So our topic today is Consciousness and Identity. This is something we’ve looked at before and I felt we should spend some more time on, and so this is going to be mostly a concept article where we overview a lot of the stranger approaches to this topic.

Toward the end we’ll look at the notion of how immortality or very long lifetimes can potentially mess with personal identity and even explore a somewhat strange solution to the Fermi Paradox involving identity that we’ve not looked at before.

But we should do away with the preliminaries first. There is no definition of either consciousness or identity that is universally agreed on by philosophers, which is a bit amusing since both are things that everybody knows what they are. I am me, you are you, my cat Prospero is my cat Prospero, though I’m not sure he knows that’s his name or just some noise I make when I want his attention, which he’ll sometimes deign to grant me.

Of course when you get around to it that’s probably what names began as anyway, a specific noise made to get a specific person’s attention. We all know what identity is. We all know what consciousness is. But if you try to slap a proper definition on it, things tend to get complicated. I sometimes wonder if trying to describe identity in terms of concepts is like trying to describe smells in terms of colors or sounds.

Some things you just can’t describe without resorting to a circular definition, which is a definition that is circular. We know people change with time, most of your cells are replaced gradually and those themselves routinely take in fuel and material to replace damaged components. There are probably some atoms left in your body from when you were born but odds are good a lot of those left your body at some point and have since returned by coincidence. But while the child often differs from the man or woman they will grow to be, we know they are the same person. We just know it. We’re probably wrong but it hardly matters because it’s like free will, if it doesn’t exist it makes precious little difference if we incorrectly think it does since that thought was predestined to happen.

If you don’t have free will then you don’t make decisions any more than a rock does and you don’t have opinions any more than a rock does. And if identity isn’t something more wide spectrum than your exact position of atoms at this moment, then there isn’t any you to have opinions since the you who thought them up wasn’t you, it was someone else, and not the same person who was listening when I began this sentence, or whoever it was who began that sentence, since that wouldn’t have been me. Such ruminations are absurd… they might actually be right… but they’re still absurd in the sense that there’s no reason to contemplate them since if true they’d mean you’re not contemplating anything anyway since there’s no you to be doing the contemplating.

So for the purpose of this article we will assume this article has a purpose, and that I exist as a distinct entity and so do all of you. I can doubt many things but I can’t doubt my own existence since if I don’t exist there wouldn’t be anyone to be doing the doubting, which doesn’t prove I am thinking or exist, but it does prove there’s no point doubting your identity, since you’re incapable of doubt if you don’t exist. Thus, since I think, I am. We’ve been whacking our foreheads against this wall for centuries, it’s occupied the minds of some of our greatest philosophers and to this day we’ve got no conclusive answer.

So it isn’t one we’ll answer today. Quite to the contrary I’m just going to throw in some extra mental confusion by seeing how science and concepts from science fiction have made this whole set of topics even worse. I mean there is a reason why this is called the existential crisis series, if you don’t want some aspirin by the time this article is over I probably haven’t done my job.

So we know people change with time, both in their software and hardware. It’s not just addition either, you lose stuff, cells die, atoms switch out, memories get forgotten. We usually say that if its gradual and it maintains continuity in the process the identity has been maintained. I plant a seed, that seeds become a sapling and grows to be a tree, throughout that process identity is maintained. Even though there’s few if any atoms left over from that first seedling. If I chop it down and make a table, and a bunch of firewood that becomes ash that becomes fertilizer for my garden that become vegetables I eat on that table, well, identity would seem not to be maintained.

I could maybe argue that the table was kind of sort of the tree still, but I can’t take that too far, not to the point of claiming my salad from my garden fertilized with wood ash was, because that path leads to madness. You then argue that the tree, coming from a seed from a previous tree, is actually that tree, except that claim is a lot less crazy since at least its contribution was significant, in terms of DNA.

