ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Conversation on Consciousness: Futurism and Philosophy

Updated on January 31, 2017

Consciousness Uploading and Dualism

A conversation arose between my friend Ben and me over this article I wrote: Transcendence: The Simple Consciousness Uploading Paradox. In the article, I outline the main reason I don't think that you're you if you upload your consciousness into the cloud after you die, or even if you do it all at once via any other means. As a result of sharing these thoughts with Ben, who is passionate about philosophy, history, and social current events, we had an excellent conversation wherein several interesting points were raised. What follows is the conversation we had in condensed form, along with added notes by me based on what I've concluded or learned, or other information you might find helpful.

I also thought it would be fun to put increasingly sillier pictures of each of us beside our thoughts. You're welcome.

Ben Winn

Source

Ben's Initial Thoughts on Dualism

It seems like the thrust of your argument revolves around dualism, the ghost in the machine. That there is the physical self and this other "self" consciousness that is independent of the physical self and can be transferred slowly from one physical entity to another. I don't subscribe to this philosophical position because, to stick with the metaphor, there is no mechanism for the ghost to operate the machine. The immaterial cannot act upon the material. The ghost is an illusion created by the functioning of the machine.
Even if you were to supplement the organic brain with nano bots and overtime increase the percentage of the mechanical and decrease the organic you aren't transferring your consciousness from one medium to another, you are re-writing it all together. There may be a continuum of one illusion into the next, but it will not be the same illusion because it is being created by a different machine.

I might liken this to mixing colors. You start with red and add a drop of blue. You keep adding blue and you get purple and eventually you add so much blue that there is only blue and no more red. There is a continuum of the experience of color but they are ultimately two different things, you did nothing to transfer the essence of red into blue.


Teaching Jiu Jitsu With a Black Eye

My Initial Response: Gradual Change of Identity

I'd agree that you're a different person by the time you get from red to blue, using the color analogy, but if you have a single drop of blue inside your red, aren't you still just as fundamentally different? I know, you're not as different percentage wise, but conceptually, either you're a different person or you're not.
My point is that we are constantly shedding brain cells. All the time these cells are going away, and at an atomic level the majority of them will have been replaced within a year or so, and possibly less.

Does that make us different people from year to year? Sure it does. How different is up for debate, of course, but are you still you?

The same exact thing could happen with inorganic parts via transfer, couldn't it? if not, why not? What's different?

An Earlier, Trademark Mustachioed Ben

Source

Ben

Because you are rebuilding with different parts. A brain rebuilt with new brain cells is still a brain. A brain rebuilt with computers is a computer.
I am not the same persons was a year ago, I am certainly not the same person I was as a child. The narrative of the continuum is an illusion. If the narrative is an illusion you have to ask what you mean by the question " are you still you?". The collection of my cells that form the organic machine that is know as Ben constantly regenerate and that machine is what actually experiences. As that body marches through time the moments are stitched together to form the illusive narrative of consciousness. If I slowly replaced every cell in my body, skin, bones, blood etc, with a nano bot then I don't think that you would argue that I am still me. I would be a robot version of me but not me.
The argument also doesn't address the dualism inherent in the position. Your position is arguing that consciousness is its own entity, separate from the body and there isn't evidence for that.

Me with Hallie

Hallie!
Hallie! | Source

Me

" If I slowly replaced every cell in my body, skin, bones, blood etc, with a nano bot then I don't think that you would argue that I am still me. I would be a robot version of me but not me. "
Setting aside the "nano bot" term and replacing it with something inorganic, I actually would argue that it is still you. I don't see why your initial statement:"Because you are rebuilding with different parts. A brain rebuilt with new brain cells is still a brain. A brain rebuilt with computers is a computer. "The parts are not the same when your brain rebuilds them. It does the best it can, but it's not the same. On an atomic level, and probably on a molecular level, just about all of the components of your brain are different from year to year. Even your neurons themselves change a great deal over time. So what if one of the neural connections was replaced with something that isn't organic? The neuron just transfers information from one place to another, albeit terribly inefficiently and slowly.
I'm not sure what you mean about the dualism in my position. Could you clarify using words a ten year old could understand? I don't want to obfuscate the issue with words like obfuscate.

