[ExI] Bringing new life to dead matter

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Sun May 27 02:30:39 UTC 2012

----- Original Message -----
> From: Kelly Anderson <kellycoinguy at gmail.com>
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Cc: 
> Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2012 12:54 PM
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Bringing new life to dead matter
> On Fri, May 25, 2012 at 4:09 PM, Will Steinberg
> <steinberg.will at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Yes, I think consciousness needs redefinition somehow.
> OK, if you want to redefine it, then I suppose my bedroom slippers are
> conscious too. :-)

At the very least, your slippers seem to remember they are slippers rather than amourphous fuzzy blobs. Will's point is that unless you are willing to believe that there is a *qualitative* difference between living and non-living matter, then all differences must necessarily be quantitative in nature and involving the interplay between energy and entropy. So unless you have a soul, your slippers are less conscious than you, but still conscious.  
>> I think the insane
>> force of my conscious perception is not really related to my intelligence 
> or
>> the complexity of my thoughts but of a simpler, universal standard of how
>> energy and information are transmuted and encoded between various systems.
> And your evidence for this is...
>> The human brain is more conscious only in that it contains many learned
>> universal facts in it.  We acquire these by observing cause-and-effect
>> scenarios--physical and chemical reactions.  We are more noticeably
>> conscious because we have memories of these reactions.  I think your
>> pancreas is as conscious as the information it needs to process.  In 
> essence
>> I am saying there is no seat of consciousness, only an emergent, 
> holographic
>> pattern, called the "self" that the brain develops to cope with 
> the insane
>> amount of data it receives, and that a pancreas has some confusing
>> pancreatic form of perception and no overarching data management system, so
>> it perceives selflessly as part of universal conscious force.
> How do you "perceive" if you are a pancreas? I must admit that I find
> your understanding of consciousness to be very foreign from mine.

The pancreas percieves your other organs and thus its "world" chemically. The pancreas thus is able to know when you have just eaten so it can squirt digestive enzymes into your intestines.
>> I think the self develops out of "oceanic consciousness" as a 
> platform to
>> understand language and culture.
> So if a pancreas doesn't understand language and culture, then is it
> conscious? I think that at a minimum consciousness would involve
> communicating with similar creatures. Thus dogs and cats are
> conscious. Ants might be conscious, but perhaps less so. It's probably
> a continuum. But the earth doesn't "communicate" with any other
> planets, does it?

If you define communication as "influencing from afar" then yes, the earth does communicate with everything else in space-time by curving space-time. Similarly in quantum mechanics, every particle-wave influences every other particle-wave at FTL speeds no less. If you are a many-worlder than every particle in every possible universe is described by one gigantic unitary wave function.

Therefore there is no evidentiary contradiction to the mystic idea of the fundamental unity of all things. Every atom might have an "atom's worth" of consciousness capable of making decisions that in essence determine when and where that atom manifests or decays into a different atom. The idea is called panpsychism and is very difficult to rule out scientifically.

Stuart LaForge
"Man is a strange animal, he doesn't like to read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it."  -Adlai Stevenson

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