Re: Memory Merging Possible For Close Duplicates

From: Jeff L Jones (
Date: Tue Mar 11 2008 - 12:42:53 MDT

On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 9:18 PM, Lee Corbin <> wrote:
> Jeff writes
> > Lee wrote:
> >
> >> Anticipation is another matter entirely. I've given up now for
> >> over 20 years believing that a completely consistent account
> >> of anticipation can be formulated.
> >
> > I don't think anything in this thread is all that paradoxical.
> Right. As regards *anticipation*, not yet. I should dig up my old
> essay "The Anticipation Paradox" and post it. The bottom line
> is that there are TEs in which you have to look forward (or
> "anticipate") something that already happened to you.(!)

Anticipating something that already happened to you is definitely not
possible with my definition of anticipate. I think your problem may
be that you're using a poor definition of anticipate. The purpose of
anticipation is to prepare a current brain state to be able to respond
appropriately for some future change in that brain state (when it is
exposed to a new event and hence modified to become a new brain
state). The chain of cause and effect only goes from past to future.
With only a single branch, every current brain state can affect future
brain states but not past brain states. With mutliple branches (as in
the Many Worlds Interpretation, which I consider to be the best
current scientific model of the world) each brain state in the present
becomes multiple brain states in the future. But there is still
always a chain of cause and effect, but the arrows of causality form a
tree rather than a single line. Unless there is some kind of time
travel possible, you can never affect things in the past and therefore
there is no reason to anticipate anything in the past.

> Note how totally and completely different (and impossible so far
> as I know) for memory merging to plausibly take place between
> two actually different people.

I don't understand what you mean by "actually different", since in the
example you gave, you're merging two "actually different" people.
There's no such thing as two identical people, unless you're talking
about right at the single moment you copy someone. One millisecond
afterwards they are already two different people, with a different set
of memories and behavior. In your example, they would be very
different by the time they were merged again and probably completely
unmergable. Memory in humans is not stored at a single memory address
like it is in a desktop computer. When you're exposed to new
experiences, it recongifgures whole clusters of neurons and the
structure of your brain and the interconnections between lots of
different things change. It's highly sensitive to the order in which
you experience things, as new events will change the way you
understand past events, and sometimes even create false memories.
While I have no proof that it's impossible, I have a very hard time
imagining any plausible way you could accomplish such a merge. Maybe
you could do a very "dirty merge", but there would be a lot of
ambiguity and choices to be made about all of the conflicting neural
modifications that are present in both of the copies... it seems
guaranteed to cause massive psychological problems, even if the person
was similar enough that they had only been split for an hour or less.


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