The continuation of consciousness

The origins of the imperative, "know thyself", are lost in the sands of time, but the age-old examination of human consciousness continues here.

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The continuation of consciousness

Postby Silhouette » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:58 pm

Say, one day, perhaps even soon, we create the technology to continue our consciousness between one's body and another platform, perhaps after death or even while still alive.

Initially I thought about this and identified a problem with the acceptance of such a transition, by the consciousness being transitioned. If this wasn't done incrementally whilst fully conscious such that both the body's and the new platform's consciousness were in agreement at each step that it was genuinely the same consciousness, without break, being transferred, then the process could be "faked" or at least seen as faked and thus rejected. If anything, both the initial experience and the destination experience would have to be melded - it would be like adjusting to gaining a second pair of all of your senses from slightly different points in space and accepting that both were "yours". I would wonder whether that would be particularly disorientating, confusing, and even quite traumatically painful - or maybe it would be quite within the human brain's ability without any or at least significant ill-effect. If there was no meld then it would be like agreeing with another person about what was being experienced, it being only very slightly different due to being in a different point in space, but you both still accepting that you were the same people just from different points in space. I'm not sure how much I would accept that this was genuinely the same consciousness being transferred, and that it wasn't in fact the ultimate death of my own consciousness once the process completed.

But then I realised that when we wake from sleep, this "re-"entry into consciousness could also just as easily be faked - and yet we accept it daily. How is it possible that we accept this without question? Would this experience not be identical to you dying and being reincarnated but under the impression that you had simply woken up? All the same memories, and everyone else (who may also have just the same been "replaced" by another consciousness upon awakening) simply accepting that nothing was out of the ordinary...

Obviously this is all we've known throughout our lives, and probably even had issues with when young that we don't even remember - at least with the distinction between wake and dreaming. Perhaps this is all the training you need, and if children were brought up to a much cruder version of what I described above about the transition of consciousness between platforms, then perhaps they would see absolutely no issue even if it was experienced that there was even a significant break between the two bases of consciousness? This doesn't even seem that far-fetched given what adults accept not just with waking, but with any snapping back to awareness, perhaps from a distracted or any different mindset. Does consciousness even qualify as continuing while concentrating the whole time? Are we legitimately dying at every moment and just accepting that the newest experience is along the same continuum to our memories that we assume without question to be of what was before "in time"?

Perhaps all an adult would need, upon introduction to this new technology that isn't even that far-fetched of a concept anymore, would be an unquestioning acceptance of the falling of unconsciousness and that it would be followed by a reawakening "as though" it were a perfectly ordinary and acceptable continuation of the same consciousness - like we already have when we go to sleep and wake up? This has some obvious parallels with death - that one would need to see no issue with dying and that it wasn't even a problem with the actual (and not just assumed) continuation of consciousness. Perhaps the technology to transition consciousness would simply be staged to help people deal with death - the consciousness that emerges may even fool everyone, even itself that it was the same person (perhaps that doesn't even qualify as fooling, but is just normal)? Perhaps that's all falling asleep and waking is, so would it even matter if it were staged?
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Re: The continuation of consciousness

Postby surreptitious75 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:45 am

New technology brings new moral dilemmas and this would be no different to any other. For example using an implanted consciousness to manipulate
other minds without their consent or knowledge. Also committing a crime then blaming it on an implanted consciousness so as to avoid responsibility
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: The continuation of consciousness

Postby Silhouette » Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:42 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:New technology brings new moral dilemmas and this would be no different to any other.

That's not really what the post was about. It started about that but if you actually got to the end (read the last line again + review how I got there) it goes deeper to the point where it's not even clear whether there would be any moral dilemma at all, given what we have to work with: namely consciousness and what we already accept about it as normal and not an issue of any kind.
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Re: The continuation of consciousness

Postby MagsJ » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:41 pm

Can the organic be downloaded to digital formats? technology withstanding?
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Re: The continuation of consciousness

Postby Serendipper » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:47 pm

Silhouette wrote:consciousness being transferred

If you were cloned atom for atom like the transporter on star trek, could you have consciousness from both yous? If not, then why would one consciousness have been transferred just because the other was destroyed?

