On 06 Nov 2011, at 12:29, Quentin Anciaux wrote:



2011/11/6 Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be>
Quentin,

On 30 Oct 2011, at 23:51, Quentin Anciaux wrote:

benjayk:
On the other hand, I don't see why we would ignore immortality of
consciousness, considering that the "I" is just a psychosocial
construct/illusion anyway. We don't find an actual "I" anywhere. It seems very relevant to know that the actual essence of experience can indeed survive eternally. Why would I care whether an imagined "I" experiences it
or not?

How would you call this, if not immortality?

Death.



Quentin,

Could you imagine making a dream where you are someone else?

Can you imagine waking up, and remembering your life as a dream, and at the same time remembering "the" previous life?

Yes, but and I can accept that as a form of continuation of my life *but* contrary to benjayk example... you *remember* that life even as a dream.

OK. But then you might be able to dissociate yourself from the "hero" of the dream, which can help to realize that the content of memories might not be so important for the identity. Forgetting a dream is no death, just a special form of amnesia.

To be sure, I do agree with you, in your conversation with benjayk, that consciousness needs a "self", but the "self" might be more like a general computer control structure than a collection of memories. That is why we might have superficial little ego (quite crucial in everyday- life decision) and deeper selves, more related to what is invariant in our experiences. Peano arithmetic has very few memories, if any in the usual sense, yet it has already a quite sophisticated self (obeying to G, G*, etc.).





I think we can dissociate from memories. I think we can identifying our identity, if I can say, with something deeper than the memories.

Sure but if there are no memories left, there is nothing left for "immortality".

I am not entirely sure of that. We tend to put a lot of price in our memories, but then many put a lot of price in the mundane objects as well. It is partially natural to do that, but concerning identity, in the long run, it might be less important than what we are "programmed" or accustomed (by evolution) to believe.





Memories are important, if only to avoid painful loops, and to progress, which is the making of histories. But like bodies, it makes sense that we own them, we are not them, I mean, not necessarily are we them.

Without them anybody is anybody, and it's meaningless to talk about immortality in that context.

Unless the abstract self discovers it has a personality of its own. This helps to recognize oneself in the other, and even to "selfishly" hope for the happiness of others. Memories can also be like a bullet, preventing you to see a bigger part of the picture. The brain already use a lot of energy to classify and erase (or make less accessible) many memories; it might be a matter of choice to give them some importance or not. New events can shift the emphasis of previous event memories. Many memories have some role in our present life, but might appear as useless, if not handicapping, with respect to new and different type of experiences.

Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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