Thursday, April 14, 2011

Zip when it moved

Pick any random multi-digit number. 4534644 will do (a previous phone number). Have each of those numerals represent a birthday. Next, let’s flitz through those years.

At a given moment you find that you are four years old. Great. Nothing wrong with that. That’s how old you are now. You are not surprised; after all, you remember 1, 2 and 3. Four is just how old you are at present.

From there, let’s say that your awareness flitzes to age five. Well and good—you’ve aged as expected. You remember being 1, 2, 3 and 4. Five is simply how old you are at present.

But then suddenly you are three. How will that work? Let’s see. You remember being 1 and 2, so you’ve aged as expected. You have no memory of being 4 or 5, so they must be still in your future. Three is how old you are at the present. You have aged as expected from 2. That’s all that you know.

At any age, the previous birthdays are nicely nested. You never have pre-knowledge of years in the ‘future’, so from your vantage point (and from those of your parents) there is nothing unusual going on.

When you hit four for the second time (though it may as well be the 10th or 100th) you don’t do a double take. You don’t even suffer déjà vu. As far as you’re concerned, you’ve just turned four after having been 1, 2 and 3. You haven’t retained anything from when you were four previously.

Jumping from four to six, you don’t perceive any gap, because when you turn six all your memories from 1 through 5 are instantly uploaded.  The last birthday party that you can recall is your fifth, ergo you have lived it. Been there, done that.

In this way, every jump in any direction—forwards in time, backward, and even sideways—poses no problem at all for Mr Stick.

A deck of cards is all that you need to make time pass. You don’t even need a thumb flipping through them. Leave it sitting on a shelf if you like. No sleight of hand is needed. It’s active without any help. It’s alive. It whirrs and pulsates and a little light flashes (maybe a virtual electron leaping from one energy state to another). The nested nature of its consciousness moments causes it to happily imagine itself alive and passing time. It hums and purrs contentedly like a screen saver.

Isn’t this nifty? We now have a model for life, or rather one particular lifetime. A creature’s life is simply a set of instants. Each instant contains an awareness of its other (‘past’) instants. It’s hardwired into them. It may be that this set is subset, although it could also be the universal set (how’s your New Math?). Creatures are separate only if their consciousness instants have no awareness of each other’s.  If you can't remember it, you can't lay claim to it

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