It would still get confusing since that tree came from a tree too, which would then have an equally valid claim as the grandfather tree of being the tree I cut down and made a table and salad out of. Your parents have an even better claim, under the default definition of the people whose DNA you got and who raised you. And we know identity really is blurry there too, because you did pick up a lot your personality from the people who raised you, and a lot of the physical traits of whoever bred you, and both if those were the same people.

But if they weren’t, most of us would say these days that it was the folks who raised you who have the better claim on your identity. We tend to think the software matters more these days. So if I clone you it’s definitely not you, it’s just a younger twin sibling with none of your memories, or maybe arguably your kid, via parthenogenesis, depending on how you look at it. What if I duplicated you? Okay, now we have a copy of you complete with memories.

Now we know in time you and they will diverge, and arguably count as separate people right from the first moment, after all software matters most maybe but hardware is a big deal. Now the hardware is mostly identical, if I copy you into a full grown clone body, but it’s not getting the same sensory inputs or experiences anymore. Of course it could be more than that. If I duplicate my mind onto a different body, say a professional basketball player, I won’t know how to play basketball, but I’ll be better at it then I am now and I’m sure being way taller than average will alter my view of the world more than just literally, though that’s enough.

Now if I just switched bodies with him, we would view it that way, we switched bodies, not minds, the body is the inferior partner in the pair. We wouldn’t say, if Bob and Todd switched bodies, “Hey look, there’s Bob with Todd’s Brain, we’d say Todd is in Bob’s body. If that stayed that way long enough we’d probably say Todd was now that body too. Maybe it’s a whole new identity, but there is no one with a better claim to that identity. And that’s probably important, and will be when we look at this with the Fermi Paradox in mind at the end. Maybe Todd isn’t actually Todd anymore, but nobody has a better claim to be him. Maybe you aren’t who you were ten years ago, but nobody has a better claim to that identity then you do.

Most of us would agree that copy wasn’t actually us, but it was a pretty good approximation, and if a friend died and was so duplicated, complete with memories, we’d be pretty justified in treating them as we did the friend. A lot of folks would say it was the same person. That’s why concepts like mind uploading or dumping yourself into a clone body tend to be popular routes to immortality in fiction. So I’m on the table getting ready for an upload or transfer after which I’ll die. In one reality that’s exactly what happens, I’ve got some untreatable illness and we’re going to clone or print me a new body, or maybe stick me in an android body or upload me to a virtual reality. And that happens and the new me wakes up, takes a sad glance at dead me on the table, and probably decides it is me. It’s a perfect clone of mind and body.

The Puzzle of Consciousness, Free Will and Identity

The Puzzle of Consciousness, Free Will and Identity

Now we handled a similar case when we looked at the Simulation Hypothesis, but we went through that quickly. At this point a computer monitor flicks on and a digital copy of me pops in proclaiming itself the true me, and downloads itself into an android. That android severs ties with the digital self and now we’ve got three of me standing around glaring at each other. Now because I am the sort of person who has contingencies plans for identity crises like this they actually all know the plan for such a weird scenario and throw 24 of the 26 letters of the alphabet into a hat, not an I for Isaac or an R for Rascally Rabbits, each pull one and pick an extra new name beginning with that letter to be used for internal conversations and official documents. They randomly divide my possessions.

Of course what they do about friends and family is a little trickier. In a very real way we are our friends and family and various professional or social obligations. It would be nice not to have to divide those up, certainly not initially but that could cause a lot of confusion, even if we made it very clear to everyone which was which. So what if someone found a way to keep us linked together so we could share memories?

Now this isn’t quite the same thing as a hive mind, where there is one single collective mind running everything, and all else are drones, but it raises the problem which we’ll get to in a moment. We could throw in a lot more folks too, like they cut my brain out and stuck it in a brain dead person who’d bequeathed their body to science, and raises the issue of if I’d want to have cosmetic surgery to better look like my old self.

