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...)


Anonymous said...

A really good ted talk about how it feels like if you dont perceive time.
Original Title: How it feels Like to have a stroke.

CygnusX1 said...

Indeed this may be so...

The realisation of the Self may entirely rely upon a preoccupation and association with memory. In other words, by the continual comparison of What was to what is from each moment to moment we persist. Just like continually pinching yourself to see if you are real?

Our perception of each moment and of change, and our reliance upon this habitual exercise may be all that keeps us alive? Even in a coma or a dream state, there is a need for us to invent scenarios that include change and comparison - no coincidence?

Without this attribute of short term memory we may simply cease to exist at all? Now if only I could try this for myself? The power to cease to exist once and for all by eliminating my short term memory!

Self awareness itself may be the result of short term memory comparisons. And thus, the Self, or Ego may be the creation from this attribute of memory over the longer term or indeed, long term memory. Character is a measure of long term memory and experience.

Yet I consciousness itself must be the prime mover, the first cause of this phenomena termed memory?

In short I consciousness begets memory and Self awareness and produces the Self, or Ego?

Or perhaps maybe … It is a collective and perpetual phenomena of memory which is the prime mover and the first cause, and from that which the I consciousness arises?

Anonymous said...

How you relate short term memory to awareness sounds very much like Zoltan Torey's endogram concept to me. Have you read this,

The Crucible of Consciousness: An
Integrated Theory of Mind and Brain

Anonymous said...

I am
I become

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