RE: Good exchange with Eliezer

From: White, Ryan (
Date: Thu Mar 30 2000 - 13:15:39 MST

My own observations and introspective experiences have led me to the same
Taking a lot of LSD as an undergraduate was also thus conducive ;)
Incidentally, I have found deep parallels between this idea and some core
elements of Ch'an, or Zen, ideology.
Anyway, this leads me to wonder, in the presence of great minds:

Assuming 'subjective continuity of identity' is an artifact of the 'process'
of 'waking up' (presumably into each moment as one wakes to each day) in the
presence of memory, what might the nature of this 'process' be? What
exactly is it, that is 'uploaded'? (lol here we go again...) 'Attention',
perhaps? (whatever that is). I myself am comfortable with the notion that
my 'identity' is not more than a computational process (and a 'not
necessarily unique' one at that), but I am still not comfortable with any
attempts thus far to characterize it.

If this 'process' be a neurophysiological computation, then I would imagine
that each iteration of this process would take a certain amount of time.
One might suggest that since at any given moment there are different
variables to compute (as circumstances inevitably differ), there could be
variation in the duration of the 'process'. Might the variability in the
duration of the process of 'uploading' 'attention' (or whatever) be
related to the human experience of 'faster' or 'slower' time?

Often, when 'I' sleep, it seems my 'identity process' is offline.
Sometimes, however, while in REM phase sleep, it seems this process IS in
fact, engaged. 'I' maintain a somewhat cohesive sense of self, which is
subjected to a seemingly unlimited range of other (admittedly bizarre, at
times) 'events'. I presume members of this collective also share the
experience of 'dreaming'. How does *that* work in the context of 'subjective
continuity of identity?' (Or any other context, for that matter...)
Ryan D White
Electron Manager, DVelCo

> -----Original Message-----
> From: mjg223 []
> Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2000 11:38 AM
> To: Extropians
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: Good exchange with Eliezer
> I have suggested before that all subjective continuity of identity is
> an artifact of memory. Just as an upload would experience "waking up"
> in a new body, or as a Star-Trek transporter style deconstruction and
> replication at a distance would produce a person with an experience of
> displacement, in each instant we invent the passage of time and
> construct a subjectively continuous model of self. In each moment we
> are the upload waking up, relieved to still be alive. Taking the view
> that there really is a stronger or more "real" meaning to identity is,
> in my view, the pitfall that leads to all this dualistic stuff about
> the importance of going one neuron at a time and these head-of-a-pin
> "who's the real me" arguments.
> -matt

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