IDENTITY- What it means to be 'me' (was Re: neo-luddites are "US Taliban")

From: Ken Clements (
Date: Thu Nov 29 2001 - 15:16:26 MST

Harvey Newstrom wrote:

> I would love to see a discussion about this, but I don't think it belongs in
> this forum. It is a very specific philosophical question about how to
> define the self, others, identity, and other meta-questions about what it
> means to be "me".

Harvey, I think this is one of the most central things about Extropy, and that
it why it has been all over this list, and will continue to be so. You, also,
wonder how is it that symmetry is broken such that you seem to be who, where and
when you are, and not someone else, somewhere else, and at somewhen else. If
this "index problem" is not an illusion (as Zen masters indicate), where does it
come from? What physical thing makes me wake up as me?

If I write a sim world on my computer, I can instantiate as many identities as I
have storage and cycles to handle. While these are running around in the works,
I, as the Microcosmic God, can go in with the debugger and look at the internal
state of any of my creatures, and see that the accumulated state variables
represent a unique view based on initial conditions. If I record the changes in
state, I could make a movie of the sim world experience of being creature index
(i). From this view, creature(i) may be advanced enough to wonder why it does
not experience the world as creature(i+1). From its viewpoint, creature(i) may
be a 'me' and have a separate 'life', but from my viewpoint it is the total
simulation that exists, and fact that the creatures cannot see this is what
keeps them from a vastly greater sense of themselves.


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