I believe no, it's not possible. The transported star trek characters have brand new points of observation by the universe, but the transported character would not be surprised to exist because it would have all the memories. Essentially, new-you would have consciousness from the new location AND consciousness of all your memories, so new-you will believe he went through the transporter, but you-you would be dead.

But then I realised that when we wake from sleep, this "re-"entry into consciousness could also just as easily be faked

How do you know you're unconscious when you sleep? Maybe the brain doesn't remember.

Would this experience not be identical to you dying and being reincarnated but under the impression that you had simply woken up?

If you're reincarnated, you'd grow into it, as opposed to being fully formed and wake up. Btw, when did you begin? If you're a determinist, you'd have to go back to the beginning of the universe, right?

Are we legitimately dying at every moment and just accepting that the newest experience is along the same continuum to our memories that we assume without question to be of what was before "in time"?

Maybe, but how long is a moment? There are no such things as moments and so no time to die.

Perhaps all an adult would need, upon introduction to this new technology that isn't even that far-fetched of a concept anymore, would be an unquestioning acceptance of the falling of unconsciousness and that it would be followed by a reawakening "as though" it were a perfectly ordinary and acceptable continuation of the same consciousness - like we already have when we go to sleep and wake up?

I'm not sure because people can suffer amnesia in this life.

This has some obvious parallels with death - that one would need to see no issue with dying and that it wasn't even a problem with the actual (and not just assumed) continuation of consciousness.

The only thing that can happen after you die is the same thing that happened before you were born.

Perhaps the technology to transition consciousness would simply be staged to help people deal with death - the consciousness that emerges may even fool everyone,

lol that's a good idea.
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Re: The continuation of consciousness

Postby Meno_ » Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:22 am

Silhouette wrote:Say, one day, perhaps even soon, we create the technology to continue our consciousness between one's body and another platform, perhaps after death or even while still alive.

Initially I thought about this and identified a problem with the acceptance of such a transition, by the consciousness being transitioned. If this wasn't done incrementally whilst fully conscious such that both the body's and the new platform's consciousness were in agreement at each step that it was genuinely the same consciousness, without break, being transferred, then the process could be "faked" or at least seen as faked and thus rejected. If anything, both the initial experience and the destination experience would have to be melded - it would be like adjusting to gaining a second pair of all of your senses from slightly different points in space and accepting that both were "yours". I would wonder whether that would be particularly disorientating, confusing, and even quite traumatically painful - or maybe it would be quite within the human brain's ability without any or at least significant ill-effect. If there was no meld then it would be like agreeing with another person about what was being experienced, it being only very slightly different due to being in a different point in space, but you both still accepting that you were the same people just from different points in space. I'm not sure how much I would accept that this was genuinely the same consciousness being transferred, and that it wasn't in fact the ultimate death of my own consciousness once the process completed.

But then I realised that when we wake from sleep, this "re-"entry into consciousness could also just as easily be faked - and yet we accept it daily. How is it possible that we accept this without question? Would this experience not be identical to you dying and being reincarnated but under the impression that you had simply woken up? All the same memories, and everyone else (who may also have just the same been "replaced" by another consciousness upon awakening) simply accepting that nothing was out of the ordinary...

Obviously this is all we've known throughout our lives, and probably even had issues with when young that we don't even remember - at least with the distinction between wake and dreaming. Perhaps this is all the training you need, and if children were brought up to a much cruder version of what I described above about the transition of consciousness between platforms, then perhaps they would see absolutely no issue even if it was experienced that there was even a significant break between the two bases of consciousness? This doesn't even seem that far-fetched given what adults accept not just with waking, but with any snapping back to awareness, perhaps from a distracted or any different mindset. Does consciousness even qualify as continuing while concentrating the whole time? Are we legitimately dying at every moment and just accepting that the newest experience is along the same continuum to our memories that we assume without question to be of what was before "in time"?

