X-Message-Number: 13029
From: "George Smith" <>
References: <>
Subject: Conscious Awareness, Mind, and Matter: A better theory?
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 11:32:27 -0800

Regarding the exchanges I read here on the Cryonet regarding whether or not
a conscious human personality can "migrate" or be "duplicated" in a
computer, I was prompted a few days ago to ask if anyone was familiar with
the work of University of Oregon Physics professor, Amit Goswami, Ph.D.

I remind you that he claims to have resolved the paradoxes of quantum
mechanics by reversing the common assumption that mind and/or conscious
awareness is an epiphenomenon of matter (brain).

The reason I think this might be important is because:

(1) Occam's Razor would suggest he might be on to something as his theory
fits the evidence better than others.

(2) He has offered an extensive model of how mind and matter could be
derived from consciousness.

(3) He has offered an extensive model of how the "self" could arise from
mind through an interplay (tangled hierarchies") between local and non-local
brain activities.

If Goswami's perspective is assumed, much disagreement I read here regarding
the viability of uploading vanishes.  For example, Goswami sees no real
problem with duplicating many (most) aspects of mind in a classical (local)
computer system.  At the same time, without a proper structure permitting
non-local "interface", I believe Goswami is suggesting that such a mind
would not have conscious awareness.

In other words, you might duplicate a person's personality patterns (habits,
memories, behavior patterns), but this duplication would lack conscious
awareness.  Yet, this would not be unnoticed from the "outside" by any
observer since creativity is believed by Goswami to be a critical part of
the non-local aspects of mind necessary for conscious awareness to rise to
existance "in" a system.

I am reminded of the early fifties when psychiatrists were commonly
performing lobotomies which seemed to help patients.  Later it was realized
that the patients with lobotomies were incapable of learning anything new,
such as being able to tie one's shoelaces with a knot that went over instead
of under.  The word "zombie" was recently used here on the Cryonet regarding
what I would term "non-conscious personality duplications", such as we see
in lobotomy patients.

So, again, please comment if you are familiar with this physicist's work or
consider reading his popularly available book for future comment.  I am
personally unaware of any other person in physics who has offered to remove
the paradoxes of quantum mechanics AND offer so many thoughts regarding the
very critical question regarding the nature of the self - that which we wish
to salvage in cryonics and/or uploading.

George Smith

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