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Consciousness

Discussion in 'Nerd Out Zone' started by PsychoticLeprechaun, May 24, 2016.

  1. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    So, I wrote an insanely long essay for the video embedded below:



    I've decided to embed the essay below for your delight, and hopefully to spark a discussion if anyone is interested. (I decided to procrastinate for half an hour from my revision.)

    Stupid Long Essay on Consciousness

    In pretty much every video on YouTube discussing this, and all their respective comment sections, you see this discussion of (transporter) teleportation being a one-way ticket to death and replicating of oneself. With people then trying to argue back and forth about whether the reconstruction shares some metaphysical link to the original, and if oneself is indeed dead.

    This obviously leads to mundane semantic arguments that really don't help the conversation whatsoever. It seems much more reasonable to dive a bit lower down, and discuss whether death is a meaningful thing. Obviously at the social-scale there is meaning to it, but who cares about wishy-washy things like that - that meaning is still entirely tied up in the semantics of death.

    No, what is more interesting to me is: what even is "I"? Plenty of philosophers have debated this, and I am near completely uninformed on who has said what, but no doubt my own opinions are formed somewhat on the shoulders of their first thoughts on the matter.

    There is this self, the thing that is conscious, and we don't attribute such a self to many processing or data storage devices - just the more intelligent squishies really. We like to think of this self as something continuous (differentiable in time) and somehow having time-independent components - such that it somehow has a metaphysical link (nothing physical is independent of time in reality!) tying up all the points in time it exists. But yet, if we were to create a wormhole that could take oneself to a point in time in which oneself - younger or older - existed, what link is there really? The only link that can be truly made is that this younger or older self has the unique property of - except for some changes in state - having a very strong correlation in how it processes information. But yet, this correlation is the same one we could apply to two factory-default phones, for example.

    [This point is inspired by the Integrated Information Theory - which proposes a quantification of consciousness based on density of information and integration of information (i.e. that the information cannot be reduced to individual components). This thought ties in very strongly to chaos theory, which has similar requirements for chaos to be seen - and in both cases experimentally we see common properties between phenomena in brains and in chaotic systems.]

    So what does all this mean? Well, it means that the least presumptuous opinion to have on consciousness and the self, is that from one infinitesimal slice of time to the next the only thing linking the self between frames is that the state in one frame is dependent on the previous and thus if one can make a perfect copy of a self (i.e. transporter teleportation) there is no more or less reason to attribute the copy as the continuation of the original as the original itself in the frame in which the copy is made.

    Except, that intuition says that not just our self-state but also position in spacetime should also be differentiable (i.e. have no discontinuities). Now that of course goes back into semantic arguments and for the above, it is assumed that the self is taken independently from its spacetime coordinates.

    This way of thinking about oneself leads to a realisation that really we don't have any ties to our past self even in the instant in time prior to the most current self-state except those made by society (due to the likelihood of changes in oneself being insufficient to drastically change actions - hence why we have the saying "born again" and "start a new life" for people who intend to drastically change their self). This way of thinking not only fits in much better with the physical phenomena we see in experimentation but also lends much more reasonable flexibility to actions that can be taken without worrying about a concept (death) that is defined in intuition and society and doesn't necessarily have accurate bearings on physical reality.

    Thus if the evidence continues to bear out in support of the above: it isn't any more than the arbitrarily socially-defined death that occurs in transporter teleportation. So take that and decide if you fear such a death enough to miss out on living the life of a Starfleet Officer!
    PsychoticLeprechaun, May 24, 2016
    Last edited by PsychoticLeprechaun; at May 24, 2016
    #1
    TYHENDER and joppiesaus like this.
  2. Potatocat

    Potatocat Back Into Space

    • Member
    Oh my god!
    I'm going to cry.
    TYHENDER likes this.
  3. Potatocat

    Potatocat Back Into Space

    • Member
    I've been thinking about this, and I'm still on the edge. I couldn't live with killing myself over and over, and it'd be hard to accept someone close who used transporter teleportation as the same person.
  4. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    Oh of course! I wrote that and even I have a primal fear to the idea of being disassembled and reassembled elsewhere. That said, this fear comes out of nothing more than a convenient shortcut in evolution and society for defining death. If we slowly shifted how we view death to something like this, the first children brought up only experiencing that way of thinking would be capable of doing so much more than we can today without fear of something we arbitrarily defined to be something we should fear.
  5. Potatocat

    Potatocat Back Into Space

    • Member
    If we could bring people back, then things may be different. We would /have/ to send people to other planets for lack of space, and the wait to reach other solar systems wouldn't matter because I'm certain we would simply store our data in some harddrive, then automate the reassembly process. The life sentence would have a whole new meaning, and so would the death sentence.
    Potatocat, May 25, 2016
    Last edited by Potatocat; at May 25, 2016
    #5
  6. Potatocat

