Human consciousness. Transfer can not be copied?

A geek's health is, above all, a geek's healthy brain. Where is the geek in the brain of a geek?

In this article we will talk about a very burning (in all senses) topic - about our consciousness or self-consciousness, or even the soul can be expressed - in short, about that innermost “I” that we don’t want to part with, even after living in the world long. I do not want to part to such an extent that we have built gigantic religious and philosophical constructions, and now gradually parting with them, we hope for scientific and technological progress that will ever give us eternal life.

How a person came to such a life - singled out his beloved from the outside world, divided the spiritual and the material, invented the gods and the afterlife, and why that was how it all happened - this is a very interesting, but separate story that you can tell next time. Now I would like to touch on the practical facts related to our self-awareness, which to date in an incredible struggle were able to wrest from nature neurobiologists and cognitive psychologists armed with the latest technology with tomographs and encephalographs.

Therefore, spiritual things, astral, transmigration of souls and another world, we will have to reject. Illusions, of course, are very attractive and science is not even needed. Be good and you will have eternal life. But as the NATURE magazine correctly writes:

“Both the human body and mind evolved from earlier primates. The way of human thinking testifies to such an origin as convincingly as the structure and work of the limbs, the immune system or the cones of the eye. It is not only about the mechanisms of neurons, but also about such "higher" mental manifestations, as well as morality. The fact that the human mind is a product of evolution is not atheistic theology. This is an indisputable fact.

Is it possible today, seriously, to the idea that the human mind is the "reflection" of the divine mind? It is extremely unlikely that a creature capable of creating the Universe may have a mind, even remotely similar to ours. After all, our rational mind is arranged exactly, just as the rational mind should have been developed, which developed in an evolutionary way with a straight-eared monkey adapted to life in small, closely-knit teams in conditions of the African savanna. ”

Why did I decide to post on the Geek Times? Well, of course. If any self-respecting geek is pressed against the wall, he will still admit that he would like to live “well, not forever,” but at least a thousand years. It takes a lot of time to solder arduinks, to make whistles on a 3D printer, to launch microsatellites into orbit. Again, an artificial woman - until you build it. Virtual reality, games, sound around, artificial intelligence, a trip to Mars - here and a thousand years is not enough. Tell the peasant from the Middle Ages that he will plow forever to the feudal lord and the Pope, so he will immediately run to drown. And for us, and eternity is not enough. And most importantly, we want to see there in the future, WE, and not our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, in whom, allegedly, we will be present or some of our copies, created again by literate descendants based on our exhumed bony remains by reading DNA . Well, my almost complete copy will live and please the descendants. And I myself, who died, where will I be?

The funny thing is, but even now - where is the "I", no scientist can tell me exactly. And I haven't even died yet. But for now, the main versions, where a person has his center of self-awareness and what the scientists have are as follows.

In the areas of the cortex located on the inner surface of the hemispheres: 1 — orbitomedial prefrontal cortex, 2 dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, 3 anterior and 4 posterior cingulate cortex.

Northoff, Bermpohl, 2004.

Of course, this is hardly something that says a normal geek, but still. There is even a picture.

Perhaps the population of neurons, providing the unity of consciousness - this is the so-called fence - a layer of brain tissue, located under the cortex. It is associated with almost all sensory and motor parts of the cortex, as well as the amygdala, which plays an important role in the work of emotions, and exchanges information with all these structures. And it is able to connect and coordinate the work of various parts of the brain, for the unity of conscious experience.

So, by the way, Francis Crick himself suggested, the one who discovered the structure of DNA. Supposed to 2004. Then he died. It seems like I wanted to found an institute dedicated to studying this fence, but how things are now is unknown.

Widely scattered on the cortex and thalamus.

Gerald Edelman, one of the leading theorists of brain and consciousness problems.
Needless to say, scattered our "I" with a generous hand all over the brain.

What touches

So, what is it - self-consciousness, it seems to be like.

The basis of human consciousness is the awareness of one’s own “I” awareness of self-awareness.

It's not me, it's Eric Kandel namudril, the Nobel laureate. In one sentence, four times "consciousness" with different prefixes.

Consciousness is a set of results of various computational processes occurring in the areas of higher order cortex associated with the later stages of information processing.

Daniel Dennett is a modern philosopher.
Of course weak and not knowing about it. But it is difficult to expect anything from philosophers.

Closed ring neural circuits.

