Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the detailed explanations. I'll 
post my responses in an interlinear manner using color to differentiate (if 
that's ok).   M.A.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Bruno Marchal 
  Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2008 3:49 PM
  Subject: Re: Consciousness and free will

  On 29 Nov 2008, at 16:45, M.A. wrote:

    (Assuming MEC/Comp.and MWI) If the computational universe which I experience

  Assuming MEC I would say *you* experience an infinity of computational 
histories.                             The term "universe" is far too ambiguous 

  But isn't each history separated from all others by impermeable walls?        
                  Do you mean that the word "universe" is ambiguous or just my 
use of it?

    is a single instance of a vast array of similar universes playing out every 
possible variation of the initial axioms, then no one universe could depart 
from its predetermined program since in so doing it would alter its program and 
duplicate that of another universe thus spoiling the overall mission of 
implementing every possible variation.

  Histories can bifurcate in a way that you will find yourself in both 
histories ("you" seen from some third person point of view). Each histories is 
deterministic but, your future is uncertain.

  But what about the first person "me"?  "I" am only conscious of one history.

    It follows that each program-universe is completely detirministic 

  All right.

    and that consciousness is merely an observing passenger inside the program;

  At some point I could "defined" consciousness as the state of (instinctively 
at first) betting on a history. This will speed up yourself relatively to your 
current stories, and make greater the set of your possible continuation. As an 
exemple you become aware an asteroïd is coming nearby make it possible for you 
to envisage a set of possible decisions, which can themselves augment your 
probability of survival.

  It seems like the present copy of "me" can "envisage these decisions", but be 
unable to carry them out unless they are part of his deterministic history. 

     thus each program that contains a thinking entity is in a schizophrenic 

  Come on! You agree to the presense of schism below. Is it the connotation of 
"schizophrenic" that you don't like?

    This is because consciousness--which is part of the program--is capable of 
judging the actions of the program. When the program acts in a way approved by 

  by it?  Sorry. "It" means consciousness in this and the following paragraphs.

    the thinker is encouraged to believe that his will produced the action. 


    But when the program acts in a manner repugnant to it,

  to who? (The conscious observer.)

    the conscious observer, refusing to give up the notion of free will, 
explains the lapse by rationalizations such as: God, luck, destiny, possession, 
halluciation etc. 

  As far as I understand, the program here acknowledge its ignorance. If, by 
being too much proud, he doesn't, then he make higher some catastrophe 

  But isn't his problem of pride determined in some history, namely the one "I" 

    So every consciousness, bearing burdensome memories of repugnant actions, 
must either surrender the possibility of free will (fatalism),

  Wrongly, I would say.

    accept the intercession of supernatural powers (theology), 

  "it" could just accept it belongs to a collection of deep unknown histories, 
and many other unknown things, some even not nameable (and deadly if named). It 
can consolate itself by pointing on its *partial* control.

  Not very consoling when entangled with the intense immediacy and sensitivity 
of one's ego.

  Note also that it is not really the program or the machine who thinks, but 
the people "vehiculated" trough that machine computation relatively to its most 
probable (and local) computational histories.

  But I think as an individual, not as a group.

    or theorize an inaccessible part of itself that is able to override its 
purposes (Freud). 

  That is not entirely meaningless imo.

    All of which implies a schism between consciousness and one of the 
following: the program, the universe or itself.

  Here I agree. Universal machine are born to experience such a schism. We can 
come back on this. In its purer form it is a consequence of incompleteness. All 
universal machine hides a mystery to themselves, and more the machine learn, 
more that mystery is bigger. (This is related to the gap between G and G*, for 
those who reminds previous explanations).

  I find this most profound.

    I'd be interested to know to what extent my thinking about this question 
agrees with or goes against the present discussion.


  I made a try. Interesting post. Tell me if you are ok with it. (I believe in 
free will, but I would prefer to say simply just "will". Free-will is a bit of 
an oxymoron).

  I am totally ok with it and will resolutely refrain from coupling "free" and 
"will" in the future. Thanks again.



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