That might get pretty intensive too. Let’s say a woman had her mind put in a male body, is she a man or a woman? Should she get gender re-assignment surgery? Or should she spend some time as a man to experience that? We’d usually say that’s entirely her choice, but if it were us making the decision as an individual, in terms of what we’d do, which would you do? So Hive minds. These come in a lot of forms, from the single mind running the bodies like drones to where everyone has simply done some sort of linkage to share some or all experiences, to a sort of loose internet that expedited chatting between them and allowed important material to be shared out automatically.

We always see this as multiple bodies, whether it’s one mind or many, but it could go the other way too. Imagine in the future we’ve reached a point where we couldn’t have more people. Earth’s reached its comfortable maximum and our colonies near us have too, and we just can’t migrate new people where there is space. And everyone is functionally immortal. Now folks occasionally still do die, suicide or whatever, so we still get some new kids. Indeed, maybe you can only have a new kid if someone volunteers to die. But a lot of folks who are very old, in terms of experience not body age, firmly believe we need to be bringing in new fresh minds, and at a faster rate than is occurring. Maybe they even get together, say 1000 of them, and agree to a lottery, someone dies from that group and a child replaces them.

The person with the short straw agrees to die when the kid is born, having nine more months of fun and a big death slash birth day party on that day and the kid is named after them. A bit bleak but pretty civilized. Now the question is who raises them? After all the person with the best claim is gone. Many might remove themselves from the contest, they might have an election, they might have lottery. But someone suggests that since many of them are trans humans with very accelerated thinking, and many are totally digital entities on a computer, that they could just build a mom and dad android where they all voted on each major action, and agreed to a general setoff behaviors while piloting the robot.

So the kid ends up with a few hundred people raising them as a collective pair of minds, with some guidelines to avoid either entity acting like someone with a very severe and real case of multiple-personality disorder. That way those who want to get to enjoy every minute of being a parent and the kid gets the benefit of having hundreds of parents most of whom might have thousands of years of life experience. It’s a bit weird, but I’d tend to guess the big threat to the child would be getting spoiled horribly.

Similarly, we’ve all got a long list of things we want to do, many of which can’t realistically be pursued simultaneously. Now while an immortal person has time to do everything we are also impatient. Maybe you’ve got three things you really want to do and get yourself cloned twice, and each of you picks one of those three things. Say one of you wanted to focus on running a business, another wanted a family, and a third wanted to go explore other solar systems. You agree to exchange memories every so often so you can all enjoy this.

You know you’ll diverge with time to become truly separate people if you don’t, and maybe will too anyway. Now that’s all fine and well, but now another person comes along and decides to make tons of himself, all to operate a giant business empire, with each individual copy going off to train to be an accountant, a marketing expert, a lawyer, and so on. This entity employs no one but themselves, as it were.

Now with all those different life experiences you’d expect this might fragment but let’s say it doesn’t. Society doesn’t really approve of this mega-personality of a million clones but they don’t break the law, they work hard, they pay their taxes, and many of them are out constantly doing volunteer work. But now a big election is coming up and they all decide to register to vote, all one million of them. And they are definitely planning to bloc vote.

What do you do? Now at the same time one of them goes out and does commit a crime, a pretty big wave of them too, many murders, and turns himself in, ready to take the consequences. Who do you charge? This seems like it would need to depend a lot on how tight that network was. If they really all totally separate people, then only one person committed the crimes and the others are either innocent or maybe accomplices. It would also seem like they all get to vote. But if they’re still one big mind, then they are all guilty and shouldn’t get even one vote since felons normally don’t get to. There’s probably going to be a very gray area in between, where you can see evidence of a single mind and evidence of separate personalities too.

This isn’t a sci-fi novel where the answer is going to be painted as very clear, simple, black and white at the end. So I’d actually encourage you to go with your gut instinct for the moment, whichever that is, individuals each with a vote or a collective mind that is guilty of murder. Let’s tack a different direction for the moment, and we’ll come back, but keep your answer in mind. If we are the sum of our experiences more than anything else, than adding those or subtracting those changes the person. Let’s say we have the ability to edit memories to, like remove a traumatic experience. Some would argue you shouldn’t do that, that we are the product of those events, good and ill.

