X-Message-Number: 25251
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2004 21:37:42 -0800 (PST)
From: Scott Badger <>
Subject: Re: Identity

Perhaps my time-worm scenario example wasn t a good
one. Apologies. But if you could go back in time and
meet yourself, would it make sense to ask which one
was you?. Let s try something else. How about the
classic thought experiment where the natural brain s
neurons are replaced, one at a time, by artificial
neurons which are precise duplicates until the normal
brain was completely replaced by an artificial brain?
Where is the line at which the QE is destroyed and how
do you justify the existence of that line?

The closest thing to what Richard is describing that
I ve seen is Michael Gazzaniga s  Interpreter  theory.
Below is an excerpt that helps explain this  user
illusion  perspective. I m sure most cryonicists are
hoping to rescue their  self    (i.e. their identity)
from death and extinction. But if Gazzaniga and others
are right, it won t make a whole lot of sense to place
so much value on the  self  since it has such a minor
role in our mental affairs. If a way can be found in
the future to expand our consciousness to the  entire 
mind, it will most likely mean shedding the thin
veneer of consciousness Gazzaniga calls the
 Interpreter  since it appears to be primarily a
watcher, not a doer in the brain. 

Here are the excerpts.

For starters, the conscious mind, or consciousness, is
truly a tiny part of our existence. Most of the
brain s workings, perhaps 98 percent, are simply out
of sight, unconscious. By unconscious I don t mean
repressed or shoved down as Freud had it but simply
beyond our ken and awareness, automatic, silent,
omnipresent, the gift of millions of years of

The conscious mind plays a smaller and more focused
role than we think, and is often playing catch-up with
the goings on down below. Gazzaniga opens one chapter
with  By the time we think we know something the brain
has already done its work.  The brain covers for this
 done deal  aspect of brain-mind functioning by making
it appear that what has already occurred is occurring

Gazzaniga says that we have a section of the left
brain called the  interpreter  or  the spin doctor 
that tries to put our experience in a more coherent
story or narrative format and to ask questions of its

Like most story writers, the spin doctor embellishes
and fills in the gaps with many fictional details both
in our memories and in our rationalizations for
present conduct. The spin doctor also is the seat of
reasoning, or the ability to ask why questions when
things go wrong. While the spin doctor or the
interpreter operates outside of consciousness it seems
to be the primary facilitator of the workings of
consciousness. The interpreter is likely where our
strange idea of  having  a self originates.
Despite the contributions of consciousness, the
undermind, or the  Shadow  as Gazzaniga terms it, is
the senior partner in our mental affairs. Gazzaniga
says of our unconscious brain,  The Shadow Knows. 
Indeed, there is evidence that even our voluntary
actions begin in the unconscious instead of

Gazzaniga says that the conscious mind trying to
control the brain is something like  a harried
playground monitor, a hapless entity charged with the
responsibility of keeping track of multitudinous brain
impulses running in all directions at once. 




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