Re: physics of uploading minds

From: Jef Allbright (
Date: Tue Nov 01 2005 - 09:13:40 MST

> So yes, I agree that consciousness isn't a relevant criterion by which we
> should judge whether the true essence of "I am" was transferred during
> uploading. I lose and regain consciousness all the time but I remain the
> same day after day, year by year because I've never lost my original
> presence.

This kind of absolute belief in "the true essence of 'I am'", while
understandable, is at the root of the apparent paradoxes of
consciousness, qualia, subjectivity vs. objectivity, self-identity,
free-will -- impeding practical thinking on morality and effective
frameworks for positive-sum interaction (formerly conceived as

Worst of all, it leads to interminable circular arguments on the web. ;-)

There is no paradox when it is seen that the subjective POV is
entirely defined by its context within a coherent and ultimately
objective but unobtainable whole.

To see this does not diminish the subjective experience of self--with
its feelings, emotions, values and sense of direct and immediate
apprehension of "reality"--but actually enriches us with a broader
understanding and appreciation of the bigger picture. Such a view is
indeed foreign to us, in our parochial cocoons, with our culturally
reinforcing language and memes, and requires a metaphorical travel
"into the void", letting go of the conventional framework and "coming
out on the other side" to see that the world still holds together, but
in a more encompassing, more consistent way.

To see the world in this way is to recognize that our subjective
(increasingly intersubjective) values define our goals, and our
(increasingly objective) understanding of how the universe works
facilitates achievement of our goals. And this is the path to greater

- Jef

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