Others might agree in general but would say, look this kid just saw her parents brutally murdered in front of her, we don’t need to remove that death, but we can at least just cut the minute she saw that. She’ll still remember they are dead. And that’s kind of hard to argue with, I mean the big objection would seem to be that it is a kid, and we are deciding for her, even if she’s quite happy to proceed with that she’s still not an adult. Flip side, what about adding memories to a kid, like sitting through a math lecture? Or for an adult even, if someone sits through a math lecture for you and transfer that to you and many others, are you now partially her, because you have those memories? Is that really any different than watching a recording of that math lecture, only in Ultra-high-definition, as it were? Bit of a tricky notion, since it would then imply some of my identity is being imprinted on you right now, and we know there’s some truth to this, we do inherit a lot of our personality from our parents and what they imprinted on us. We definitely do get our personalities, a big chunk of our identity, altered by those we interact with.

Let’s go in one more direction. If we are the sum of our memories, and I clone myself, mind and all, and it goes and commits a crime right away, it would be very hard to argue I’m not guilty too, just because I didn’t pull the trigger and don’t remember the event. We might even need to use an affirmative defense, which is when you have to prove something rather than have it proved against you in a court. Like Bob shot Todd and that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, because he says he did for one thing, but he says it was in self-defense and he now needs to show this is true.

We argue the clone was mentally unbalanced perhaps, or that the motive for the murder came after the process, that sort of thing. If we fail, we might both get jail time or the needle. The same would go for if someone deleted their memory of a crime. No memory, no guilt, some would say, but not the US courts. We’ve got some legal precedents for amnesia of a crime. In People vs Hibbler, 1971, a man with chronic alcoholism who didn’t remember committing forgery was convicted of it, and in Lester vs State in Tennessee in 1963 a murder conviction was upheld even though the defendant didn’t remember committing the crime. And in neither case was the ruling based on an assumption the person was lying, thought he jury or court might have thought they were.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they decided correctly though, but that is the precedent in US law if you’re wondering. Now amnesia can be used as a mitigating factor in sentencing, that’s separate, but the law hasn’t really had to deal too much yet with the idea that identity might be a mobile and flexible concept. Let me throw another out there for consideration. You are abducted by a man who just committed murder, he transfers his last year of memories into you, including the crime and original motivation for it, and adds your last year to his own, deleting the actual last year for both of you from your minds. This process is not reversible and the irritating thing is you have the motivations for the crime now too and you think the victim had it coming.

So who do we charge with the murder, and for that matter the abduction and mental assault? You with the memories and motivation for murder, and the kidnapping of yourself, or them? Who remember none of that except being kidnapped? Let’s make this worse by adding in a sympathy aspect. He picked you because you were the passenger in the car that hit his kid, and you best friend was driving, and wasn’t paying attention because he was messing around with the radio. You lied for your friend, saying the kid jumped into the road, and nobody really believed you but it raised reasonable doubt and he didn’t get convicted.

Now hitting someone on accident, no matter how negligent you were, is not murder but the father saw it that way and wanted revenge. He killed your friend and switched memories of it with you. Now if this was a novel I’d probably have it turn out to be that you were the one who actually was driving and your friend took the fall for you, and you lied to protect them, and you and the kid’s dad would end the story staring at each other in absolute horror, and either shooting yourselves in self-disgust or shooting each other in blind hatred. It’s not novel though so we are still left trying to figure out who to charge with a crime, and now which ones.

We’ve got perjury, murder, and abduction, not to mention whatever taking someone’s memories away forcibly or giving them forcefully would qualify as, which I suspect would end up being viewed as something at least as bad as rape. Now insanity defenses and mitigating circumstances can all play a role afterward but you first have to decide who is actually getting charged, and with what. This is just as bad with hive mind scenarios where the individual identity is still maintained. There’s, say, twenty of you who share a communal mind, exchanging memories and able to mentally talk to each other, but still essentially unique people. The memories aren’t shared as fully perhaps, so you don’t converge entirely into one personality.