Much Younger Ben

Ben

Dualism is the philosophical position that there is a "ghost in the machine". We are made of 2 separate things. The "physical" and the "spiritual". The problem with this argument, traditionally is that immaterial things cannot interact or influence material things. It's why you can't prove that there is a soul. In this case I think your argument rest on consciousness being a separate entity from the physical body, like the soul, and not an emergent property of the workings of the physical body. If it is an emergent property, which it seems to be, I would argue that by swapping out the physical body for a different one you are fundamentally altering or transforming the processes that form "consciousness" into something that cannot be recognized as the consciousness that you began with, even if they do share the same memories. It becomes the same problem you have with the teleporter. It can be an exact copy but because the processes that generate it are not the same then it is by definition not the same consciousness. This might be a definitional difference but I think it is important.
The brain is always changing but it is replaced with parts of the same kind. Perhaps a better example would be rebuilding a car. If you started with a 67 mustang and replaced each part, one by one, with the parts of a 68 mustang would you still have a 67 mustang when you were finished or would you have a 68 mustang ? I doubt many people would know the difference, myself included since I know nothing about cars, but the difference would be there all the same, even if you were able to drive the car after replacing any single part.
There might be a counter argument in here about people with knee replacements or cochlear implants, but the thrust of my argument is that over time you change the essence of what the thing is, and from my understanding that changes the nature/ essence of the consciousness. I guess it is like evolution, the difference between any neighboring stages may be indistinguishable when compared next to each other but at the "end" of the process you end up with something fundamentally different from what you started with.
Even if I grant the premise for the moment I also wonder about the argument for a slow but continuous transfer as being key to the process. How do you think this affects the status of people who have died from extreme exposure to cold and have been brain dead for hours only to be revived? - I am thinking specifically of a nurse in Norway who way submerged in a glacial lake for 4 hours after a skiing accident but was able to be revived later. If I can find the story I will send it to you, I think it might have been on a radiolab. - Are they the same people they were before they died or did a new consciousness emerge within them after they were revived?
I understand that there is an analogy if the transition to transhuman as being like growing up, there is this continuum of consciousness from kid Andrew to adult Andrew. -I personally might argue that you are in fact separate people stitched together in space time through this narrative of consciousness, but I might have to elaborate on that later-. But does it change your argument if we change the vessel that you are uploading to? If we uploaded you into a dog or a cat would you still be Andrew or would the physical processes of being a dog or cat, and what that means neurologically begin to override and alter your consciousness?

Me with My Friend Han

Source

Me

I honestly don't know if that nurse (I read the Wiki article, crazy story!) is the same after being very close to death for a few hours (and 57 degrees F when they brought her in). That's a great question. My contention is that she is the same person because the activity within the brain never stopped- the neurons were transmitting information, albeit at about 10% of the rate of a fully conscious person.
I don't disagree that consciousness is an illusion, and I'm actually not trying to argue that we are any different than the sum of our parts, so I think you've got me all wrong regarding dualism. However, I can't shake the idea that there is a "me" or an "I" that gets to experience things, because... well, I'm experiencing them. In fact, the only one individual fact I know for certain, beyond all doubt, is that I am here, experiencing life (or existence, if you prefer).

I know that I experience, and I don't know anything else whatsoever.
Having said that, I would like to continue to experience things, even if the nature of "me" changes somewhat. If you start with a 67 Mustang and gradually replace the parts one by one, you end up with a 68 Mustang, sure, but is it the same car? Yes. It's a system that is greater than the sum of its parts, and the book you recommended I read by Donna Summer (or Donella H Meadows) talks a great deal about this. I agree with her on this.

In the example above, a 67 Mustang can become a 68 Mustang and be the same car, just as a person can have all of our trillions of cells replaced by new ones (and we certainly will within our lifetimes), or replaced by something that isn't exactly the same cell.
Let me pose one more question for "food for thought":

Your contention is that if you replace all of your parts with inorganic ones, you are no longer "you." What if you replaced all of your parts with exactly identical ones, down to the atoms (or possibly the quantum scale, if that's possible- which we really don't know)? Suppose I have one individual cell that I replace with an identical cell we create (but it's really exactly the same in every conceivable way). I'm still me, right? How about 2 cells, then a billion, then many trillions? Still me, right?