    Potatocat Back Into Space

    • Member
    Also, when were you planning on revising? Lol. It's good, the topics are good, just needs to be a little more organized. (Not trying to be a moldy potato, just being honest)

    It feels like you're writing hastily, and it feels like you plan to do big revisions.
    There are many questions you ask that make points but should be stated rather than asked.
    The parentheses and phrases within don't always make sense.
    Other than such, very good points, easy to tell you know much about this.
    Last edited: May 25, 2016
    Potatocat, May 25, 2016
    Last edited by Potatocat; at May 25, 2016
    #6
  7. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    Oh, lol. I meant exam revision! I had an exam the next day but was bored of revising for it - needed a break.

    Yeah, I tend to write in ways that are quite dense. I may improve how the post reads at some point, but if I did that for every post I write of this length, I'd be at it for days! :p
    Potatocat likes this.
  8. Potatocat

    Potatocat Back Into Space

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    Lol I know what you mean!
    PsychoticLeprechaun likes this.
  9. TYHENDER

    TYHENDER Industrial Re-revolutionist

    You yourself is a brain. Just a physical object.
    Brain dies , you die. But what`s then? Well then nothing. WE can`t imagine this. That`s why we probably have religions.
    I`m christian,but i`m so tired of thought that`s afterlife is just a myth.
    Going to play some :soa: to think about this.
    (Sorry for bad English, I`m from Ukraine)
    TYHENDER, Jun 4, 2016
    Last edited by TYHENDER; at Jun 4, 2016
    #9
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  10. joppiesaus

    joppiesaus Infamous Space-Octopus

    • Member
    Ok I'm reading this but my mind cannot handle this right now, maybe another time.

    The human brain has always fascinated me. When I realized things like consciousness I realized how much I don't know.

    The thing that's really on my mind right now is that you can perceive time, remind things, knowing that you have experienced something in the past, but you can't remember it, having dreams, having feelings, but can't remember them.
    aasdfasdfasdf
  11. Sevio

    Sevio Back Into Space

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    So if we accept this way of viewing the consciousness, how should we view the occasional transporter accidents that happen in the Star Trek series that create an identical copy of a person? Its normal use is to scan a person, disassemble them and reassemble them exactly elsewhere using matter-energy conversion. But if you have enough spare energy, a transporter can also scan and assemble a new copy of the same person. (who, due to being in slightly different circumstances than the original will eventually diverge to being a different person)

    And while it's always portrayed as an unintended accident or side effect, surely someone somewhere in this star trek universe would find a reason to intentionally duplicate a person, or themselves. Recovery from an attempt at assassination for a Federation President, to give just one example, or a way for an evil overlord to be in multiple places at once, like Ba'al towards the end of Stargate SG-1. (his usage of cloning to do the same is a bit far-fetched since clones need time to grow up and they don't come with all the original's knowledge pre-installed)
  12. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    This is why I like this materialistic-to-the-end view of consciousness: it's as simple as saying at the precise point of duplication the two entities are identical, but the next instant they consume different information and so develop different memories and brain states. Thus for all realistic considerations you now have two separate people. The key part is that there is no time-independent link between these two different states and previous states, so there is no way to say one is the original person and one isn't even if intuitively there is.

    I kinda like the idea of a Git of consciousness - but the reasoning definitely needs to be beaten into shape to make sure it can hold its own. :p

    Edit: I don't think Ba'al really counts, like you say he was cloning not duplicating. Trek definitely is a good testing grounds for thought experiments regarding this sort of thing though.
    PsychoticLeprechaun, Jun 20, 2016
    Last edited by PsychoticLeprechaun; at Jun 20, 2016
    #12
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  13. Sevio

    Sevio Back Into Space

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    You're right Ba'al doesn't count for the consciousness experiment as he was using cloning, I was just using him as an example of how an Evil Overlord (tm) from Trek might find a reason to make copies of himself with the transporter. :) It would happen eventually despite the Federation's best attempts to prevent it, and other empires (the romulans?) might not have principal objections to people-duplication, so I think it is definitely worth exploring if any new Trek series shows up :)
    Sevio, Jun 21, 2016
    Last edited by Sevio; at Jun 21, 2016
    #13
  14. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    There is a new Star Trek series upcoming! :D

    I really hope they do explore this now, though if I remember rightly, the precedent was that cloning makes a different kind of person, in that they have the same appearance but different behaviour? Though I guess the reasoning may have been that it was a flawed duplication given full disassembly didn't happen.
  15. TYHENDER

