For those of you who have been following my entries, I have been focusing primarily
on the big question of consciousness. What is it? What causes it? I beleive the
answers are coming soon, so I think that rabid discussion about it needs to start
taking place. It's no longer a matter of pure philosophy. And to encourage this,
I am going to use this article to propose a thought experiment that exposes a
little of how we think about consciousness.



First imagine right now are you sitting in front of your computer. (Or if you have

more than one computer, pretend you are sitting in front of your favorite computer).

We typically don't think of the typical PC as being conscious. A PC is a tool. We use our

hands to interact with it. We send it commands by using our fingers, and it responds by

giving us visual and audio feedback.


Now lets think to ourselves how our own biololical nervous systems operate by themselves.

Consider our eyes for a moment. We normally wouldn't think of our eyes as being the place

where our consciousness is stored. Although this may be arguable to only a certain extent,

if someone loses an eye, we don't say that that person is any less of a person than he used

to be, as in any less conscious. We think of the eye as just a summed part to the whole of

the human being, but it is not the human being itself. Thus, the eyes can be considered to

be a separate functional unit of the human being, with little or no loss to the overall

consciousness of that human being. We can now go foward with this claim, that the eye is

not essential for what is known as human consciouness, and apply the same dichotomy in

the above paragraph that we did with the computer. We will compare how the the human

being communicates with the eye.


I don't know the exact details of this process, but I don't need them for the point I want to

make. I am going to show that the way in which I communicate with my computer is

essentially the same fundamental process as the way I "communicate" with my eyes. My

eyes give me great infomation about the world. They can tell me the wavelength, the

intensity, and the direction of light. That's a pretty good deal! So I send my eyes and

message and tell them I want to look at the tree over there, so my eyeballs dart towards

the direction of the tree, and now I am happily staring at the tree. If you beleive the argument I gave

in the above paragraph, then is it also not impossible to accept the logic of what I mean

by "communicate" with me eyes. This can happen, because I can safely disregard my

eyes as being the carrier of consciousness, and I can say remove my eye at will...if I really

wanted to, it could be done...but I won't. I will just leave it as a thought experinment for

you. But can't you see now that I have painted a picture of the human eye as something

that could be conscious, but doesn't nessicarly have to be? And if you accept that, then

doesn't it make sense that a computer could be conscious, but doesn't nessicarly have to be?

Computer's and eyes are essentially doing the same things. They are both just

communicating information to the human being, who has the consciousness, and then

that conscciousness sends its commands based on the information just sent.

Do people with computer chips "hardwired" into their brains as treatment for several different

types of ailments, think of the chip as adding to their consciousness? If it's just a computer

chip, then what is the difference between that and the computer chips that are currently

outside our skulls? The only difference is that the computer chip communicates with you

more directly, on what may be completely subconscious levels. If these people consider

the chips inside their brains to be part of what their consciousness is, then what's stoping

us logically from thinking the computers currently outside our brains are really not part

of our consciousness, besides a few layers of biology?