Ben in Wales (okay, this one's not nearly ridiculous enough, but it's cool)

Ben

I'll agree that the nurse example wasn't exactly what I was remembering but the question that is sparks for me remains the same, if she had died and was revived through some future medical technology would she be the same person or have the same consciousness?
The dualism question is important to me, though I think I may not of been coherent in my last assemblage of thoughts, because it is important to define the parts of the question. Specifically, what is "consciousness" what is "me/ the self". To talk about consciousness or the self as separate from the parts that generate it doesn't work for me. The reason it matters what you replace it with is because the nature of the items converge to dictate the quality of the consciousness. A robot brain will function differently than a human brain because the input is fundamentally different. It begins to be experience and be conscious as a robot which alters the nature of the consciousness if it started as human. Again I think this comes back to an evolutionary perspective, everything is close enough to the thing next to it to be indistinguishable but there is a big difference between us and us a million years ago.
I will have to disagree about the car. At point "A" you have the original, points "B" through "Y" you have a hybrid and at point "Z" you have a replica, even if every version of the hybrid was functional and you never stopped driving it. Point "A", the original is sitting in a scrap pile in your yard. Your experience of a functional car, even the same car, may not have changed but your experience has no bearing on whether it is the original or the replica. I think that you would notice though, the knobs on the radio change, the dashboard, but everything happens so slowly that your mind smooths it over. It is the illusion, the narrative that makes the car the same to you even though it isn't.
Perhaps a important question in this is "when you say "is it me?" Who are you asking the question to, and when are you asking them the question?"
I realize that your position is coming from an internal perspective, "will I recognize me as me". My short answer is yes you will, but it will be a lie. I have been addressing this mostly from an exterior approach, but it is where the two collide that I think my comment about the kid to adult continuum might come into play. I understand your position as stating that the kid and the adult are the same person because they share a conscious narrative. However, as a counterpoint to this position, if you think about the individual characteristics or abilities of the kid compared to their adult self you would not confuse the 2 if you were given a list of their attributes. The only thing that ties them together is the internal monologue, which is handed off, not unlike being uploaded to a new physical form. This addresses your question about identical cells replacing each other. Your body does this every 7 years anyway(replaces every cell) so it doesn't matter if you generate the cell or if your body does. The kid has no recollection of his existence in the future but the adult has recollection of the past so the directionality of the transfer is a major factor in this. It doesn't matter what current human Andrew thinks about the what future transhuman Andrew experiences because current Andrew is long gone, he is only a memory in future transhuman Andrew's mind. Perhaps this is an extreme view but I hold that this is true for us now, we die and are reborn in every moment. The arrow of time keeps us from having a continuum of consciousness going forward, only looking back. We are never the same person from moment to moment we only have that illusion.
This is the point of philosophy. You know that you experience but can your experience be trusted? Experience alone is not enough to validate an argument, if it was than faith would be a legitimate means of argumentation.
In this case I don't know if it matters if you are vaporized and rebuilt from scratch or continuously uploaded the continuum looking back, the experience is the same. I don't think that there would be an internal gap in consciousness either of you were rebuilt from scratch. There might be inconsistencies as to why it is 50 years later, but your internal dialogue would be continuous, just really confused.
I don't know why I didn't think of this before but there are several episodes of TNG that deal with people taking actions within the ether of the teleporter. In one episode dealing with this Lt. Barkley's has almost this exact fear, during teleport he will be vaporized and what comes out the other end won't be him. In that episode though he interacts with several people who were trapped in the buffer signal after they tried to teleport of their exploding ship while he was in mid transport. Also in TNG, Mr. Scotty is pulled out of a buffer after 70 years following a similar incident. To me this says that they aren't simply scanning you and recreating you whole stock but are pulling your atoms apart and physically transporting them through space.

Me with a Mullet.

Source

Me

Just so that we're on the same page, and before we go too much further down this rabbit hole, do you believe that if you replace cells with identical cells from somewhere else, you are still you? Or are you saying that "you" from one second to another isn't "you" at all, since you're only you in the moment anyway?

If it's the latter, then transhumanism (I really hate that word) is no different than just being a person.

