Re: The Soul

Anders Sandberg (
18 Feb 1998 20:57:08 +0100

Yak Wax <> writes:

> The complexity of our minds must at all times exceed our understanding
> of our minds. If we understand (and control) our minds fully, then
> our minds have no necessary function.

The problem here is what "understanding" means. I understand a glass
of water pretty well, but I do not know every molecule in it or the
detailed micro dynamics. I see no problem with understanding how the
brain produces the mind in general, it is just that we need to chunk
the information in order to make it useful ("the visual cortex
processes information in this way, and sends it to the following
areas..." instead of "neuron 34848493311 sends a spike to neuron
3478348674 and 3476421111..."), even if we could in principle look at
the system at lower levels. It is a matter of what scale we decide to
use - at a very high level the human mind becomes a single chunk, at a
very low level it becomes impossible to see for all the details. We
cannot keep a 1:1 model of ourselves in our minds, but that would not
really be understanding either. Understanding means we can think about
something on an useful level, so that we can extract relevant
information from it and predict its behavior well enough.

> A popular definition of the > soul is "that which we can never
understand, that which makes us what > we are."

I prefer the definition of my soul as the object class of which I am
an instantiation.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y