X-Message-Number: 27620
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 10:29:54 EST
Subject: Re: literary references, "Consciousness"

In a message dated 2/15/2006 5:00:28 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  

>A fairly recent example is Daniel Dennett's book  "Consciousness Explained". 

Thank you for your literary advice. I'll  certainly give the book a go
when I feel the need for a final, definitive  explanation of

>Another exposition of it is in  Marvin Minsky's "Society of Mind". 
The above snip is from today's cryonet, a rather "snippy" snip responding  to 
Daniel Crevier's earlier posting.  Daniel Crevier's posting had more  merit, 
IMO, than that of the responder. 

I have read and studied both these books, and thought they had rather good  
implications for rational cryonicists.
Neither book is exactly light reading.  I found them both a hard  "Slog" but 
worthwhile for the profound "aha!" experience they  delivered. 
I had an interesting discussion...more of an argument actually...with  Marvin 
Minsky at a skeptics conference quite a few years back.  Marvin and  I were 
the only signed cryonicists in this room of world class skeptics and  

rationalists.  While decidedly a bright guy, Minsky is extremely  opinionated.  
it, fellow cryonauts...aren't we all LOL!)   Without too long of a digression, 
Minsky had the temerity to say that the free  market is falling down terribly 
in it's choice of software operating systems and  hardware.  When I asked him 
the simple question "Well, Marvin, who would  you choose to make the decision 
for people instead of allowing a million flowers  to bloom in multiple 

varieties of software and hardware?"  He responded,  quite seriously, the he 
would abrogate the power to make this decision. 
Marvin may share a lot of the values of the archetypal extropian  cryonicist. 
 But he sure ain't no libertarian! LOL!  BTW, most of  these world class 
skeptics/rationalists/atheists/brights were politically left  leaning.  They 
forgot to be antiauthoritarian in matters of politics as  well as religion! :)

(This is the same conference I had cryonics  conversations with James Randi 

and Michael Sherman with...both seemed rather  interested, but neither has done
themselves or the cause of cryonics any favors  since.  Sigh.)

Anyway, I refuse to spend much time with the identity  question, except to 
say that Daniel Crevier has made an excellent point.   

Much of the discussion, despite being arguably worthy and central to the  

mission of preserving "self," is both academic hand wringing and more a matter
of definition and word play.  From a practical, "this is the way it feels"  

standpoint, we have an "Illusion" of consciousness and continuity throughout our
daily experience. 
As modern brain research is uncovering, this sense of consciousness may be  
an explanatory "after the fact" phenomenon, as strange as this sounds.   This 
is not just the research of Daniel Dennett, but also of Francis Crick,  Susan 
Blackmore,  and other scientists studying consciousness.  
But, this does NOT mean that we don't FEEL like we are authentically here,  
or the person typing this is not a genuine seat of awareness.  And, the  more 
the physical underpinnings of the brain are teased out, the more LIKELY it  
seems that some form of cryonics, and even uploading, will eventually  work.   

I would love to stay and sling amateur philosophy of  consciousness all day, 
but I must study for yet another professional designation  test this Friday. 

This will be my third, PLEASE be impressed, as these  sonsofbitches courses and
tests are expensive and time  consuming. 

Even though the entity taking that test will be composed  of different atoms, 
and many of my brain cells and body cells will be different,  that entity 
"WILL" be me for any and all practical purposes.  
To summarize Daniel Crevier's thesis, the mountain is still there,  

irrespective of our verbiage and labels.  I think DC has made a fine and  
"Decision." :)
Off to the cryonics insurance and study wars for me...
For Centuries,

Rudi Richard  Hoffman CFP CLU

Board Member Financial Planning Association  fpafla.org
Board Member Salvation Army salvationarmy.org
Member Alcor Life  Extension Foundation alcor.org
Certified Financial Planner(TM) CFP Board of  Standards 
Member Libertarian Party libertarianparty.org
Member National  Rifle Association nra.org
Member World Transhumanist Association  http://transhumanism.org/
World's Leading Cryonics Insurance Provider  rudihoffman.com

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