What confuses me is your insistence that the car is different from part to part. If you have a "hybrid" car the minute you replace the first part, then you're a "hybrid" Ben from moment to moment, because on an atomic level, you aren't the same "you" from second to second, day to day. Is it only if you notice it changing that your identity changes, or if others notice it, or either depending on your perspective?

Ben, One Tough Mudder

Ben

This

"you" from one second to another isn't "you" at all, since you're only you in the moment anyway

It really is definitional and evolutionary. We are having this conversation because we are looking at a small snippet of time in the evolutionary process of one creature. Not to get all lawyer-y but It becomes definitional, what is the "start" what is the "end". In this case it seems that we have started with a thing called a human and ended with a computer or robot etc that has inherited something from that human. It's just that my contention is that the thing that it has inherited is an outgrowth of the physical being itself and therefore any change in physical being changes what is being grown out.
I think your point though is more about the internal dialogue and awareness.
You are exactly right about me being a hybrid, everything is a hybrid all the time, there are only boundaries between things and no things themselves. It is like looking at a color wheel and trying to find "red" or any other color.
In regards to it identity changing it is both, they are inseparable. You can change without being aware that you are changing, ie your cells replacing themselves, cancer growing etc, or it can be a concerted effort. At what point did you stop being a white belt or start being a black belt? There is no clear cut line and there where many moments where you showed up and trained and didn't feel like you did any better than the class before but the guy you rolled with had just that much more trouble than he did before. At some point though everyone agreed that you were a black belt and your identity changed.

Ben Promoted to BJJ Brown Belt

Recap and Conclusion

Me:
Let me make sure I'm understanding your point of view:
"You" don't get to experience tomorrow at all, since you're not the same you tomorrow as you are today.
Similarly, you wouldn't get to experience a human 2.0 version of you in 40 years or so, because you're not the same you then as now.

Ben:
Correct. We aren't the ones that even started this conversation, we just inherited it.
I have an idea of space time that gets into this but I might need to try to explain it in person.

Me:
Gotcha. So the replacement of parts things kind of gets in the way of this point, I think. There are two separate conversations going on here.

If you're not you from one instant to the next, it's not really relevant whether you're replacing yourself with different cells or atoms, or replacing yourself with computer parts.

Ben:
Yes, that it what I was trying to get at with the interior dialogue vs exterior perception. For me at least they are linked though because I think that there might be a more drastic alteration of the conscious narrative when going for human to techno because the thing that is generating the narrative is ultimately different and that will start to factor in to the "experience". For example, you might start off remembering what it is like to be human but at some point if you don't have arms or legs then they because abstract concepts and that begins to fundamentally alter your experience and your memories of "you" the human being since memories are filtered through your present consciousness until they are ultimately overridden.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 2 years ago from Kansas

      Felt like I dropped in on an episode of The Big Bang Theory for a second.

      How cool for you to have a friend, who you can have such an intellectually stimulating conversation with.

      Talk like that around most people around here, and they will look at you like a cow looking at a new gate.

      Without reading your entire conversation, I think you consciousness is what it is in part, because of every cell in your physical self, so changing that, should change you, or your consciousness. So I guess I think that you can't separate the two, without changing you, into someone other than you, but similar.

      I think I just gave myself a headache, and I'm not sure if I even made any sense.

    • goatfury profile image
      Author

      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Pawpawwrites, do you think that you're no longer the same you as your cells change themselves over time (and they certainly do)?

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 2 years ago from Kansas

      Good point. Oh great, now you made me think again. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that each of us has a unique genetic makeup, which created a unique physical support system for our consciousness. Take away that unique support system, and I'm not sure if our consciousness would even exist. Or would be so different, it definitely wouldn't be us.

      I think minute changes, like on the cellular level, are just your consciousness evolving.

    • goatfury profile image
      Author

      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Pawpaw - what if there was a tiny piece of electronics inside your body? What about Parkinson's Disease sufferers who, even in today's world, have something inside their brain that helps them regulate their shaking?

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I like philosophical issues. I did a hub on zombies and the philosophical issue was what does it mean to be human. I think Ben is saying that consciousness cannot exist out side of a living body. I think so. The best we can do is to simulate consciousness.

    • goatfury profile image
      Author

      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Catherine, I think it's a bit more complicated than that. Ben is essentially saying that consciousness itself is an illusion that we have created, and I'm saying that you don't need to exist outside of the human body at first... but anyway, it's a crazy topic to be having a conversation on right now!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I will leave tis to the philosophers. Mere mortals cannot understand the nuances. It's interesting tho.

