I wonder what it means to say my consciousness is separate from yours. After all, I can pick up a phone, or author a blog post, and tell you what is on my mind. And if I observe your situation, my empathy tells me roughly how you are feeling. I can't experience your situation exactly as you feel it, but as long as we can communicate I say we are part of a shared consciousness.

By analogy, I'm sure the various parts of one person's brain don't experience reality the same way as his other parts, yet we consider a brain the agent of one consciousness not several.

I was thinking about this recently as I contemplated the enormous coincidences in my life, and how they suggest that I'm living in some sort of a programmed reality that is far from random. It seems odd that at the age of six I would pick a career as a famous cartoonist and then thanks to a spectacular series of coincidences it actually transpires. And what are the odds that Dilbert and Dogbert would have no mouths then their creator loses the ability to speak to an exotic and reportedly incurable condition? And then, against all odds, he is alive at exactly the time in history that one surgeon in the world, who lives nearby, perfects a surgery to cure it. And it works.

Sure, I know life is full of coincidences. But mine seem off the chart. And this makes me feel I am living in some sort of programmed reality, or perhaps a Boltzmann Brain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boltzmann_brain

The good news is that no matter what model of reality you pick, we're all part of a shared consciousness as long as we can communicate and empathize.

Have a great holiday if that applies to your country. I probably won't post again until Monday.

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Nov 26, 2008
Webgrunt, I wasn't trying to make an argument. I was mostly just spouting off in my frustration of Scott's entries that deal with philosophy.
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Nov 26, 2008
The simulation theory is not only plausible but our most likely mode of existence if there is no God. Any race of beings capable of creating conscious simulations would create far more simulations than there ever were "real" people just to beef up the sample size of psychological experiments. Ergo we are either the only beings in existance (unlikely given the amount of life producing water in our solar system), or most likely part of a computer simulation.

The fact that Adams wanted to be a cartoonist at an early age is not significant. Just because 99% of the people who want to be cartoonists (or football stars, or novelists, or...) fail does not mean that it is significant that the 1% who succeeded did succeed. It's just statistics.
Nov 26, 2008
1. Your sample size is one. There are 6 billion other people, and many of them haven't experienced amazing coincidences. Some guy dreamed of an astronaut when he was 6, and through a series of crazy coincidences he gets into astronaut school, and then...gets hit by a car.

You need to ask lots of other people whether crazy coincidences happen in their lives. If you find 99 people who don't find anything particularly wild about their life situation, then maybe you're just one-in-a-hundred lucky. *Someone's* got to be one-in-a-hundred lucky (or even one-in-six-billion lucky - no reason it can't be you.

2. Life involves a *lot* of events. So does your cartoon strip. If your tie got stuck in a conveyor belt, giving you a serious injury, and also causing a permanent upwards crease in your tie, then that would be a strange coincidence considering Dilbert's gravity-defying tie. But that didn't happen. Look at all the coincidences that didn't happen.

All that said, the idea that we're in a simulation is plausible. I just don't think that the coincidence evidence you've mentioned makes it much more likely.
Nov 26, 2008
Every time you do an entry on philosophy, I find myself thinking "this is some of the dumbest crap ever." Your theories are ridiculous and it seems as if you don't even really care about the need for meaningful proof. But I was thinking about this today and since you're so fond of theories, I thought I'd offer some of my theories as to why you persist on in this types of entries.

Option 1: You recognize, just like most people, that all of this stuff is crap. But for some reason, people read this material more than other material - perhaps because it is controversial. Since this type of writing increases traffic, or at least the amount of time spent on the blog by each visitor, it also increases the price for your advertising, which in turn helps you financially. So in the end, these entries are a business investment. Who cares if they're stupid?

Option 2: You're actually foolish enough to seriously believe this stuff.

Option 3: You don't believe it, and you don't get any financial benefit from it - but there is great personal benefit in reading the masses of frustrated responses. In other words, you get some kind of twisted kick out of annoying certain groups of people.

I personally think option 2 is unlikely - you seem intelligent enough, so I like to think that you recognize the vast problems behinds these "theories". I'd go for options 1 or 3, though more likely towards 1, since you seem to be very business minded.

Regardless, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving - or in the case that you really do believe this stuff - I hope that you are programmed to have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Nov 26, 2008
To my knowledge, no one has invented a two person hat. That is why.
Nov 26, 2008
So what about people whose life coincidences just make them more miserable? Whoever is controlling the preprogrammed reality just likes !$%*!$%* people over?
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Nov 26, 2008
I don't really have anything to add to your topic. I just wanted to tell you how much I look forward to your blog posts everyday!
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Nov 26, 2008
Two thoughts:

We all have coincidences in our lives. Some have more impact than others. In an extremely large sample, eventually there will be your set of coincidences and you'll remember/note them. Whether that means everything is truly random, that we're preprogrammed robots, or whatever, we really can't tell.