One of the twenty joined because he’s got anger issues and being part of a loose group mind helps him keep that in check, and one day he experiences one of his score of mental kindred getting abused and it triggers him to go kill the abuser. Now in and of itself, that’s not complex, it wouldn’t be that weird to have a friend who related a crime against them that sent that person off to go get revenge on their friend’s behalf. Their friend didn’t ask them to, and so is guilty of no crime, and revenge might come up as a mitigating factor in sentencing but the murder still took place. It is a bit different if you’re sharing a memory though.

For instance, if someone attacks me and I kill them during that, that’s self-defense, if I go chasing after them afterwards, now its murder. Shooting someone in the middle of an argument is not the same crime as walking out to your car and getting a gun, then coming back and shooting them. It adds premeditation. But if your hive-mind buddy is busy thinking how much they want to kill that person and that’s leaking into your head with vivid clarity, it starts getting a bit dubious what the situation is. I suspect such contemplations will be nightmares for any judge who has to make the first ruling on cases like that, I bounced something similar off a friend of mine who is a judge and noted for having a good head for that kind of esoteric thinking and she just laughed and said she had no idea.

Can We Solve The Puzzle of Consciousness?

Can We Solve The Puzzle of Consciousness?

Law and science fiction make some very interesting concepts and conundrums that I feel tend to get neglected in the genre, or treated over-simplistically. Wasted opportunity I think. Whudunnit Murders are certainly popular in sci-fi but not so much the actual trials. So I go to the doctor and get a bad diagnosis, its cancer, its malignant, and I’ve got two years left tops. The next day I wake up and they tell me it’s the year 2100 AD, and the original me had a memory transfer done and meant to update it till the moment of his death, while I was being grown or stored in stasis, but they found out the clone, me, actually had a fatal genetic weakness pop up.

He, the original, had me stored on ice until they found a cure. He also got very bitter and sometime a year later shot someone and then died in a shootout with the police. Now I don’t have those memories, but we’ve already argued that just deleting the memories of a crime or even the motivations for it too, doesn’t necessarily make you innocent of it. But let’s say you think right now I am, what if they come up with the big black box that had my memories all the way up to death on it. If I am innocent right now, can we actually argue I’d stop being innocent if I downloaded those into my brain? And if that does make me guilty, wouldn’t that also make anyone else who downloaded them guilty, whether it was voluntary or not? Like with our passenger who got abducted by the father of the kid his best friend had run over?

It doesn’t actually matter if it was voluntary or not, that’s a separate crime and problem, if now having those memories make me guilty, then anyone else having them is also guilty, and not having them makes me innocent. So deleting my memories of a crime makes me innocent. This is a good way to tie your brain up into knots, and as I mentioned before I’ve got no answers. This is stuff to think about. Because it extends beyond that. Making yourself smarter for instance is very like mind uploading or replacing bit of mind with computer parts too.

It could be done gradually or instantly, but you can make a very good case it’s not you anymore. And a very good one too because suddenly jumping someone’s IQ up a few orders of magnitude is probably going to seriously change their personality. Arguing if a duplicate of you down to the last memory is you is maybe somewhat semantic. Ditto pulling out some memories or adding others in, the former shouldn’t result in any change of behavior except gradual between you and that clone as you develop different new experiences.

But usually when we talk about extending life in a transhumanism sense we’re talking about changing their mind too. You can make a pretty good case massively upgrading your mind or merging it partially with others is creating a new person and arguably killing the old one. Some might view it, especially major changes, as tantamount to suicide. Others might argue that it’s no different than a metamorphosis from child to adult.

