This is just a copy

John K Clark (
Wed, 15 Jul 1998 21:26:11 -0700 (PDT)


My copy of the post by (Harvey Newstrom) said the following:


>Mysticism Alert! You seem to be saying that consciousness exists
>outside of the physical body, outside space and time, and that space
>and time and position.

Apparently in your theory it's possible to measure consciousness by the cubic inch, I admit my theory doesn't have that feature but it does have other advantages. According to your theory the space-time coordinates of a brain are important in differentiating one consciousness from another, but I don't see how that could be true. You argue that two identical brains somehow produce different subjectivity because the brains are in different positions, but a brain without senses can't detect it's position. A brain can't detect time either, I could speed up or slow down your brain as much as I wanted, I could even stop it for a billion years and you would never notice. A brain without senses can't detect anything.

Sensations can certainly change subjectivity however, so the space-time position of the sense input is of paramount importance, but the position of the brain is totally irrelevant unless the brain is so far from the senses that time delays start to become important. An Upload might not know or care where his brain was, it could be distributed in thousands of computers all over the planet. On the other hand, he would be very interested where and when his senses were.

Let me ask you a question, if you're right and I'm wrong then why don't you feel like your consciousness is trapped inside a small container made of bone?

>and laws of physics don't apply to this ethereal consciousness.

I most certainly never said that.

>Definition Change Alert! Your definiton of "killing" and "death"
>obviously are not based on any definition of "life" and "death" that
>have existed until now. [...] Until now, I have never heard that you
>can put a bullet through someone's brain and not call it murder
>based on what thoughts are inside their head.

Obviously. Ideas about life and death and identity and immorality that have served us well for a very long time are nearing the end of their useful life. The new element in the mix is Nanotechnology and the ability to make exact copies of complex objects.

I think there's a tendency for people to say that uploading and self duplication is not possible because if they were things would be odd, not illogical, not self contradictory, just odd. Well of course it would be odd, these things are not in any of our experience, yet, so how could they be anything but peculiar? Nature will be the way it wants to be and it doesn't give a hoot in hell if late 20th century human beings think it's odd or not. Someday we'll have to confront fundamental facts about our existence that few of us have thought about and most just assumed to be the natural order of things, but it's important to remember that as long as something does not violate the laws of logic or physics it can not be ruled out just because it's odd.

>If you assume, as I do, that the two copies are two seperate but
>identical people, then your original copy did have its last thought,
>while the new copy had its first original thought.

I can't respond to that because I don't understand it. Two identical people producing two identical consciousness that are nevertheless completely different and thereby distinguishable by the identical consciousness themselves? I don't get it, are they identical or are they not?


>Is there any way to test the original to see if it is not dead?

I don't know who "the original" is and the entire concept is fuzzy but I'll tell you one thing, the only answer I ever get to my question is "no I'm not dead".


>You seem to assume that I and others who think as I do are giving
>some significance to our specific atoms.

You have not explicitly made such a claim but if you're right then the conclusion is unavoidable, that's one reason I'm so certain you're not right.

                                             John K Clark

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