X-Message-Number: 13032
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 21:51:24 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Exchange of Matter, Time-space Binding, Survival

John Clark (#13027) writes
>    >Stasys Adiklis writes in (#13014):
>    >It's information, NOT matter [that] is important.
>  writes in #13017
>    >this position is not an empirical observation
>It's an empirical observation that I've survived the last year.
>It's an empirical observation that the atoms in my body are different than
>they were a year ago. It's a logical conclusion that if information is not
>important then there is only one thing left that could be, the human soul.
>If I believed in that sort of thing I would be far more interested in religion
>than Cryonics. I'm not.

Some quantitative measures of the extent of matter interchange have
apparently been made. The book *Time, A Traveler's Guide* by Clifford
Pickover notes (pp. 77-78, emphasis original) "A year from now, 98 percent
of the atoms in our bodies will have been replaced with new ones. ... What
does it mean that your body has nothing in common with the body you had a
few years ago? You are not so much your atoms as you are the *pattern* in
which your atoms are arranged."

Another interesting point made in the book is that the brain sometimes
"reconstructs" events so that they are subjectively experienced with a
different time and/or space binding from that in which they actually occur.
One example of this is seen in the "cutaneous rabbit" experiment. Taps are
made rapidly in succession at three locations along the subject's arm: first
five taps at the wrist, then two at the elbow, and then three at the
shoulder. The subjective experience however is different. "It feels as if
the taps travel in a regular sequence over equal-spaced locations on my
arm--as if a little animal were smoothly hopping along the length of the arm
from wrist to shoulder." (p. 52). The "regular sequence" is basically
invented by the brain. Two taps at the elbow cause the brain to
retroactively "rewrite" what you think happened before that. (Five taps
moving up from the wrist to the elbow is what you end up thinking happened
rather than five taps all at your wrist, as really happened and as you would
perceive if the subsequent tapping didn't occur.) In other experiments
involving shifting, colored spots of light the subjects consistently report
seeing a color change before it actually occurs. To me all this affirms the
possibility of using a computational device that performs equivalently to a
brain, at the informational level, but has very different architecture and
ordering of the micro-events. Such a device could express consciousness in
quite different ways, spatiotemporally, from what happens in the brain or in
"real" life, yet still be real and authentic.

Bob Ettinger also notes
>    >I acknowledge the possibility of something even less popular--that there
>    >may not be any such thing as survival, that we are all ephemeral, lasting
>    >only as long as a single state of consciousness;

My feeling is that there are different definitions of "survival" and there
is no absolute way to select one as the "right" one--different ones will
"fit the facts." Consider the day-person hypothesis, of which the above is
an extreme variant, that we die each time we lose consciousness. How do you
"disprove" this? You can base your *definition* of a person on a requirement
of continuity of consciousness. I don't see that you will ever arrive at a
contradiction with observations if you stick consistently with this. But
since survival beyond the loss of consciousness is important to me, I feel
free to consider other definitions that also "fit the facts"--definitions
based on the idea that I could survive if only my information survives, or
even if it is only recreated at random.

Mike Perry

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=13032