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The socio-cultural matrix in which we find ourselves is not merely a by-product of our individually being conscious; it is in fact also, in a very definite sense, the source of that very consciousness we individually enjoy. Only humans born into a community of speakers become conscious, as we all are today. The consciousness we all take for granted is not encoded in our genes. True, it depends on the organism of our body for its basis, but we must each learn to use that organism in specific ways (which attend learning to speak, as it turns out) before we join the society of speakers into which we were born.

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