    TYHENDER Industrial Re-revolutionist

    Oh crap,i feel so stupid that i can`t even read this.
  16. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    Don't worry, philosophy of consciousness is one of those things that the more you read the worse you feel - never starting down that path is a good way to stop yourself having an existential crisis! :p
  17. TYHENDER

    TYHENDER Industrial Re-revolutionist

    If i can`t read this,it doesn`t mean i can`t think about that. ._.
    joppiesaus likes this.
  18. joppiesaus

    joppiesaus Infamous Space-Octopus

    • Member
    For me, I was living a fairly happy life, until one day my own consciousness ruined it all. I realized that I am one day going to die, and that it all wouldn't matter in the end - and all the stuff with it. Everything that was absolutely certain in my life, was no longer certain. I felt like I was falling into a great, cold abyss. I spent days crying, feeling unimaginably scared for death, like the time when I was really young and really sick. My heartbeat was way higher then normal. I felt like my thoughts were going in circles, and the feelings getting stronger and stronger every time.

    It also felt very soothing at times, too. And I could finally understand the movie "Melancholia" now!

    At the moment, I sometimes feel like as if before it happened, thinking and feeling the same things. Sometimes. Good thing is you can build very well on things that are destroyed. Adventure is ahead. I think I have turned into a nihilist - maybe. Not sure. But I can be happy in more ways then before. I'm still not completely over the fear of death though, but it's getting better.
    Edit: Nope not a nihilist...?
    Also this is not necessarily about consciousness - rather about using consciousness to ruin yourself. Though, this applies for these kind of things with consciousness and stuff too.

    "Things are going to get unimaginably worse and they are never, ever, going to get better again!"

    I hope that this helps people.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
    joppiesaus, Jul 8, 2016
    Last edited by joppiesaus; at Jul 24, 2016
    #18
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  19. NeonSturm

    NeonSturm Back Into Space

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    Related: Cloning vs Duplicating. Cloning as Duplication. The Soul. The Self. The "Brain as a Machine".
    If there is something like a soul, it might happen that clones share thoughts like if their brains were connected (related: quantum-entanglement, multidimensional objects with time as a dimension).

    I think to solve the issue, we need to sort things out first:
    1. Is 1900 and 2016 connected with a "string"? Can this "string" be broken? Does a soul exist?
    2. If a soul does not exist, what does us make think we have a Soul?
    3. Can you duplicate things if they are in a different time or location? Maybe time and location alone make things unique.

    1. Space-time-dimensional connections, we can't answer that so just assume Yes|No and let's move on (or explore both ways simultaneously).

    2. The Soul.
    Recently I've read articles about brain-cancers and how neurons move to the place where they are needed. This is controlled by a genetic task-scheduler.
    And I've collected ideas about the interactions of consciousness and subconsciousness.

    If you program a chat-bot and try to only act like the program you used for the chat-bot, are you still influenced by the subconsciousness and how much?
    I think the subconsciousness pre-loads concepts for your consciousness. Your consciousness finds these and take the first with which it is satisfied.
    This even if you can see what made you think X and if something has affected your opinion on X, you are defined by what you do NOT see.

    I guess, the genetic task-scheduler which affects your memory and talents, the emotions and the subconsciousness together may be evasive enough to understanding that it's summed up into Soul.

    3. Radiation penetrates through a lot of things we see as obstacles. It may influence us in unexpected ways and radiation is different. Even some random Neutrino or may kick an atom in our Neurons or perhaps Gravitation fields from the moon slow down one Neuron-Neuron connection to alter the order of thoughts.

    I don't know if something like this is happening a lot, but it's worth a thought.
  20. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    I have a theory, though it might be a bit wasted here.

    First, I'll need a bit of prep.

    We can visualise higher dimensions by sacrificing a lower dimension, or space in lower dimensions. A comic book sacrifices the second dimension (Y-axis) for the fourth ('Time'); each 'Frame' of the comic can be interpreted as a frame of time. The more space we sacrifice, the higher the resolution we get, but we cannot ever achieve full resolution in a finite space. Another example would be to represent a 3D object by slicing it thinly, and photographing the slices. The more thinly we slice, and the more photographs we take, the more accurate our interpretation of the object will be. But crucially, it will never, ever be fully accurate without infinite space.

    Alternatively, we can sacrifice an entire dimension to gain unlimited accuracy. Think back to the comic book. Imagine one frame of the comic; this is our entire, complete universe, in complete temporal standstill. Now, imagine that another frame is placed upon it, a moment more advanced in time. Imagine that this continues, a 'Comic loaf', if you will. The loaf can be sliced at any arbitrary point, and we can see exactly what transpired in the universe at that exact moment with as much accuracy as we may care to specify.

