Monthly Archives: February 2012

Maybe you’re not that special.

Edward Sung dove deep into the well of consciousness, inspired by the age old question, “Do teleporters kill and recreate you, and if so, is that really you?”

It got me thinking about how ill-defined consciousness is and why we care so much about it.

Sometimes, I think consciousness is important, but other times, I feel it’s narcissistic for us “higher” order organic systems to make a big deal out of consciousness.

We’re systems that sustain ourselves for a period of decades. When these systems operate, the layers of reactions that are furthest from outside the system manifest as consciousness.

When we observe other systems that take actions in response to stimuli in a way that is similar to ours, we assume that those other systems work in a similar way and assign it the status of being conscious.

When a system such as, say,

  • A plant
  • A unicellular organism
  • A virus
  • A tire fire, or
  • A star

does not respond to stimuli in a way similar to ours, we say that it is not conscious.

However, they have their own ways of sustaining themselves, and they have their own particular internal tensions and reactions. How can we be sure that these are really that different from what we have labeled consciousness?