Jessica isn’t the same person she was when she was a little girl, any more than that clones he made of herself ten years ago, complete with memories, is the same person now as she is now. Yet there was no death there, and Jessica in the year one million AD, as some giant planet sized computer orbiting with a few million other megaminds around Alpha Centauries a form of Matrioshka Brain, is probably not the same person anymore. Of course if things like identity and consciousness and free will genuinely are illusions, things we trick ourselves into believing to maintain sanity, I sometimes wonder if there is a maximum amount of intelligence something can have before it can’t trick itself anymore into believing in them and just shuts off, not even regarding it as a suicide.

It doesn’t help to add to that problem that a mind that big and potent, like we discussed in the article on Matrioshka Brains, has no problem simulating quadrillions of human minds simultaneously and could run through all their lifetimes, again simultaneously, in one second. If we can imagine ourselves getting bored after a few thousand years of life, to the point that death is just fine, imagine what that would be like for something like that. And your brain can’t store endless memories, but it probably can be modified to store millions of years’ worth without a problem, probably a lot more.

You might need to archive a lot of them or zip them down to take less memory up, but that itself shouldn’t be an issue. In fact, it ought to be so little of an issue that if we do figure out how to reasonably seamlessly integrate memories from other people into ourselves too, and run our selves at higher subjective experiences of time, overclocking our brain as it were, you’d expect there to be a huge market for experiences. I mean we could probably build a simulation, a virtual reality, of being the first person to step foot on the moon but is that actually the same as feeling the dread of being a quarter million miles from home in a thin tin can or the sheer exhilaration and awe of being the first person to leave your footprint there, of remembering the feel of lunar regolith under your feet? So it isn’t hard at all to think folks might buy up all the memories they can from other people. We’ve never really talked about currency before in a futuristic context, we probably will do a article on crypto currency pretty soon here, but we tend to figure the main commodities are energy or mass or processing power, but memories might easily be in there too.

And if you’ve got the capacity for it you might cram an awful lot of them in there, and people being people memories of crimes might be a big commodity too, openly or on a black market. Which raises the issue again if the memory of an event, like a crime, makes you guilty of it, or a victim of it if you remember the other side of it. And Identity could get real blurry if a billion people remember winning the Olympics, if me uploading my mind to an android makes that android me, it’s kind of hard to claim that me downloading the memories of someone who won the Olympics doesn’t make me that person too. That also means that to save space a shared memory might be stored in just one place, or a few for redundancy, and folks might end up with some equivalent to cloud memory storage e. All of which leads to the idea that civilizations where the people live a really long time and can move memory around and store lots of it might get incredibly touchy about the notion of identity theft, particularly in this especially literal way.

I could well imagine it being taboo or a crime to voluntarily transfer memories or mix memories or delete memories or run multiple copies of yourself. One person, one lifetime, one unique set of memories, even if that lifetime was essentially indefinite. They could get a lot touchier about that too, once on the pathway where uniqueness is important and violating it gets seen as the worst sort of crime. Not just, ‘you made a copy of me, you took my memories for your own’ but ‘you are impersonating me’. There is after all only so much true uniqueness, same as me tweaking a few things about you doesn’t change who you are, since that is constantly happening and so your identity is a wide spectrum.

If I took a book by Alistair Reynolds, say House of Suns, one of my favorites that plays with mass cloning, long lifetimes, and identity, if I took that book and changed just a few words, that is still plagiarism. Hands down. On the same idea, if I dye my hair blond like it was when I was a kid, I’m still me, and if I’d chosen to reference Peter Hamilton, who also incorporates these kind of themes in his work, instead of Alistair Reynolds, this is still the same article.

So identity isn’t some discrete state with clearly defined borders and there could actually be a limited number of them available. There are infinite shades of gray for instance, or may as well be, and the line between it and white and black is hazily defined, but there are only so many genuinely, substantively unique ones. And a civilization may decide that is, say, one quadrillion. There are only about a quadrillion reasonably unique personalities. Try to make a new one and someone says ‘that is identity theft, I want her deleted, she’s impersonating me’ and they might actually do that, after all nothing is being lost, there’s no new person in their eyes who is being killed.