    • AnneCReed profile image

      Anne Campagnet-Reed 2 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Thanks for bringing up this interesting series of conundrums. It seems the debate began by attempting to answer the question of whether a human being's consciousness could be transferred into an inanimate object/being that would take on the identity of the originator, essentially becoming that human being. Then the conversation morphed into a different debate about whether conscious identity persists over time within an ever-growng, ever-renewing being. For the sake of clarity, I'll address the first question only. Instinctively, I would argue that a human individual's consciousness is unique to that individual, and is non-transferrable. I think most humans probably feel this way, because, as humans, we jealously hold onto our identities. Experiments in AI are starting to blur the lines between human and "robotic" intelligence. To some degree, it has been shown that machines can "think," but probing deeper into whether they can have consciousness requires a definition of the word that does not currently exist. It begs the question "What is consciousness?" Who is qualified to answer that? Would a committee of scientists, spiritualists, and neuroscientists be able to come up with a definitive definition? Maybe some day there will be a consensus that man-made devices can be conscious.

      Now, assuming that a robot (or the "cloud") were capable of consciousness, would it be able to assume, or take on, the consciousness of a particular human being? That is the question. Instinctively, again, I say no, emphatically. Why? Because a human is a human, not a robot or a cloud. Body and consciousness, living together, are what makes us who we are. Changing one thing makes us something else -- a hybrid, maybe, but not ourselves. And a 67 Mustang is a 67 Mustang, not a 68 Mustang. If you swap out enough parts, you no longer have a real 67 Mustang. (This is a non-parallel representation of the body/consciousness question, because a car isn't conscious--at least not by my definition). The Portuguese Man o' War jellyfish is made up of many different organisms, but they live in an inter-dependent symbiosis as one larger organism. If you take some of the organisms away, they die, and the jellyfish dies. Human consciousness is the same way. It lives attached to the body of the human who bears it.

      Maybe in another millennium, none of this will be relevant, because all consciousness will reside in the cloud, or in robots, and maybe there won't be any more humans as we know them.

      Here's something else to bake your noodle (as the Oracle said): You (Andrew) started off the post refuting the postulation that a person's consciousness might be upladed to the cloud after they die. What would happen if their consciousness were uploaded into some exterior medium while they were still alive? What kind of havoc would that wreak? Could there then be a single person with a dual consciousness? Or a multi-conscious being? Would the different consciousnesses all have the same thoughts and awareness at the same time, or would they have wildly divergent thoughts, emotions, etc? Would they argue with one another? Hmmm...

    • goatfury profile image
      Author

      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Anne, do you believe that you could replace ONE part from the 67 Mustang and still have it be a Mustang? What about just one piece of your brain - would you still be you?

    • AnneCReed profile image

      Anne Campagnet-Reed 2 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Well, that leads to the next discussion: at what point does a thing cease to be itself and become something else? There are states, from pure to ... surrogate. As regards cars, that's pretty easy to answer: a group of car restoration fanatics/club officials will (or already has) gotten together and agreed on some standard as to how much of a car needs to be original in order for it to be a true vintage car. But cars aren't people. They are not conscious.

      On another note, and by way of analogy, think about genetically engineered tomatoes vs. organic heirloom tomatoes. I don't know if you like tomatoes, but I do, and I'll take an organic one from my garden any day over a plastic-tasting one that sits in my fridge for six weeks without showing signs of spoilage. It doesn't taste or feel like a real tomato, and it seems weird and unnatural. I am suspect of its nutritive value, and wonder what unknown effects it might have on my organs when I eat it. My point is, we have learned over time, as we have evolved as individuals and as a species, what is real and what is imitation. I call it "instinct," but that is not to be discounted as a non-scientific measure, because humans have been fine-tuned to perceive on so many levels what is original and what is modified; what is real and what is fake.

