X-Message-Number: 19319
From: "davepizer" <>
Subject: "I think, therefore Iam - only one neuron?"
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 21:12:19 -0500

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Robert Ettinger, and I, (and others - I'm sure), have proposed that a person 
might be/is mainly, mostly, (something like this) a piece of stuff that "feels" 
the self-awareness, and that this self-awareness hunk of meat is as important, 
or perhaps more important, that the actual memories of a person - which are 
probably just neural connections, folds in the dendrites, or dendritic spines, 
synaptic connections that are made and reinforced (committed to long-term 
memory) by usage, or some other mechanism.

(Robert - I hope I'm not misstating your position too much - but at least this 
is the way I think of it).

We humans often think that other animals are not capable of the same exact type 
(the amount) of self-awareness and consciousness as we have because our brains 
are so much larger (they contain more connections) and are more complicated 
(they are wired in a much more complicated way).  

So we take liberties to experiment on the "lessor" animals and keep them as pets
(perhaps slaves from their viewpoint), and of course we like to eat them.  We 
justify this behavior by thinking that they are inferior to us, they don't think
like we do, and they are not as conscious in complicated ways as we are.  So 
its OK to "Wham, bam, thank you ham."

But, what if the major part of the experience of consciousness, of 
self-awareness, is the activity of just one neuron.  If it turned out that this 
unlikely possibility was the case, then it would be possible for even the 
smallest animals, (as long as it has one similar neuron at the heart of its 
brain), to be just as self-aware as we are.

The good thing about that would be that a person could survive cryonic 
suspension if just that one neuron was saved along with most/all of his/her 
memories which could be saved some other way (there are probably just a small 
amount of important memories that make up 90% of whatever it is that makes you 
you, from a memory standpoint (not counting the self-awareness part of what 
makes you you - which I think is 10 to 1 as important as your actual memories).

Now, it is possible to freeze and then reanimate tissue as small as one neuron 
with today's techniques.

Maybe we should start the search for the "self-neuron?"

hmmmmmmmmmmmmm    ????


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