Perhaps all an adult would need, upon introduction to this new technology that isn't even that far-fetched of a concept anymore, would be an unquestioning acceptance of the falling of unconsciousness and that it would be followed by a reawakening "as though" it were a perfectly ordinary and acceptable continuation of the same consciousness - like we already have when we go to sleep and wake up? This has some obvious parallels with death - that one would need to see no issue with dying and that it wasn't even a problem with the actual (and not just assumed) continuation of consciousness. Perhaps the technology to transition consciousness would simply be staged to help people deal with death - the consciousness that emerges may even fool everyone, even itself that it was the same person (perhaps that doesn't even qualify as fooling, but is just normal)? Perhaps that's all falling asleep and waking is, so would it even matter if it were staged?


Perhaps an advanced cicilazation has already thought of it , but we are not aware of it, so that we could avoid facing the problem with difference.

They may be so advanced in fact, that they know the gravity of far advanced technology, just as we are beginning to weigh the merits of the value of science.

Perhaps , far far chance that very advanced civilization is us.
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Re: The continuation of consciousness

Postby Silhouette » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:42 pm

Serendipper wrote:
Silhouette wrote:consciousness being transferred

If you were cloned atom for atom like the transporter on star trek, could you have consciousness from both yous? If not, then why would one consciousness have been transferred just because the other was destroyed?

I believe no, it's not possible. The transported star trek characters have brand new points of observation by the universe, but the transported character would not be surprised to exist because it would have all the memories. Essentially, new-you would have consciousness from the new location AND consciousness of all your memories, so new-you will believe he went through the transporter, but you-you would be dead.

I would agree.

What I'd add though, is that this whole topic seems to throw into question whether spatial location is actually a relevant factor to identity at all.

Obviously we are reassured that when we wake up, we are in roughly the same place we were when we remember going to sleep. When we don't recognise where we are when consciousness returns, it's often very confusing, although even this doesn't seem to shake our understanding of continued identity. Things like dementia also cause a great deal of confusion, and I would guess that it does probably shake one's understanding of continued identity. So, as you say, with the "new-you" "re"gaining consciousness after being transported star trek style, having your memories in tact seems to be highly necessary. More important than having them in tact, though, might be the perceived sense in their continuity - that the things you do remember play out in a way you can understand - like a story that makes sense. When we remember dreaming, we seem to be very good at forgetting them very quickly with their lack of fitting in with our "waking story" - probably in much the same way that we're so good at not remembering our earliest years before we starting being able to put together a sensible narrative of our life. It's troublesome to a child who has not yet learned to compartmentalise away things like dreams as a "non-real" tangent to the "real" life, despite the seeming realness of them at the time, and despite any emotions that have persisted through a dream to being awake. If you wake up in a different place to where you remember falling asleep, there are many accepted ways to incorporate this into the story of your identity. If it's possible that you simply moved without remembering and/or being conscious, then you can imagine such a process, even in the abstract, and fill in the gaps. Waking up on another planet or spaceship would be less acceptable, but I'm not convinced even that would give cause for you to doubt you were the same "you".

So given that we can fall unconscious (or forget our consciousness like when you get lost in thought while walking, doesn't matter), and accept that the "old-you" didn't die, maybe it doesn't matter if in some way it could be said to have died. The essentials are memories that can be seen as fitting into a story (e.g. your appearance when you look in the mirror, your worldview, your interactions with others). So if "old-you" dying is either standard or irrelevant, then what does it matter when you get transported in star trek?

I think the issue we have is that we know it would be no different from being killed and a different identity coming into existence to replace us. But given the above, is that an issue? Is dying any different from what our "same" consciousness does all the time? We seem to think of it as though it does, though it would be more consistent to fear with enough certainty only that a "new-you" won't replace "old-you". Since it does in the star trek example, this really ought not to bother us, and if it does I think our conception of what continued consciousness and identity are needs to be re-examined in light of the above.

