asides, tangents, and afterthoughts
(Originally posted 12/18/2012. Whenever I get to wondering why my website doesn’t get much traffic I read something like this and go “Oh right…”.)
When you ask a layman why they feel that teleportation will never actually be a possibility a lot of times you’ll hear that even if we are able to recreate a person on a subatomic level and get everything right that the person on the other end of the machine won’t actually be the person that stepped into the starting spot. It sounds reasonable enough until that person hears some fact on the internet that every one of our atoms is actually replaced every few days/weeks/months and that consciousness is actually the interaction between chemicals and not the chemicals themselves. If this is true then what difference is there between a person reassembled after being teleported and a normal person who has had all of the atoms in their body switched out and yet maintains their sense of ‘self?’
I’m careful to articulate that this is what a layman might say because I’m not smart enough to actually know what I’m talking (there is always a slim chance that someone reading this might be (although it’s doubtful given how dumb these usually are) … wait a second (case in point) … I seem stuck in parentheses (is stuck the right way to explain it?) how do I get out of a parentheses (even looking up the definition (“to enclose words not directly relevant to the main topic of the sentence but too important to omit” doesn’t seem to help) wait, there was one going the right way to get back to the main sentence (how many parentheses am I in right now anyway? Crap! Now I’m even deeper (I’m counting 8 (‘s against only 3)’s (not counting those as they are only part of the sentence and not real parentheses … shit! Now it’s even worse …) well that’s better (still need 5… wait 6 counting that last one … but I know that I have another) coming at the end of this though… wait for it …) yep, there it is (still not sure how to end the thought that started this mess))) hey! I got 3 closed parenthesis there) and another … (don’t even know how I did that … worth another try though)) cool, 2 more down ((I really should know this stuff as an adult) whoa there, since when does a thought start with TWO parentheses and only give me one ( at the end of it?) oh I see, it anticipated the additional thought it would take to explain the second ((doesn’t that infer that my keyboard can read what I am going to write before I write it? (not really as if it could it would never allow me to waste such large amounts of time typing obvious crap))))). Am I out of parenthesis now? How do you tell …? What the hell was I talking about (I could always go back and reread the beginning I guess)?
Damn, what a shame. I had this nice little sentence about going to bed one night and waking up to find I’d changed my mind without having changed my mind. Whatever.
So we’re not the atoms and we’re not the cells, so we can be teleported and step through on the other side complete with our identities and ready to roll. Grammar kills yet another heady scientific discussion.