Consciousness ~=~ self-referentiality' (was Re: Consciousness, New Thinking About

Matt Jones jonesmat at
Wed Jun 5 15:02:14 EST 2002

"tony.jeffs" <tonyjeffs2 at> wrote in message news:<j6QK8.2499$376.152104 at>...
> Well I just wrote a long reply and pushed the wrong button, so start
> again...
> Yes  Continuum of consciousness sounds plausible.
> A constant level of consciousness in the universe in the universe sounds
> less plausible, though;
> If I go to sleep, I think my contribution to the sum total of consciousness
> ceases to be.
> If not, where does it go?
> Tony

I guess these "where does it go" questions have to do with
"conservation", right? Like, if consciousness is a universal
primitive, then it must be conserved, like mass/energy or angular
momentum? Yep, I see what that's a problem for the universal primitive
idea, at least as long as one insists

To me consciousness seems more likely to be describable as a sort of
"information", for which there are many very precise definitions, or
"complexity", for which there are none as far as I know.

Information, as defined by Shannon, is like entropy (actually it's
literally the difference between two entropies). It doesn't need to be
conserved, but it can't ever get past a certain upper bound (the
bigger of the two entropies), and in general it keeps getting smaller
as it's transferred from place to place (whereas entropy keeps getting

This doesn't really describe consciousness, or provide an answer to
where your consciousness goes when you're asleep (or dead). The first
part is easy, I think. When you're asleep, your consciousness doesn't
go anywhere. It just turns inward (at least during dreams).

When you're dead....

oh I don't know.



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