Serendipper wrote:Btw, when did you begin? If you're a determinist, you'd have to go back to the beginning of the universe, right?

Well identity is a terrible concept, philosophically. It's so very full of holes, and like I was saying above, it just seems to be a vague memory of continuity in only a very small number of key ways that aren't even that specific in themselves. To get precise about a hugely imprecise concept seems redundant.

Material existence seems to go back to the beginning of the universe, sure. The conscious universe only needs to go back (at the most) to when you were born, or first conscious, or even only to your first memory, or since memories are only ever recollections of the present - is there any beginning other than right now? Did it begin when you last remember regaining consciousness? What if you just weren't aware of breaks or lapses in that time? What about Saccades? At best, I see "me" as just "being", or perhaps "becoming" in the present, and even then I don't see any philosophical reason to see "me" as only going as far as my body. All my consciousness seems to be an interpretation done by my own brain, so why isn't the "not me" of which I am conscious not also "me"? Because I don't seem to understand myself as being able to manipulate it as well? Consciousness doesn't even seem to require "outside" input when dreams and hallucinations are a thing.

A completely valid deconstruction of identity seems enough to make you entertain Solipsism with complete sincerity (which I did for many years) if it weren't such an absurd concept on which to base your ontology. It has practical uses, so sure, I'll use it as people normally do all the same.

Serendipper wrote:
Silhouette wrote:Perhaps the technology to transition consciousness would simply be staged to help people deal with death - the consciousness that emerges may even fool everyone,

lol that's a good idea.

My instinct is that it's a highly morally ambiguous idea. You alleviate a great deal of suffering, and you do so with a highly significant lie. However, in light of what I was saying above, it's probably not even necessary if you just understood consciousness and identity better. What is death other than standard life only no longer being replaced by a "new-you"? There won't be a "new-you" to worry for the people of whom you are no longer conscious. The only issue is for the living people who don't get to experience the "new-you" any more, which is a problem of living, not with dying.

Serendipper wrote:The only thing that can happen after you die is the same thing that happened before you were born.

Sure, although I think "happen" is the wrong word, and I think all words are wrong for "before you were born/after you die". Maybe "unconsciousness" is okay, but even then it seems invalid to attribute anything to it because "anythings" are a living thing - so to me the question is null. Void. And death and pre-birth aren't even that.
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Re: The continuation of consciousness

Postby Arcturus Descending » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:19 pm

Serendipper,

If you were cloned atom for atom like the transporter on star trek, could you have consciousness from both yous? If not, then why would one consciousness have been transferred just because the other was destroyed?



Seriously, I cannot imagine another me somewhere in this Universe. I am still in the process of coming to Consciousness and trying to figure things out even as we speak.

As for the first question, though I know hardly anything at all about this stuff, doesn't being cloned mean that everything is exactly alike?

But I might suggest that afterwards Consciousness would necessarily have to change especially if both me's went our separate ways, having different experiences and being influenced by different things. Little by little, different Consciousness would develop, there would be a breakdown of similarities.
But perhaps I am wrong in this since though it would still be my Consciousness, though second-hand.
It is a very good thought to ponder though.

Your second question does not quite make sense to me the way in which you have worded it - but that might just be me and my Consciousness not getting it. lol
Now the above is just one example of why one of me in the Universe is more than enough. That being said, I kind of like and enjoy the one I have though I would continue its process of evolution. To do otherwise, would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater and one must never ever do that. :lol:
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Re: The continuation of consciousness

Postby Serendipper » Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:54 pm

Silhouette wrote:What I'd add though, is that this whole topic seems to throw into question whether spatial location is actually a relevant factor to identity at all.

That's especially true considering there is no such thing as spatial location from the point of view of a photon. The continuum may not be that of space, but of awareness/experience and each one of us is a hotspot of it. Alan Watts quoted someone who said something to the effect of our being locations of awareness and I can never reference these things when I need to, but I googled "locations of awareness" to find this blog http://squareone-learning.com/blog/category/science/

If you page-search for "locations" you should land in the right spot.

