forms of life and this unites nature into one contiguous whole via their behavior.
A "complex" state of attraction (i.e. that which crystallizes around the form of a thing) is created by virtue of the phenomenon of emotional projection wherein the subject “projects” its sense of its physical center of gravity onto an object. This capacity evolved from the oldest relationship between organisms, the predator relative to prey dynamic. The predator projects through an emotional calculus where the prey’s physical center-of-gravity is going to be, and meanwhile the prey projects through an emotional calculus where the predator’s physical center-of-gravity is going to be. If the predator can place its physical center of gravity at a point of intersection with the prey’s physical center of gravity, then it can enjoy a meal. Whereas if the prey can place its physical center of gravity beyond this point of intersection, then it can enjoy not being a meal. (For the purpose of clarity it might prove helpful to substitute the term subject for the individual that projects its p-cog, and object for that which is being projected into. Therefore the predator is object to the prey just as the prey is object to the predator in a mutually reciprocating interface of consciousness.) Emotional projection is the basis of all relationships and learning. When a subject lizard sees another lizard move, the subject feels a corresponding movement within itself. Its mind evolves accordingly.
“Now that scientists have gotten better at designing experiments for reptiles, they are uncovering all kinds of surprising abilities. Some of the most intriguing work involves social learning. The conventional wisdom is that because reptiles are largely solitary, asocial creatures, they are incapable of learning through observation.”
If indeed the predator and prey relationship is the oldest interconnection between organisms, it is therefore logical that all communication, learning and relationships that have subsequently evolved within and between organisms are predicated on this template rather than the current Neo-Darwinian view that cognitive processes emerged whole cloth from the substrate, and can thus exist and function in a manner unrelated to the substrate. Insects, fish, birds, reptiles and mammals all have emotional projection in common, as this is their means of moving their bodies forward in time and space. This is not learning by imitation or a cognitive process in any way which is why as a basic template it runs consistently through the lower and higher forms of life.
Emotion subscribes to principles of energy, it is how consciousness interfaces with nature so that evolution occurs according to the Constructal law, i.e. to import objects of attraction into the configuration in order to improve ease of access to an underlying flow.