    Now, with that in mind, let us return to the comic book. Now, rather than there being only one frame that leads on from the last, imagine that there several, each based on a quantum dice roll; each time a particle behaves in accordance to non-deterministic effects, such as that described by quantum physics (I am well aware that most people who think they understand quantum physics do not, but I at least grasp the basic principle that subatomic particles behave in ways which are wholly unpredictable - we cannot predict what will happen with 100% certainty, such as with the behaviour of atomic decay, where the emission of particles is not predictable by any means). Each time this happens, it branches off into a new frame. For each moment of time there are a myriad of new frames, one for each time an 'Uncertain' event occurs. Most of these will be exactly alike, as the phenomena will do nothing, but over time, some will build up to cause a large impact on the world, be it via effecting a decision about doughnuts to suddenly rewriting the universe to one wherein everyone is Batman.

    Now that you have the visualisation, we shall try to extrapolate it for our world. Each frame of the comic is instead one moment of time in our universe, 1 planck unit of time. If it helps, imagine a diarama, like one might make for a science fair. Now, imagine a long line of these universes, each placed one after the other, with each time advancing very slightly. The difference between each frame is practically undetectable, of course. Now, we expand into the 5th dimension. As with the comic, imagine that there are several universes coming off of each, each representing another possible state for the universe to be in if certain quantum phenomena got a different roll of the dice. This is how our universe operates in 5D space. In theory, each frame could lead to any other. There is an incredibly minute chance that one frame will be dramatically different to the last. If it helps, you could do away with the fourth dimension and imagine a web of universe frames, each having a probability to leading to another. This is probably a much more realistic interpretation, and I've seriously rushed through it here.

    Now that that's out of the way, consciousness. This part is totally me. The last tracts were assembled out of evidence, thought experiments, and some others' material (I highly recommend '1, 2, 3... Infinity' by George Gamow). What follows is unfounded hypothesis, even more so than what came before, as hard to believe as that may be. Do not think I am trying to convince you of pseudo-mystic nonsense based on something quite solid I laid out before, in a vain trick to get you to conflate the relative validity of that with the relative absurdity of what shall come.

    Now, if you will, imagine that consciousness was not a result of our brains as we often thought but was instead what caused them. Our minds, our consciousness, is linked to our brains, and not the other way around. Our minds are like observers, and they inhabit the sixth dimension. What that consists of I cannot help you to grasp, as I personally cannot understand it, but I do understand this: A being in a dimension has full access to a lower one. We, in the third dimension, can view everything that happens in the second dimension, as we can see every part of a sheet of paper. Or, for that matter, a thread, representing the first dimension. Perhaps the beings are fifth dimensional, and that is why they are incapable of moving arbitrarily between frames. Perhaps they are fourth-dimensional, which is why they are beholden to probability as we are to time and to time's advance as we are futile to stop gravity from pulling us in the Z-axis. Perhaps, instead, they are third dimensional, and they are us.

    One way this may work is that the beings choose to observe and latch on to one human as we look at a sculpture. To them, we are but a humble curiosity, and they choose to watch as we are swept down the web of time. How do they watch? By lending us their minds, as we lend comic books our minds when we read. Essentially, their imagination brings us to life.

    Like I said, unfounded pseudo-mysticism. But I digress.

    One may ask how this solves anything; it is lazy theology to convince ourselves that we can simply claim that higher beings are supermen capable of anything we need them to conveniently be able to do at the time, but bear this in mind, even though I am literally saying just that - compare and contrast possible complexity of a 1D being to a 2D being. Compare and contrast possible complexity of a 2D being to a 3D being. The difference is exponential, and we're not talking some prissy squares here, because these are some real man's exponents. Who is to say that we could even begin to imagine what a 4D creature, let alone a 5D or 6D creature, could be capable of. The near-infinite web of universes, remember, takes up only a tiny portion of the 6D world, and the 6D hyper-beings look down at every possible iteration of our world at once as we look at a sheet of paper, or even a line. As much as it may sound like the ravings of a religious nutjob, only a fool would claim to know boundaries for these beings.

    There is, of course, no such thing as a '2D universe'. There is our universe. What exists is what we can see and detect. However, time is something very well within our vision, something we can probe and watch to find its boundaries and form, and probability is a little further off. But to think that consciousness is a higher-dimensional construct, in my opinion, may not be too far-fetched. Maybe I could touch this up and release it somewhere, proper.

    I realise that this is borderline spiritualism, and besides the visualisation segments, this is unproven and unprovable fantasy, speculation and hypothesis. But there is always a... Chance.

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