For me and my research into serendipity the notion of hidden connectedness yields to the notions of uninstantiated contingency and radial contingency. In the free play of uninstantiated contingency, sensitive (to radial contingency,) intelligence responds to possible fortuities and unknown potentials with new conjunctions.

Radial contingency means the possibilities that are located at the end of the spokes of a observer/participant’s awareness, as this awareness radiates outwardly toward other locations of awareness.

“The quantum field contains information about the whole environment and about the whole past, which regulates the present activity of the electron in much the same way that information about the whole past and our whole environment regulates our own activity as human beings, through consciousness.” David Bohm

Also, my experiential aesthetics being rooted in a theorization of generative learning are deeply informed by Bohm’s conception of enfoldment.

“Everybody has seen an image of enfoldment: You fold up a sheet of paper, turn it into a small packet, make cuts in it, and then unfold it into a pattern. The parts that were close in the cuts unfold to be far away. This is like what happens in a hologram. Enfoldment is really very common in our experience. All the light in this room comes in so that the entire room is in effect folded into each part. If your eye looks, the light will be then unfolded by your eye and brain. As you look through a telescope or a camera, the whole universe of space and time is enfolded into each part, and that is unfolded to the eye. With an old-fashioned television set that’s not adjusted properly, the image enfolds into the screen and then can be unfolded by adjustment.” David Bohm


That makes some sense to me since the emission and reception of a photon is the same event as if all the points were actually connected in a spaceless and timeless unity, but we see it as "unfolded".

Feynman himself described photon interactions as always having an emission and a reception event, no matter how far apart those events occur in ordinary time. https://physics.stackexchange.com/quest ... a-receiver

Obviously we are reassured that when we wake up, we are in roughly the same place we were when we remember going to sleep. When we don't recognise where we are when consciousness returns, it's often very confusing, although even this doesn't seem to shake our understanding of continued identity. Things like dementia also cause a great deal of confusion, and I would guess that it does probably shake one's understanding of continued identity. So, as you say, with the "new-you" "re"gaining consciousness after being transported star trek style, having your memories in tact seems to be highly necessary. More important than having them in tact, though, might be the perceived sense in their continuity - that the things you do remember play out in a way you can understand - like a story that makes sense. When we remember dreaming, we seem to be very good at forgetting them very quickly with their lack of fitting in with our "waking story" - probably in much the same way that we're so good at not remembering our earliest years before we starting being able to put together a sensible narrative of our life. It's troublesome to a child who has not yet learned to compartmentalise away things like dreams as a "non-real" tangent to the "real" life, despite the seeming realness of them at the time, and despite any emotions that have persisted through a dream to being awake. If you wake up in a different place to where you remember falling asleep, there are many accepted ways to incorporate this into the story of your identity. If it's possible that you simply moved without remembering and/or being conscious, then you can imagine such a process, even in the abstract, and fill in the gaps. Waking up on another planet or spaceship would be less acceptable, but I'm not convinced even that would give cause for you to doubt you were the same "you".

Yup and I think "perceived sense of continuity" says a lot. This reminds me of my spontaneous Martian transference thread

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=193940

Nevermind the probability, but consider that it's technically possible to wake up somewhere else. What does that mean?

So given that we can fall unconscious (or forget our consciousness like when you get lost in thought while walking, doesn't matter), and accept that the "old-you" didn't die, maybe it doesn't matter if in some way it could be said to have died. The essentials are memories that can be seen as fitting into a story (e.g. your appearance when you look in the mirror, your worldview, your interactions with others). So if "old-you" dying is either standard or irrelevant, then what does it matter when you get transported in star trek?

I don't think it matters except they are two separate people like you and I are separate.

Suppose you go into the transporter and new-you is atomically cloned on the other side, but by some fluke old-you isn't destroyed. Since old-you is still there, then who is on the other end?

I think the issue we have is that we know it would be no different from being killed and a different identity coming into existence to replace us. But given the above, is that an issue? Is dying any different from what our "same" consciousness does all the time?