Alexander Markov, our famous biologist. There he has a whole page, but just like a closed neural circuit - there is no concrete conclusion, what the sentence: “But this knowledge doesn’t bring us much closer to understanding where I am coming from, speaks for itself.
Simply sensory representations, which gradually acquired certain qualities and properties, for the “manufacture” of easy-to-use portions, as they are delivered to the central structure of the brain. As a result, there were highly organized representations (representations) that served the new computational problems. And these meta representations over the main brain (well, which everyone, not just people) developed into a secondary “parasitic” brain. And it was developed by people, in order to create a more economical display of automated processes occurring in the “main” brain.

Vileanur Ramachandran, a fairly well-known comrade, doctor of medicine and philosophy.
He likes to lecture on this topic. Just his Francis Creek asked to study further the fence, not to leave this case. But apparently in vain.

Consciousness corresponds to the fleeting, active and subjective feeling of working memory. And it does not appear in one place, but from the preconscious , in a number of areas forming a network - a global workspace. In order for consciousness to gain access to information, preconscious information must be transmitted through the brain. Consciousness in this case is nothing more than a broadcast broadcast of preconscious information.

Bernard Bars is a specialist in cognitive psychology and at the same time I suspect that the founder of the BROADCASTING broadcast is in IP networking protocols.

This is a general illusion of our brain: it hides all our connections with the material world and the social environment and creates in us the feeling of our own independent "I."

Chris Frith, famous British neurophysiologist (but not one of those British scientists).
Do not understand? Naturally - this is the result of his whole book "The Brain and Soul". I cannot bring it entirely here for obvious reasons. But it is worth reading it - about the illusions of the brain and how they can really explain the phenomenon of self-consciousness, it is written there quite on the case.

As they say, sparsely. And most importantly, it is not clear how to preserve it, or, all the more so, if necessary, transfer it to another carrier. But one thing is clear for sure - everything is within the shard, rests there on the material substrate and does not fly away to the Creator in the high mountains after death.

In the meantime, a geek who has fallen into a difficult situation can only be advised to freeze the pot in liquid nitrogen. Of course, ice crystals all fuck up in all the brain cells. So it remains to rely only on the technology of the descendants who, when defrosting, correct the current curvature of cryogenics. But until that time, the head part must also be maintained at low temperatures, which is not in fact what will happen, especially after some regular global financial upheavals and bankruptcies of limited liability companies.

In the near sight 5-10 years, we can expect an alternative option. Why freeze your head if you can transplant it on a healthy young body. There are so many of them naked on the Earth running in third world countries. Humanists will, of course, be outraged and demand the cultivation of headless clones, but the practice will put everything in its place. The liver is not just to grow, but the whole body and even more so. We'll have to expect a tsunami of criminal medical tourism in Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. And then another movie star or politician will say: “yes, I’m just doing yoga and vegetarianism, so I’m not getting old.” And ordinary rich people won't say anything at all - "it is nobody's business". Donors are also good (in the sense, to their relatives), they gave the best young virgin to a transplant - then the whole village may not dry out for a year. By the way, it is much more profitable than outdated human sacrifices for the gods.

True, there is still a problem here - the acceptor's brain remains the same, already lived, and nothing prevents it from slowly degrading further. There will be such a Parkinson in the body of a young Schwarzenegger. But technologically it seems to be already achievable. No wonder Dr. Sergio Canavero went to China. For the general secretaries of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and not only they also want to live long. And criminals in China have been accustomed to disassemble organs for a long time.

Is it possible to somehow rewrite our “I” and save it on a carrier, be it an artificially grown human brain or silicon one? Questions, however, arise in what it is exactly from the original and how to write to the media, not to mention how to make such a carrier. So far, we don’t have any technological possibilities to carry out these processes in any way, which gives an opportunity to our spiritually advanced colleagues to laugh and tell, say, it’s not so easy to extract the human soul and that it’s only you know .

Therefore, let us, for a change, imagine that we have HIS possibilities. Or almost HIS.

Suppose we have mastered the art of teleportation. Well, as you have mastered: in one booth you are sprayed into atoms, and in the other on Pluto, they are recreated from local materials. In general, a well-known and even I would say, a hackneyed example. Yes, sir. And when the spraying device broke, and the device responsible for the re-creation, no. Then you meet and look at each other in surprise. Or another forty people who nashtampoval recreator. He, too, in turn broke, but in the other direction. And where between you runs ONE unique your human soul?

