X-Message-Number: 11804
Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 13:03:02 EDT
Subject: Jeff Davis' questions 

Jeff Davis asks me to explain what I mean by "binding space and time." I 
mentioned this briefly yesterday, but will expand slightly today.

I postulate (for fairly obvious reasons) that the anatomy/physiology of the 
"self circuit" that underlies consciousness (feeling, qualia, capacity for 
subjective experiences) must extend over some non-zero volume of the brain 
and also encompass some non-zero interval of time. This physical mechanism 
might be some kind of standing wave, possibly in part electromagnetic, 
possibly in part chemical. A computer, with its program, could in principle 
predict or describe such a thing, but could not BE such a thing. 

Mr. Davis also says, in part:

>Perhaps there is some unique feature of the organically-constructed brain,
>something about the structure or function achieved by the particular use of
>carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosporous, etc.--the "organic"
>materials--which simply cannot be achieved in an alternate medium.  But
>barring that, and supposing a thorough understanding of the details of
>structure and function of the one machine, what would suggest that a second
>machine of alternate--dare I say "better"--materials would not be
>theoretically designable and constructable?

Right. If organic systems are not uniquely capable of supporting feeling, 
then they are not, but we don't yet know. So far, only vertebrates are known, 
with a reasonable degree of assurance, to have consiousness.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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