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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Self is to Long-Term Memory as Awareness is to Short-Term Memory

This is a brief addendum to a post I made a while back where I gave a casual but mathematical discussion of will and reflective awareness in terms of self-referential structures ("hypersets").

There, the following recursive definitions are given:

"S is conscious of X" is defined as: The declarative content that {"S is conscious of X" correlates with "X is a pattern in S"}

"S wills X" is defined as: The declarative content that {"S wills X" causally implies "S does X"}

Funky, huh? Chew on that for a while!

My point here is to posit a similar definition for that strange beast called the "phenomenal self" (and for a gloriously, Germanically thorough treatment of this entity, please read Thomas Metzinger's masterwork Being No One):

"X is part of S's self" is defined as: The declarative content that {"X is a part of S's self" correlates with "X is a persistent pattern in S over time"}

One thing that's nice about this definition is the relationship that it applies between self and awareness. In a formula:

Self is to long-term memory as awareness is to short-term memory

Elegant, huh?

Your self is nothing more or less than the awareness of your persistent being.

Your momentary awareness is nothing more or less than the self of your instantaneous being.

(Time-span makes a big difference! Indeed, time is almost equivalent to "difference." But that's a subject for another post, for another late-night fueled by too much green tea and too many weird ideas...)