It is clear that since the situation is theoretical, one can always say that the second device can recreate you, but the truth is only in the form of a corpse or, at best, a vegetable (not in the form of eggplant, record-sized, of course, but in the state of a living body, but in a coma). And how do you check who is right? After all, even if you try to theoretically imagine the work of this recreator, you will involuntarily make it clear in the back of your head. We are not a solid body, if we are recreated in layers, then everything will start pouring onto the floor in the process. And how to copy simultaneously with the neuron itself its electrical state? After all, it’s not just the information carrier, but also the code itself. A simple example from today. Even from yesterday, when our specialists disassembled the enemy chips in layers. The substrate itself can be copied. And how to copy the code recorded there? If we are dealing with a masked ROM there everything is not difficult, copy yourself one to one. And you don’t copy FLASH like that, since you are shooting a material carrier, but you also have to take into account the state of charge in the memory cell.
But the most important (and sad) thing is that, even overcoming all these technological difficulties of a cosmic scale, you will get just your own copy, or even let one body in a coma, as supporters of the one and indivisible state. Never mind. You have at best transferred your identity but not you personally .

No, of course, this scientist and this option will do. I mean those luminaries who were not afraid to drink the contents of a tube with a cholera vibrio in the glory of science.
It doesn’t matter to them that their “I” will disappear along with the old body. Another "I" in the new body will continue to work. For work for a scientist is the main thing. Yes, in general, and for those around you, and even more so, not close people, too, there will be no difference whether you are standing in front of them or your exact copy. But for yourselves, I think, the difference will be significant if you are certainly not ready to drink a test tube with cholera to the glory of science.

And everything again brings us to the question of how we are such unique and special personalities, and then - once! Our copy looks at us and says: “This is me Vasya Sidorov. And I need your passport and wallet. ” But the reality, as usual, is even worse. In fact, we are not alone inside our head either.

If scientists are right in their assumptions about the “I” distributed in some areas of our brain, then the isolation of these zones should in theory lead to the splitting of the “I” into several autonomous units, also, in general, individuals. To some extent, they will, of course, become detrimental compared to the original “I”, but this will not prevent them from existing and realizing the world around them. And scientists seem to be right, because when evil doctors for some medical reasons break the link between the patient’s right and left hemispheres (cutting the so-called corpus callosum), they end up with two separate individuals, by the way, over them operations. True, it is interesting that these individuals do not exist at the same time - they change one another and, as a maximum, they can only vaguely realize the presence of the second “I”. Well, or may come to the conclusion that there is another purely intellectual. Therefore, if you find in your home a note signed by you, but about which you do not remember - think about it! Especially if it says
(1) If the questions are meaningless, then you will not find meaning in the answers either.
(2) I am a living being.
(3) I live on Mars.
(4) I am in the division of the so-called Army.
(5) The Army intends to exterminate other living creatures that live on Earth.

A light experiment on observing how individuals can change, you can conduct yourself by looking at the following picture.

The left hemisphere, based on an aprioristic model, gives us the first hypothesis of what we see, say, a vase, since it is the left hemisphere that is excited when reacting to familiar objects. But here the right hemisphere notices something new, namely the contours of two faces. It inhibits the left hemisphere through the corpus callosum and when excited it builds its hypothesis - now we see not a vase, but faces.

But since your corpus callosum is fine (hopefully), the whole observation process, you produce as a whole person.

You can also change your personality by turning off or weakening the work of certain areas of the brain. For example, after drinking a liter and a half of vodka. But, of course, the person who will be released will be another one. Many zones are turned off in a dream and therefore, for example, you do not feel horror seeing a friend who, as you know for sure, has recently died.

What does all this have to do with the preservation or transfer of our "I", you ask. Just a minute of patience. We must understand what we should save.

To do this, we will conduct an experiment (alas, while the mental one), but, by the way, it is quite close attainable by our technologies. Unlike the already mentioned teleportation. We will not be petty with some zones in the brain, we will change over the whole hemisphere.

The only thing is, it is necessary to first clarify whether a person can live with only one hemisphere of the brain, both with the right and with the left. Just do not tell me that the vast majority of the population of the Earth, generally live without both.

So, life without one hemisphere.
Jill Taylor was engaged in the postmortem study of the brain of people with severe mental disorders. There were not enough samples, and she traveled around the country with performances in which she urged people to donate the brains of their loved ones to Harvard. On December 10, 1996, Jill Taylor herself broke a stroke: a vessel burst, supplying part of the left hemisphere of the cortex of her brain. Neurons lost their nutrition, they just swam in the blood. Gradually, the hemisphere is almost completely turned off. But not at once.

