X-Message-Number: 25099
From: "Valera Retyunin" <>
Subject: More on the "illusion" of the inner self
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 05:33:11 +0300

For Francois:

>It seems to me that the qualia experiencer hypothesis is the death knell of
>any cryonics effort. However well a process to preserve a brain works,
>however perfectly its structure is preserved, even if it is down to the
>atomic level, a brain sitting in liquid nitrogen displays no activity at
>all. It percieves no qualia, there is NO functionning qualia experiencer
>within it. The person this brain belonged to is DEAD. Any process used to
>restart brain functions, however perfectly it worked, would only start a
>new qualia experiencer, different from the original one. A new person
>would come to life, but the one who died would remain dead.

An interesting point. The qualia experiencer hypothesis is not the death
knell of cryonics of course, but there's indeed a possibility that just in a
few minutes (seconds, moments?) after a brain dies (= brain activity
completely stops), the person cannot be brought back, even in principle.
Again, we don't know if it's true or not as we don't know how the unique
experiencer works. Unfortunately, it may well be that the experiencer is not
simply turned off, but lost forever immediately after "deanimation". While
this is only a possibility, there's another scary thing which seems to be
quite certain (whether you accept the experiencer hypothesis or not): when
you revive someone, if you don't know exactly what makes up the experiencer,
you will not be able to tell who you have revived - the original person or
just a copy, and the copy will not be able to tell it either.

>.....would duplicate the qualia experiencer and give rise to a second
>instance of the SAME person.

You would have EITHER
(a) a single qualia experiencer in simultaneous possession of two identical
bodies; this would require a good deal of extremely powerful magic or,
possibly, very advanced technology since it would mean one mind distributed
across two heads connected via a super-duper-broadband wireless link,
(b) two different persons with two separate inner worlds.

>A copy identical to the original IS the original.

This one really is the best Zen mantra I've ever heard! A copy identical to
the original surely IS IDENTICAL TO the original, but IS NOT the original,
by the very definition of the words "original" and "copy".

>A perfect copying process does not result in an original and a copy, it
>results in two originals.

To be precise, it results in two originals, one of whom is a functionally
exact copy of the other at the end of the process.

>That's a mind boggling concept don't you agree, the fact the whole universe
>is completely destroyed and recreated trillions upon trillions upon
>trillions of times every second, you and I included? How could the
>uniqueness of a qualia experiencer ever be more than an illusion in such a

Let's get back to our grim macroscopic reality. Have you ever been recreated
in someone else's body (head), even for a trillionth of a second? Have you
ever heard of anybody do so? This mind boggling concept is a wonderful
meditation, but it doesn't seem to permit personal survival through
uploading. My qualia experiencer may be an illusion, but it certainly is the
dearest and most realistic illusion there is, and I would love to preserve
in its full illusory uniqueness.

For Yvan Bozzonetti:

>You are clearly locked in the childish idea that there must be something
>beyond plain brain biochemical functions. There is nothing such.

Let me disagree. Richard is clearly locked into the idea that there's most
likely nothing in a person's brain except "plain brain biochemical
functions", but copying them can only create a copy of the person, not save
her/his life.

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