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Monday, 10 July 2017

The human Truman Show

You may remember the 1998 movie The Truman Show (IMDb), in which Jim Carrey lives in a village observed by cameras and unknowingly features in a reality TV show. Some scientists argue that humans may also live in a virtual reality, like The Matrix (IMDb).

Perhaps, you may already have wondered whether you are just a pawn in a game by the Gods. I must admit that this thought has indeed crossed my mind once in a while. Sometimes events occur in our life that are just too difficult to grasp. Such events might be similar to humans playing (evil) games with ants (eg, New ScientistNPRVolkskrant).

A human body consists of some 37.2 trillion individual cells (link). Nevertheless, it feels as if we are one. Every 7-10 years, the cells in our body are replaced by new cells. Yet, we never feel a different person. Perhaps our most remarkable body part is our brain. René Descartes once stated: “I think, therefore I am”. Explaining this concept of “thinking” is however far from easy.

I have argued before that our human mind (brain) doesn't feel the limitations of our human body. The human mind might even be trapped in our ageing body. Our solution is creating humanoid sapiens, our future descendant (see my blogs). This might qualify as an escape attempt, similar to Neo’s escape attempts from The Matrix.

Another way of looking at the above is that our human body is a mere "vessel" for our mind. This thought occurred to me after reading the movie plot of Meet Dave (IMDb).

My most provoking thought is that our mind is a mere “cell” in the Mind of the Universe. Concepts like consciousness, (self-) awareness, and thinking would suddenly require new definitions. A human body would enable that "cell" in the Mind of the Universe to perform “machine" learning. Human intelligence might then be a derivative of "artificial" intelligence rather than vice versa.

The above is in line with a concept called panpsychism. Wiki: “In philosophy, panpsychism is the view that consciousness, mind or soul (psyche) is a universal and primordial feature of all things. Panpsychists see themselves as minds in a world of mind. [] The recent interest in the hard problem of consciousness has revived interest in panpsychism.”

Wiki: “The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how and why we have [] phenomenal experiences—how sensations acquire characteristics, such as colors and tastes.”

In my view, the answer is about (machine) learning. Our mind has received a sublime "vessel" for picking up information and digesting it. Without that vessel, no new information could be processed. An expanding Universe might equal expanding information - or learning.

The only thing that separates humans from being learning machines is our Soul (zaqiqu in Sumerian). According to ancient Sumerian beliefs, humans "woke up" following a divine "breath of life" - or breeze. This concept still applies in subsequent religious beliefs like Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Soul is the divine gift that makes humans unique.

Summer (Sumer) breeze (1972) by Seals & Crofts - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2