X-Message-Number: 4430
Date: Sun, 21 May 1995 19:20:56 -0400
Subject: comments

(Eugen Leitl has kindly sent me some private comments, and I am responding to
a portion of them on Cryonet, since this may possibly interest a few other
people, repetitive as it may be.)

I do not--as you seem to suggest--believe there is anything "magical" about
self, or that it is outside of the brain's physical structure and functions.
Nor do I think it is necessarily "localizable" in the sense of being in one
small part of the brain. 

But whether it consists strictly in neuronal firing patterns is something
else--a possibility, but unproven. (We don't know yet whether organisms
without neurons can have feeling.)

Also, you mention "representation" of the self and the "privileged observer"
business. This seems to me a misunderstanding. The self--i.e., the subjective
circuit, the seat of feeling--doesn't REPRESENT anything; it IS
something--that portion or aspect of the brain or its functions that permits
or gives rise to feeling and consciousness. Whether it is "surfing" on other
activities, whether it precedes or follows action--none of that matters (or
at least it is secondary). What matters is that with feeling and
consciousness we are alive (have subjective experiences, pleasure and pain);
without it we are not.

Robert Ettinger

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