Is there a soulish component to your existence, or are you just “thinking meat”?


(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Continuing the discussion from Should we Fear Artificial Intelligence?: Pre Readings:

  1. Is there a soulish component to your existence, or are you just “thinking meat”?

(Patrick Prabhakar) #2

If we were just ‘thinking meat’ I wonder how do humans continue to exist (empirically proven!) though being in a brain-dead situation as in a deep coma?

Also, if abstract and deep rooted memory play a pivotal role in thinking, what about individuals who had lost their memory, do they cease to exist? On the contrary, they seem to still exist to live. How does one infer this?

The above two questions raise the possibility of a soulish component in human existence.

Further, the ‘power of choice’, that we possess is the reason that I suppose if we were just ‘thinking meat’ (thinking randomly by randomly fired neurons), we wouldn’t have any choice to present, even a simple ‘Yes/No’ to any question. If we were ‘thinking meat’, we would have no control over our thinking, for we would be in a continuous loop as in a computer program always thinking without a consequent action either propelled by reason, intellect, intuition, or emotion.

We humans are not alone ‘thinking’ beings but ‘doing’ beings, now this doing is a consequence not of just ‘thinking’ alone , as ‘thinking’ alone needn’t necessarily result in an action (we can always be standing in a place and just keep thinking; like a never ending continuous loop in a computer program). On the contrary, we deduce from our thoughts and exercise our conclusion.

This power to exercise our thoughts, this ‘choice’, this ‘will’ to do what we desire, doesn’t it exhibit a soulish component beyond just our ‘thinking ability’?

Also, where does emotions such as (love, rage, bliss, despondency, fear, worry, pain and a whole other lot of them) arise from, do they arise from any specific organs within us?

And, while we dream as we sleep (completely at a loss of total consciousness), do we have a ‘backup meat’ to think when we are actually not awake and fully conscious? So, does this ‘meat’ control us rather than we being in control of this ‘meat’? Food for thought.

Weren’t there times when we have made choices beyond our reason? We had a knowing, an unexplainable instinct, intuition, emotion?

If we are all just ‘chemicals’ reacting in our body and making us act accordingly, isn’t it hilarious to think that these ‘chemical reactions’ or so called ‘thinking meats’ go through emotions. During my school days, in the chemistry lab, I’ve never seen a chemical feel happy or sad (and I don’t remember it thinking too).

Perhaps in the future (maybe the advances in science will one day experiment on this!), if we were just ‘thinking meat’ and if all our organs were transplanted into another body, would ‘we’ still be the original ‘we’? Would ‘our own thinking meat’ still continue to think as ‘we’ used to think in the new transplanted body? Or would there be just another living ‘thinking meat’ without the ‘we’ having a new ‘thinking’?

Finally, what about people who had been revived after having become completely unconscious whether in an accident, or because of any other disaster? These inferences definitely do point to a soulish component in our existence.