Friday, 11 June 2010

A Persian Trick to Save Authorship

The Persian Army had one his own Elite Special Forces, the “Immortals”, a group of 10 000 soldiers highly trained, highly motivated and with a legendary record of success. They were so feared, that they've been nicknamed “the Immortals”: no chance against them. They were actually quite impressive, but they could die. Simply, after every battles, the dead ones were replaced with new guys. The army was then composed by “the same”.
When we speak of the possibility of saving the memory of our consciousness after the death of the material support (the body), a similar trick is in play. Indeed: what we are talking about? Information? OK.

Minds differ from brains, because we spread our intelligence in the sorrounding environment, both temporaly and spatially. My mind is extended in the cultural tools of its society. My brain has been accelerated by a hosting culture to become a mind. In the infrastructured environment of a culture, per definition “memory” of consciousnesses are saved. We talk about Achilles and Siddharta Gautama. Their consciousness have been handed down all along the centuries. A possible refusal of this concerns the “incompleteness” of the consciousness arrived to us. Fair enough, you can argue that we got only fragments of, say, the mind of Jesus Christ or Plato. That's why it's difficult the intepretation...

Good point. Let's take something closer. Wittgenstein or Ivan Karamazov. I personally would say that “I know” what Wittgenstein would say about something and the same for Ivan Karamazov. It's because I dedicated to these subjects a lot of time and passion. Refusal: we appreciate your effort, but we don't give you credit to be the only voice of Wittgestein or Ivan Karamazov. It's easy to image someone else, with the same authority and an opposite view. 100% true. OK. So now try someone really close: a dad, a brother, a spouse. I really know what they would say. I'm one of the most autoritative storage of their consciousness. If I weren't, then I would be in crisis about myself...

Welcome. Indeed it's not difficult now to figure out a situation where your dad/brother/spouse hid you something. Or even better: you will be a reliable substitution of their consciousness in the majority of case, but not in all the cases. Your algorithm to substitute your family consciousness is not perfect, it's good, but not perfect. Do you think we are just missing chunks of information? Do you think that the perfect substitution is just a matter of filling all the boxes? Your consciousness is a sequence of episodes, randomly embodied in a region of space-time. This is what we call “I”. If every information about me would be stored and replaced in another material support, I'm pretty sure the new puppet woul behave precisely how I'd have. The puppet will show some philosophical behaviour and for the rest of the world it would be pretty much the same. Except for me. I wouldn't “re-open” my eyes, this time in the new puppet, it wouldn't be “season 2”.

The very fragile subjective experience is not informative. It's a random breeze, a stigmergic production of the environmental narratives. Our cultures generate the sense of authorship of the narratives: there are protagonist, there are narratives, there must be authors. It's like when in a story, the character starts to quest: not matter my importance in this tale, I could be just an invention of the author. The 20 century literature is precisely dealing with this form of deconstruction: a character is talking directly to his author. Now we can do the same to our authorship.

The fact that autorship is alive, doesn't entail every author is. Remember the Persian trick....

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