Maybe everything is random (increasing entropy) but our brains are attempting to put some order to that randomness. In other words, coincidences are random occurrences that our need for order or our perception of reality calls coincidence.

Nov 26, 2008
Choice lets us use and remember the coincidences that lead in our direction and makes us forget the coincidences that don't. We make the plan, but there is no script. Random behavior of the world does not mean it is chaotic, coincidences don't mean disorder.

There is nothing off the chart - I have that also. Often I look back and find what a lot of things could easily have gone wrong for me but didn't - whew! It is not so peculiar - you just have to take the right bus that goes your way, you don't have to actually drive the bus.
Nov 26, 2008
yups ! As you said every body seem to live into a programmed reality .I too live in a programmed reality and i share the thing what i do with my friends !

Nov 25, 2008
blah blah blah selective memory blah blah blah self-fulfilling prophecies. We've been over this.
Nov 25, 2008
1/. Some other bugger stole my username, so I'm using revdrjon, not drjon. Sorry. Whatever that drjon's been posting, it's not the real drjon.

2/. I was speculating about this a year ago: http://drjon.livejournal.com/931093.html

3/. As always, I don't read replies here. Leave them on my blog. Sorry.
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Nov 25, 2008
Maybe it's all part of the scripted plot that our lives are part of. I feel the same way sometimes, especially when you see a purpose in things that happened earlier, that contributed to what you are now.
Nov 25, 2008
Maybe I'm naive, but as I find it strange that the odds of a brain (the most complicated thing in the universe known to man) is likely to just appear. As for the coincidences I've got to agree with bubba jones, Scott just happened to be one of the few cartooning dreamers who reached a cartooning reality.
Nov 25, 2008

Jean-Paul Sartre speaks of something that might help your continual retelling of the same "I knew I was going to be a cartoonist from the age of six." Is it not possible that since you became a cartoonist you "remember" those aspects of your childhood that give your current situation meaning. If you had become an architect then you would remember playing blocks all the time and the great structures that you created as a six year old.

Unfortunately, take this need for meaning and your "skepticism" and what you get is this stupid Boltzmann's brain. Don't you ever wonder why you claim to be a "skeptic" but you believe that most ridiculous things? Its because your skepticism is only clever by half. Hume once said that at the international skeptics meetings after they have doubted everything in the world they still left through the door and not the window. Skepticism is an easy starting position and not philosophically "deep". Its childish and leads to believing that we are the dreams of robots, or whatever.
Nov 25, 2008
Let me get this straight...
1) Scott wants to be a cartoonist from a very young age
2) Scott achieves his dream of being a cartoonist
4) Scott concludes that he is an unbelievably improbable quantum realisation of a brain (somehow) suspended in empty space with a complete set of memories of an entire world that supports his childhood dream of being a cartoonist, whilst the entire world he has so far experienced, including the notions of 'a brain', 'age', 'a cartoon' and so on, are all illusions.
Can we have a bit more detail on step 3 (magic) please?
Nov 25, 2008
richsmi01's comment # 2 mirrors my reluctance to believe that there is much truth to Darwinism. If we can grow a pair of eyeballs over the melennia, why aren't we all walking around flexing our pecs (that we don't have to work for), gloating about how far mankinds intelligence has progressed since Einstein's generation, and walking around bowlwgged due to our enormous packages? And why aren't women born with...(oh, forget it. This page isn't THAT anonymous!). And what about those pesky sexually transmitted diseases? Why hasn't mankind evolved to the point that promiscuity makes one wise? And what's the deal with fattening foods? Why is all the stuff that tastes the best bad for us in some way? Why couldn't we have evolved to the point that Oreos burned more calories than they contain? Stupid Darwin!
Nov 25, 2008
Are you trying to be an astrologer? You are pulling it out of your arse more than normal.

Keep it coming, though...
Nov 25, 2008
A human brain isn't a preposterously unlikely random collision of particles that happened to form a thinking organ. I would argue that sentient life is an emergent property of life, which is an emergent property of some self-perpetuating chemical reactions. Those reactions are a result (likely or otherwise) of "the right chemicals" existing in "the right conditions." The preposterously unlikely scenario is that s chemical framework would occur, which creates an iterative process like life.

If you regard sentience as being an arbitrary property requiring billions of years of iterations and a marvelously complex chemical and energy framework, a Boltzmann Brain is a pretty ridiculous notion.
Nov 25, 2008
I agree with Emma's Weeney: It is so odd.
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