I think that’s pretty dark but I could envision how something like that could happen, because I can see myself being angry, and we can all see ourselves being angry, at someone who tries to mimic us when it goes beyond a bit of flattery. In such a situation killing that copy might be seen as self-defense of your own identity, the only thing that probably matters to a transhumant society where if someone lops of your head they can just dump you in a new body and might just send the culprit a bill for that and fine for inconvenience and trauma. So I mentioned a new Fermi Paradox solution, and it ties to that.

I get asked sometimes if after the Dyson Dilemma, which as I’ve mentioned isn’t a Fermi Paradox Solution, it’s just a challenge to many of them that points toward one solution being more likely, if I’d come up with any solutions that still fit the criteria imposed by the Dyson Dilemma. Specifically, the notion of eternal expansion of a civilization till it runs out of new and uninhabited places to be. That’s essentially it, I can imagine that a civilization might permit only one of everyone inside itself, and that would impose a maximum population on them. I can also imagine them aggressively enforcing that. With the Fermi Paradox as I’ve mentioned before, it doesn’t matter if a civilization feels it has enough people if there are some dissenters, since unless they are willing to kill anyone trying to leave to setup shop elsewhere some will do that.

If you’ve come to determine there are essentially only so many unique identities and that it takes less than a Dyson Sphere to support all of them, and if you’ve come to view copying or impersonating that identity as the worst of crimes, yes you would send missiles and warships after anyone trying to flee your empire to setup their own new place with new people.

Because you would view those people as the worst sort of criminals. But this only works as a solution if they come to see identity with that degree of passion, and if that’s an inevitable thing virtually all civilizations go for. I don’t think that’s likely, I certainly hope it isn’t because it’s kind of dark, but I could see it happening. It would also only work if the number of unique identities was less than one solar system or a handful could handle, though considering how many human-level intelligences we calculated you could cram into a Matrioshka Brain that’s not much of cap. And irritatingly it fits in rather nicely with the Doomsday Argument, since you then have a set and finite number of people.

If there’s a maximum of, say, a trillion identities, us being among the first hundred billion of them is not particularly improbable. If those folks are immortal the count ends but it arguably doesn’t matter if they don’t since if Bob, with his specific set of twenty key personality traits, does die and they replace him with someone of those same traits, it’s kind of debatable if they actually replaced him or just resurrected him and the count remains the same.

And we can play a similar matching game with the Simulation Hypothesis obviously, though we’ll stop here for today. I don’t care for this solution as I mentioned, but of all the ones I’ve tried to slap together after coming up with the Dyson Dilemma it is the only one that I feel has sufficient consistency to earn a place as one. We’ll call it the Uniqueness Solution, though I’m tempted to call it the Uniqueness Holocaust solution but I suppose I’m obliged to try be neutral and open-minded even to my theories.

Consciousness, Free Will and Identity

Consciousness, Free Will and Identity

Summary version, we still don’t understand identity and consciousness yet, maybe we never will, and it doesn’t permit us to speak with much certainty about things in the future that revolve around that. Hopefully you’ve come away from this article with some more questions about this key topic of philosophy and science.

Next week’s article will be a look at Dark Matter, as we prepare to do some cosmology discussion to clear up confusion folks often have about the size of the Universe, Dark Energy, Dark Flow, Galactic Superclusters and Walls, and Voids. I’d thought about covering both Dark Matter and Energy at the same time but they truly are different topics and I’ve been letting the articles get too long again, I can’t realistically keep to the half hour plus article a week I’ve been doing of late and need to start breaking things into smaller bits.

As always questions and comments are welcome. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and like the Facebook Page if you want alerts when that and other articles come out, and if you enjoyed this article, share it with others, and try out some of the other series and articles on this blog. Thanks for joining me today for this look at consciousness and Identity and we’ll see you next time!