This is a good question because it provides an opportunity to explain the reason behind the idea of observer-moments (OM). Essentially, OM is the minimum unit of conscious experience. It is sometimes taken as being instantaneous, but if this presents theoretical problems, it can be redefined as observer-second or whatever you think the minimum should be. An individual's identity, or conscious experience over a period of time, is then constructed from a series of OM. "Constructed" in this context does not necessarily mean that any particular physical process takes place to string the OM's together. Most familiarly, there *is* a physical process doing just this: namely, the OM's follow (more precisely, supervene) in sequence from the electrochemical reactions in an individual brain. However, and this is the crucial insight, there is no reason to think that functionally the same multi-OM conscious interval cannot occur if the OM's are separated widely in time, space, or even across branches of the MW which can have no physical connection. This is because the OM's are "connected" only by virtue of their information content, which can transcend time, space, or being in different universes. This does not necessarily mean that any actual information transfer has to take place; it suffices that the relationship between the widely separated OM's is the same as it would have been if the information transfer had taken place in the usual way, such as in a functioning brain. For example, if I have the thought, "I am counting 1,2,3 bananas..." and by chance somewhere else in the multiverse there arises a sentient computer program which believes it is me, has the same memories as me up to that point, and continues "...4,5,6 bananas", then that latter computer program, although it has no physical connection to me and indeed could not even have possibly obtained any information from me in this universe, nevertheless will experience being me in the same way as if I had continued counting bananas in this universe in the usual manner.
A consequence of the above is that it does not make sense to talk about where your consciousness "really" is, or whether it really is the "same" individual accross different instantiations, because a multi-OM conscious interval can be defined any way you like. You can decide that if an OM deviates sufficiently from some arbitrary standard, then that is a new individual. You can also have multiple instances of the "same" individual running in the same or different universes. The only absolute is the OM, and everything else is a construct.
Superficially, this may all seem a bit strange: why bother? The reason I was driven to this view was from consideration of the philosophical problem of personal identity. It may seem straightforward that you are the same person as you were last year, but every atom in your body may be different, in a different configuration, and giving rise to different memories and other mental properties. (It may seem that at least the latter two are identical, but the similarity over even a relatively short time period is only approximate). Add to this the result of multiple thought experiments: what if your future self from next week came back in time; what if you were exactly duplicated via a Star Trek-type teleporter; what if you were resurrected in Heaven; what about the multiple near-exact copies of you in other branches of the MW; what about mind uploads; and so on. The only way to avoid the paradoxes of multiple identities is to accept that every apparent "identity" is a separate entity, and moreover that every moment of every apparent identity is a separate entity. This leads directly to the concept of the observer-moment, and the paradoxes disappear.
From: Quentin Anciaux <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Many Pasts? Not according to QM... Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 18:17:25 +0200
Le Mercredi 18 Mai 2005 17:57, Patrick Leahy a écrit :
> Of course, many of you (maybe all) may be defining pasts from an
> information-theoretic point of view, i.e. by identifying all
> observer-moments in the multiverse which are equivalent as perceived by
> the observer; in which case the above point is quite irrelevant. (But you
> still have to distinguish the different branches to find the total measure
> for each OM).
I thought of Observer Moment as containing the observer... What is the meaning
of an OM (the same) which spread accross branches ? If you start by the
assumption that OM are fundamental, then a "branch" is an OM. Or a branch is
a consistent succession of OM ?
If the split forever is correct, then does a consciousness spread accross all
those branch where the OM is in ? or just in one branch, and in other
branches with the same OM, this is not the same consciousness ? If the later,
why can it be said that it is in fact the same OM ?
I apologize for the apparent mix of questions, and the "bad" english... Hope
you understand what I wanted to say ;)
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