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

tony.jeffs tonyjeffs2 at
Wed Jun 5 18:59:46 EST 2002

English singer-songwriter Elvis Costello was talking about one of his songs
in an interview.
An ode to a very old lady suffering from dementia,  and in the lyric he
wonders if she [(or maybe  her consciousness)] goes to heaven bit-by-bit as
the illness progresses over a few years.

A favourite site of mine:
One way cartesianism  by Dr Roger Carpenter


"Matt Jones" <jonesmat at> wrote in message
news:b86268d4.0206051202.47193f3 at
> "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
> > 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
> bigger).
> 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.
> Heaven?
> Matt

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