Hi Bruno,
                Your reply points to deeper mysteries even as it clarifies 
simpler ones. You and others have noted a certain excitement in exploring the 
unknown and I am enjoying that prospect.


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Bruno Marchal 
  Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 11:49 AM
  Subject: Re: Consciousness and free will

  On 30 Nov 2008, at 20:21, M.A. wrote:

              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 

      Assuming MEC I would say *you* experience an infinity of computational 

                The term "universe" is far too ambiguous (now).

      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?

  The word "universe" is ambiguous.
  And yes, each history is separated from all others, despite all histories are 
mixed in some other histories. But *you* (third person, your bodies) belongs to 
a continuum of histories, and although they does not interact, it changes your 
probabilities on your possible consistent extensions.

        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 

  Perahps. It could be a question of language. If you look at an electronic 
orbital you could see a cloud of possible positions, accessible by 
position-measurement. In a sense you "look" (indirectly) at the many histories 
you are simultaneously in, a bit like you computes in many histories you are in 
when you are using a quantum computer. When we will accept, not only digital 
brain, but quantum digital brain change of language will occur. To use the 
correct language now could be like learning quantum field theory for doing a 

        It follows that each program-universe is completely detirministic

      All right.

        and that consciousness is merely an observing passenger inside the 

      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 

  Yes. In some case, perhaps not your's, this can be helped by doctor, shaman, 
yoga, regime, drugs, sports, music, etc. It is difficult.

        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" experience?

  Sure. It depends of our parents, education, etc. You can abstract such 
problems away, but this need works. It depend on the short and long pasts. We 
have inherited of million years of family trifles, we have kept some of our 
reptile instincts. But we can learn, for the better or the worse.

        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.

  Sure. Again here yoga and music and rest can help, but life can be difficult. 
Comp does not offer any consolation, except for those who like to search, it 
gives some light. But light is not necessarily consoling, it shows you the 
"monster" you did not expect sometimes.

      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.

  I agree, but I don't see the point.

        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.

  Nice. It is related with the arithmetical interpretation of Plotinus' 
Platonism. All universal self-introspective machine should be able to discover 
that. It is what I like in comp, it preserves the mystery. It even cleans it 
from the ten thousand superstitions.




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