Dear Chris,

I happen to be a believer in the observer-moment as fundamental, and the only thing one can be sure of from the first person perspective. "I think, therefore I am" is taking it too far in deducing the existence of an observer; "I think, therefore there is a thought" is all that I can be absolutely certain of. Having said that, however, I don't actually believe that my thoughts are all independent of each other. The simplest and most likely explanation is that my thoughts are generated by my brain in the usual manner. The point is that this is not *logically* necessary, and if we are talking about consciousness persisting over billions or trillions of years, the "usual manner" won't be the most practical.

Your second point is something I have often thought about. I am pretty sure that dogs experience observer-moments, but I am not sure that worms do; if they do, then maybe our present day computers are not far off from being conscious, unless there is some non-computational aspect of biological nervous systems that has so far remained obscure. I would class viruses as being on a par with inanimate objects as far as conscious experience is concerned, but who knows, maybe inanimate objects have a rich but utterly alien subjective life from which we are as completely excluded as if we were in separate universes.

--Stathis Papaioannou

Dear Stathis,
This was an interesting post. You're right in that, until quite
recently, we've understood the world only as well as we've needed to, in
order to survive. But if you believe, as some people on this list do, that
instantaneous 'observer moments' are the only fundamentally real objects in
the universe, (and that the reasoning, 'I think therefore I am' runs
primarily in that direction) then it is the logical struture of our
thopughts that is at each moment retrospectively generating a history in
which there evolved a creature intelligient enough to think them. From this
perspective, there is then a difference when someone becomes too mentally
disfunctional to survive by themselves; then their incoherent patterns of
thought will have to go one better and retrospectively generate a history in
which a successful species evolved, of which they are a defective variant
(we might all belong in this category, and keep each other sane..)
But really, here we have to be more specific about what constitutes an
observer moment, and what does not. Do dogs, worms, viruses have observer
moments, or did they just coevolve in the history we might claim to have
created by thinking and being? I would suggest that they are as real as we
are, and that human consciousness is only distinguished from the animal sort
in matters of quantity and capacity, and believe that the sorts of thoughts
thatcan be taken as the fundamental objects of the universe are those that
appear in the context of an organism successful response to its surrounding
environment. This could be seen as a compromise between taking thoughts as
fundamental, and a more old-fashioned 'physicalist' perspective, but I would
see it more as observer moments being associated with the observer and
his/her/its environment. After all, the distinction between these is pretty
vague: Does the apple I just ate count as me or my environment? What if I
made myself sick? What if I cut off my appendage? Don't worry; I will do
neither of these things.
Yours Sincerely,
Chris Collins.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2005 2:02 PM
Subject: Re: Many worlds theory of immortality

> Dear aet.radal ssg,
> I think you missed my point about the amnesic and psychotic patients,
> is not that they are clear thinkers, but that they are conscious despite a
> disability which impairs their perception of time. Your post raises an
> interesting question in that you seem to assume that normally functioning
> human minds have a correct model of reality, as opposed to the "broken"
> minds of the mentally ill. This is really very far from the truth. Human
> brains evolved in a specific environment, often identified as the African
> savannah, so the model of the world constructed by the human mind need
> match "reality" to the extent that this promoted survival in that
> environment. As a result, we humans are only able to directly perceive and
> grasp a tiny, tiny slice of physical reality. Furthermore, although we are
> proud of our thinking abilities, the theories about physical reality that
> humans have come up with over the centuries have in general been
> ridiculously bad. I have spent the last ten years treating patients with
> schizophrenia, and I can assure you that however bizarre the delusional
> beliefs these people come up with, there are multiple historical examples
> apparently "sane" people holding even more bizarre beliefs, and often
> insisting on pain of death or torture that everyone else agree with them.
> You might point out that despite the above, science has made great
> This is true, but it has taken the cumulative efforts of millions of
> over thousands of years to get to our current level of knowledge, which in
> any case is still very far from complete in any field. Scientific progress
> of our species as a whole is mirrored in the efforts of a psychotic
> who gradually develops insight into his illness, recognising that there is
> difference between real voices and auditory hallucinations, and learning
> reason through delusional beliefs despite the visceral conviction that
> really are out to get me".
> --Stathis Papaioannou
> >From: "aet.radal ssg" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> >To:
> >Subject: Re: Many worlds theory of immortality
> >Date: Sat, 07 May 2005 10:44:25 -0500

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