Part 2: Proof of The Soul
There is another use for Pandora’s Contraption, which is to prove that the Soul (a unique conscious sense of ‘I’) is without doubt not an emanation of the brain. About 500 years from now, computers could be used to try and teleport people, much like in Star-Trek. If every atom is duplicated, and the original body destroyed then the body is technically teleported. Or is it? Would the unique sense of ‘I’ move from one body to the other? I answer this by mapping out the five permutations that could arise if we decide not to destroy the original body. So Pandora’s Contraption completely duplicates a person. We cannot preclude that there is a sixth scenario, so if you have such then I’d certainly like to hear it.
A) In this scenario the second body is always just a corpse. No matter how accurate the copy, it never comes to life. So we would have to conclude that the body is not the equivalent of a person, and the brain does not cause the mind to exist. If the brain did cause the mind then our duplicate brain should have conscious life. A Soul would therefore be something more than the mere physical body.
B) Here the second body comes to life. But when I myself am duplicated, all I see is another person very similar to me, an identical twin; but still it is actually not with my own unique awareness. Here the individual sense of ‘I’ is still only local to my original body. I would thus certainly not want to be teleported because when my original body was destroyed I would actually die and be replaced by a clone. Once again, the unique sense of ‘I’ is not a product of the brain, because ‘I’ am not the clone.
C) In this possible scenario, when the duplicate is made, my unique sense of ‘I’ is actually in both bodies. So I am aware of the existence of both sets of perceptions. So I must be able to compare both perceptions with each other from the perspective of my single unique sense of ‘I’. If one could not do this, then I would not be an individual‘I’. Comparing the two perceptions from the two brains and two bodies would thus also entail remembering both sets of observations. So how can the one brain access the perceptions of the other brain unless those memories existed somewhere else other than the brains? So ‘I’ is not something localized to a brain, and must exist outside of each brain in order to be a single entity that transcends both bodies.
D) Now let us explore a more complex scenario. If the contraption swapped all the atoms in your brain with all the atoms in my brain, but returned them in the same shape as they originally were, we would certainly still be ourselves. But we also know that options A & B demonstrate that the arrangement itself will not produce the unique conscious identity. And option C certainly locates that identity outside the brain!
E) This entails lots of big Latin words, fancy looking diagrams, ridiculously complex math formulae, expensive machinery and computers with lots of flashing lights and many very stern-looking, frustrated, middle-aged big men in white lab-coats who sneer, attack, and even threaten all who disagree with their conclusion that because of sophisticated reasons that you are far too stupid to understand, the first 4 scenarios are religious mumbo-jumbo, and that therefore: consciousness is a product of the brain. At which point the machine goes ‘ping!’
So what conclusions can we reach? Well the first 4 scenarios show that a brain consisting of atoms does not have the property of intrinsic individual uniqueness; whereas a single conscious mind consists of an absolutely unique sense of ‘I’. So a unique mind cannot be a subset of a reproducible non-unique brain. The important quality missing in the replicated brain is uniqueness. But we also know that many reject this idea and instead adopt option E.
Is it possible that such people do not actually have a unique sense of ‘I’? Or perhaps they do, but they do not comprehend how words work. After all, a parrot may say: that E is true, but that does not mean that the parrot is devoid of consciousness, but just that it mimics the sounds it hears when it is rewarded – without any comprehension as to what those words actually mean. Of course some people may also comprehend the logic, but can be persuaded to say what is untrue for the sake of reward. So how important is it to say what is true? Is it forgivable to lie for the sake of personal advantage? Or does lying eventually result in suffering, if not in this life, then in the next?
What if a person took option E, not really comprehending what they were choosing, but then later realized that they had taken the untrue option? Now there are two paths to take: retract one’s steps in all humility, or carry on skimming profit from the expensive machine all the while knowing that all ones deeds are perceivable from the next world. Of course the further down the false path one is, the harder it is to turn around. But in that case it is most vital to actually do so.
then dare to ask this question:
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