[ExI] will as essence

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 24 03:16:29 UTC 2007

--- Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:

> Especially since Benjamin Libet and others showed
> that the conscious 
> experience of willing an act lags by some 200 to 500
> millisecs the 
> brain's activation of the relevant volitional
> processes or "readiness 
> potential". Even granting that willing is a real
> experience, and 
> sometimes very vivid, it can't be "your essence"
> unless your essence 
> is to be a machine that only belatedly notices what
> it's up to. (Many 
> here would agree with that, of course.)

Unless your will originates in a future Everett branch
and retrocausally pulls your physical body into it.
Otherwise, I don't see how a belated-awareness-machine
could accomplish longterm tasks requiring telesis,
such as writing a novel, building a house, or painting
the Sistine Chapel. To me, the volition starts in the
envisioned future.

For example, let's say you are thirsty, then it is not
difficult to see that the future you that has slaked
its thirst on a tall frosty mug of ale might be
somehow signaling his satisfaction to your present
self. Happy future you may even be competing with
disgruntled future you for your present you's decision
as to whom to bring about. Or perhaps the future you
that did not get himself a tall frosty one is
signaling his regret to you synergistically with happy
future you's contentment.

My point being that in a four dimensional space-time
continuum a la Einstein, replete with bizarre effects
like consciousness, EPR, and spontaneous emergent
complexity, it is perfectly reasonable to think that a
system is able to signal itself backwards in time. It
makes it easy to find the most thermodynamically
stable state.

It violates no laws of physics, because it is not one
particle signaling another faster than light, it is
particles communicating with themselves over the time
dimension. String theory makes it easier envision as
the particles can be seen as strings with vibrational
modes in the time-dimension. There is no reason to
assume that vibrations along a string would favor one
direction over another.

Empirical evidence for this is shown by the Protein
Folding problem. Briefly this is a very old puzzle in
biochemistry as to how newly translated proteins are
able to fold so efficiently into their functional
forms. Several decades ago a noted biochemist
(Ramachandran?) demonstrated that the number of
possible configurations for the bond angles in any
moderate sized protein were so astronomically high
that even trying hundreds of configurations per
second, it would still take a protein molecule on
average billions of years to find the correct

Yet almost every time in the real world, it folds
nearly instaneously into the correct form. Like it
knows exactly what it is supposed to look like and
folds directly to that form. If the properly folded
protein is signaling back the correct configuration
backwards in time to its unfolded state, than this no
longer seems so mysterious. And no photons are needed
because the atoms are only "talking to themselves".

So have you gotten yourself that ale yet? :-)

Stuart LaForge
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu

"When an old man dies, an entire library is destroyed." - Ugandan proverb

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