      Now, with regard to humans: Think about the 1970s TV show The Six Million Dollar Man, and the Bionic Woman. Or someone who has had a hip replacement. Are they still themselves? Most people would say yes, because they still have the same basic sense of identity, the same consciousness. So it becomes a question of degree. How much of a person can you replace or modify before that person is no longer him or herself? We seem to accept that a person retains his or her basic identity, even when physical parts are changed or removed. A paraplegic or a heart transplant patient is not generally thought of as being a defferent person from their former self. Unlike the car analogy, though, we don't view people as a sum of their parts, but rather by a much more qualitative measure of their behaviors and personality. So changes to the brain that change an individual's behavior patterns are considered much more important in determining a person's identity than changes in non-brain parts changes. There are documented cases of perceptible, qualitative difference in people who have had certain parts of their brains removed. That was obeserved almost 2 centuries ago in the case of Phineas Gage, an American railroad foreman who lost most of his left frontal lobe in 1848 when an iron rod went through his skull during a blasting accident. He lived for 12 more years, but everyone who knew him said he was a "different" man, because his personality had changed significantly since before the accident. It could be medically argued that he became, in fact, a different person. A lot of what is currently known about the localized functions of the brain originated from that case. I'm not as familiar with the state of human brain transplant data, but I would imagine that, given a different left frontal lobe (which is associated with social interactions and behaviors), a person's behavior could be transformed enough for people to consider him or her a "different person." And I might be inclined to agree with them.

    • goatfury profile image
      Author

      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Honestly, I'm far less concerned (as I hope I articulated in the article, but perhaps not) with whether other people *perceive* me as a different person, as I am with getting to continue to experience my own personal existence. To me, that's really the only question that matters: if my brain is "uploaded" in a fragmentary, incremental fashion, let's say, as Ray Kurzweil suggests in "How to Create a Mind", do I get to experience this happening the whole time?

      /Pandora's worm box

    • AnneCReed profile image

      Anne Campagnet-Reed 2 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Hmmm.... I guess you'll find out if & when that happens!

    • goatfury profile image
      Author

      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Indeed, Anne. Just trying to troubleshoot as much as possible. Side note: could you please attach a ridiculous picture of yourself with your next comment?

    • AnneCReed profile image

      Anne Campagnet-Reed 2 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      No, but I did upload a profile pic. Have a great day.

    • profile image

      Herschel Concepcion 2 years ago

      Here's a good vid on the "post-materialist" perspective emerging in science.

      http://wavechronicle.com/wave/?p=3159

      In response to the 'ridiculousness' of consciousness defining reality:

      The idea is not that far-fetched. It's at the very least no less unreasonable than the assumption that consciousness is an emergent property of matter, i.e., the brain.

      Because of the inherent difficulty of defining subjective phenomena using objective parameters there is zero hard evidence to back the theory that the brain produces consciousness. Sure, there are 'correlations' between conscious activity and electro-chemical neural impulses, but that is not sufficient to validate as scientific fact that this correlation represents causation.

      Conversely, because I personally find more truth in the existence of my mind than in the existence of what my mind perceives as 'matter', I am slightly more inclined to believe that reality is derivative of consciousness. Consider, for example, that what 'seems' like solid physical objects are, in fact, clusters of subatomic particles held together by fields comprising an area which consists almost entirely of empty space.

      Like Descartes said, I can't always trust my senses to bring to me the reality of a situation. Of course this also makes it difficult to prove any theory of an external world outside the mind, but it is a good exercise for remembering never to assume as truth what has been established as scientific fact or conventional wisdom.

      The burden of proof lies heavier on prevailing theories to maintain relevance, because that is what humanity uses as its measuring stick. If matter, which is not even a fundamental concept in physics anymore – but rather is a generic term for what physical objects are 'made of' – is basically an appearance (i.e., an illusion) according to quantum mechanics, then I am more apt to believe that reality is determined by the one fundamental concept that can be proven to exist almost without doubt: Consciousness. Not matter.

      Matter is not reality. It is a conscious interpretation of reality.

    • profile image

      Keisar Betancourt 20 months ago

      You are a pattern. You is whatever you make yourself out to be for internal purposes and you are whatever you are made out to be for external purposes and the two exist simultaneously but are not the same. The pattern which is you is subject to change based on both internal and external features. You may cease to be you to society when you upload yourself and they can no longer ascertain the you-ness. You may cease to be yourself when you undergo an epiphany and your psychological makeup is in flux, even while seeming entirely the same to everyone else.

    Click to Rate This Article