Having felt the first symptoms - paralysis in the right hand, lethargy, changes in the perception of the environment - Taylor made a non-standard decision. “This is a unique chance, how cool! I will be the first neurophysiologist to study a stroke from the inside. ” The woman seemed to have taken popcorn and settled herself more comfortably in the first row: to observe how the left hemisphere is extinguished, how rational thinking, speech, and perception of time are lost. A few hours later she went to the hospital. On the way, completely disconnected. Later, Taylor underwent surgery: a blood ball the size of a golf ball was removed. Then, in a few years, the functions of the left hemisphere were finally restored. And then Dr. Taylor was able to describe in detail what she remembered. From this description was born the whole phenomenon of culture: performance Jill Taylor. This is a lecture, and a book, and a site, and many television interviews.

In fact, before Taylor's speech, we knew what happens when the left hemisphere is turned off: speech, verbal thinking and comprehension, the ability to read and control over the right half of the body disappear. But all these observations were made by doctors in evaluating patients. Taylor's observations are from the inside and therefore priceless. True, there is one problem: at the time of the stroke, Taylor lost her speech, and therefore could not formulate observations; her memories are a collection of images. Verbal description was born later. In collaboration with a Gestalt psychologist, Dr. Taylor was able to recreate the events of that day (in fact, having experienced them anew). This time she was armed with words.

The main thing that she highlights in her experience is not the loss of certain skills and abilities. Taylor describes what kind of load falls from his shoulders when the experience of the past ceases to hang over a person. How he relaxes and what harmony with the world he finds when the left hemisphere with its rational, verbal, analytical perception fades into the background and the right hemisphere comes to the fore - emotional, whole, living strictly "here and now
There, of course, there are many emotional deviations (therefore, it is abbreviated), but what to do, the author is a woman, although she seems to be a scientist herself.

There are actually a lot of examples, but there is little space in the article.

And in general, such an operation is called hemispherectomy.

Plus, countless cases of hemorrhagic strokes that completely turn off one of the brain hemispheres. Of course, there is little pleasant in them - paralysis of half of the body, violation of many vital functions, but for us the main fact will be that even if we lose one hemisphere, it doesn’t matter because of a stroke or a medical operation, we don’t lose our personality and after waking up in the morning we can always determine that we are us.


So, we proceed to the experience. Take two identical twins . We draw a cross on one hand, and a zero on the other. Then, under general anesthesia, carefully remove both hemispheres from one and put them in a nutrient solution. Or throw it away. We do not need them anymore.

No not like this. We have some kind of Nazi medicine, only Dr. Mengele is missing. Let it be different. One Humpty Dumpty fell from the wall (or on skis like Schumacher on a pebble) and lies in a vegetative state. And so, in order to revive grief-stricken parents, the second twin is going to sacrifice one hemisphere for his brainless brother. Well, what, the kidneys are transplanted from the twins. Surgeons scratch their heads and agree (it happens in the near future. Canavero already transplants the heads of rich Chinese on the bodies of poor Zambians).

So now we have a pathetic and heroic background.

So, we draw a cross on one hand, and a zero on the other. Then, in the second twin, we take out only the left hemisphere and carefully (here the main thing, you know, accuracy) transplant the second one. And then we are waiting for their (twins) awakening. Why took for example twins - of course. They have everything there is the same and there is no autoimmune reaction to the transplanted organ. The operation is certainly complicated, at the limit or even beyond the limits of the possibilities of modern medicine. But this is not teleportation.

Why did we do all this? And you imagine yourself in the place of one of these twins. But not the one whose whole brain was left on the side of the road, but instead of the second one who had only half pulled out. And it turns out one hemisphere remained with you, and the second went to your twin brother. And on your hand you had a cross drawn, you yourself saw how you drew it. And now, you finally wake up after anesthesia. The question is - will you have a cross or a toe on your hand ?

I would like to know the correct answer before copying myself a loved one.

To be continued.

References for geeks.
1. "Biology of sensory systems" K.Smith 2005
2. "The Birth of Reason" V.S. Ramachandran 2006
3. “The Age of Self-knowledge” E. Kandel 2016
4. “In Search of Memory” E. Kandel 2016
5. "World Mind" M. Horost 2011
6. “Brain and Soul” K.Frit 2017
7. "The Evolution of Man II Monkeys, Neurons and the Soul" A. Markov 2012
8. “The Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut


All Articles