The Most Basic Question (Life and Uploading)

Mike C. (
Sun, 16 Mar 1997 08:01:34 -0500

First I reply to:
>On Fri, 14 Mar 1997, Joseph Strout:
>> On what basis would your upload not be you?

Control is a critical factor.
If my brain controls my actions
then a copy of my brain would control it's actions
and would not be under my control.
Though having an extremely similar structure to my brain.
it is hardly connected to it.
They evolve in the environment from differing perspectives.
I could predict it's actions quite well from empathy
but to say that makes it me is difficult to believe.

If destructive scanning techniques were used it may ruin my brain.
My consciousness may consist of vaporized atoms.
How would a bunch of vapor called U.Sov.
control an electronic representation of U.Sov.?
Far be it from me to suggest it can not be done,
I am an optimist,
but I would like to know how it could be done.
Perhaps the vapor could be restructured
to form the components of the representation
(instantaineous phase modification?).
That seems quite a chaotic idea with technology I know of.
It sure would help if I knew what death was,
or life either for that matter.

Wait a second.
I forgot I've seen a baby with only brain stem
and a child with a hemispherectomy( half a brain )
and they seemed normal.
Maybe the brain is not as important as I thought.
Could I still be me without a brain?
Parden me while I get thrown for a loop.

What am I?
Is there an organ I truly need?
Is there a particle in my body which I can truly not exist without?
Every moment I lose a lepton and I die.
At least I am no longer what I was,
yet I am alive.
If I instantaneously seperated every system, organ, tissue, or cell in my body
from each other,
it would take another moment for each to die.
If each was properly taken care of it may continue to live.
I could be in a zillion+ pieces yet none of them would be dead.
Could I do the same with a cell,
seperate it's parts and keep them stable,
waiting to be rejoined?

How well do we understand the universe
when we say some things are alive and some things are not.
They are mostly made of simliar fundamental particles,
often similar atoms, molecules, cells, tissues, organs, systems, cultures, etc.
One being may have 130 lbs of living cells and be alive.
Another may 1,000 lbs of living cells with no electicity in it's brain,
so obviously it is dead,
I'm not so sure.

How far have I come when I do not willingly accept simple answers
to the most basic question?
What am I?