Re: longevity vs singularity/Question

Dennis Roberts (
Tue, 03 Aug 1999 22:01:10 -0400

"J. R. Molloy" wrote:

> Dennis Roberts wrote,
> >What is the significance of the loss of
> >1/1000000 of an individual's " consciousness"?
> To understand the indivisibility of consciousness, consider that when water
> freezes to make ice crystals, a millionth of a degree short of the
> temperature necessary for crystallization results in no crystallization. The
> phase transition from water to ice occurs only when the temperature goes all
> the way to freezing. Another phase transition occurs when water changes to
> steam. At sea level (with exact barometric pressure) this means the
> temperature of the water must reach all the way to 100 Celsius. If it misses
> by a millionth of a degree, the water does not boil.
> Similarly, the phase transition from attentiveness to full consciousness
> occurs when 100% of cerebration crystallizes as pure awareness. Just as we
> use magnetic material to detect magnetism, so we need conscious intent to
> detect consciousness. Unconscious entities cannot know of our existence. "It
> takes one to know one."

It seems to me that you look at consciousness as a monolithic entity as opposed to a phenomenon
that is composed of the sum of many parts, such as crowd of people, a flock of birds or the weather.
My analogy was meant to relate the consequences of loss of an infinitesimally small part of such a phenomenon.
Of what consequence is the loss of one starling to a flock of millions? Of what consequence is the loss of one person in the behavior of the population of Columbus, Ohio ?
Of what consequence is the loss of one rain drop in a cloudburst
? Maybe the loss would be noticed, the mayor dies, but the life of the city goes on.
As someone who daily looks at the effects of brain damage, injury, tumors, Alzheimer's, etc. on the level of consciousness of real live people, I am continually amazed at the amount of brain loss that it takes to make a significant change in perceptible behavior. There are folks walking around, functioning normally, who have 1/2 the brain mass of your average Joe. They present a great argument in favor of the holographic theory of consciousness. Of what consequence is the loss of 1/1000000 of a hologram to its ability to reconstruct the image that produced it ?

Dennis Roberts