Are you saying we die each discrete moment? How long is a moment?

I think our fundamental particles osciallate in and out of existence, but at different times and too quickly to be noticed. We ride atop a wave, as it were.... a lot like a flame is a stream of particles.

We seem to think of it as though it does, though it would be more consistent to fear with enough certainty only that a "new-you" won't replace "old-you". Since it does in the star trek example, this really ought not to bother us, and if it does I think our conception of what continued consciousness and identity are needs to be re-examined in light of the above.

It's as if solipsism is true for each of us within awareness-time rather than space-time because it seems each of us is a manifestation of a self/other relationship of the universe.

If the universe is aware through me and you are my "other", then how can the universe also be aware through you at the same time?

Check this out:



If what he says is true, that you can only experience it one at a time, then each time you experience it, it's a case of solipsism. Alan has said elsewhere that each organism creates its own world in its image (to parody the bible).

Material existence seems to go back to the beginning of the universe, sure. The conscious universe only needs to go back (at the most) to when you were born, or first conscious, or even only to your first memory, or since memories are only ever recollections of the present - is there any beginning other than right now? Did it begin when you last remember regaining consciousness?

Can you be conscious of anything without first committing it to memory? You probably weren't conscious of the light hitting your eye before I mentioned it, but now you're writing it down in memory by thinking about it. That could be why we like to write.

David Hare — 'The act of writing is the act of discovering what you believe.'

Writing is like an extension of neural memory.

What if you just weren't aware of breaks or lapses in that time? What about Saccades? At best, I see "me" as just "being", or perhaps "becoming" in the present, and even then I don't see any philosophical reason to see "me" as only going as far as my body. All my consciousness seems to be an interpretation done by my own brain, so why isn't the "not me" of which I am conscious not also "me"? Because I don't seem to understand myself as being able to manipulate it as well? Consciousness doesn't even seem to require "outside" input when dreams and hallucinations are a thing.

It's odd that I have more control over the temp of a room than I do my blood pressure. I can make things grow in the ground but can't change how I grow. Where does the organism begin and the environment end?

A completely valid deconstruction of identity seems enough to make you entertain Solipsism with complete sincerity (which I did for many years) if it weren't such an absurd concept on which to base your ontology. It has practical uses, so sure, I'll use it as people normally do all the same.

Maybe solipsism is true within experience-time, but then who comes first?

Serendipper wrote:
Silhouette wrote:Perhaps the technology to transition consciousness would simply be staged to help people deal with death - the consciousness that emerges may even fool everyone,

lol that's a good idea.

My instinct is that it's a highly morally ambiguous idea. You alleviate a great deal of suffering, and you do so with a highly significant lie. However, in light of what I was saying above, it's probably not even necessary if you just understood consciousness and identity better. What is death other than standard life only no longer being replaced by a "new-you"? There won't be a "new-you" to worry for the people of whom you are no longer conscious. The only issue is for the living people who don't get to experience the "new-you" any more, which is a problem of living, not with dying.

Yes, there will be no one to care that they were lied to and this is why I don't fight religion too hard; if it comforts people then to each his own.

Serendipper wrote:The only thing that can happen after you die is the same thing that happened before you were born.

Sure, although I think "happen" is the wrong word, and I think all words are wrong for "before you were born/after you die". Maybe "unconsciousness" is okay, but even then it seems invalid to attribute anything to it because "anythings" are a living thing - so to me the question is null. Void. And death and pre-birth aren't even that.

Right, so experience will be a continuous process since the void in the middle is nothing to experience. Before being born, obviously there was something being experienced.
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Re: The continuation of consciousness

Postby Serendipper » Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:10 pm

Arcturus Descending wrote:Serendipper,

If you were cloned atom for atom like the transporter on star trek, could you have consciousness from both yous? If not, then why would one consciousness have been transferred just because the other was destroyed?

Seriously, I cannot imagine another me somewhere in this Universe.

Yeah I can't imagine another me either.

I am still in the process of coming to Consciousness and trying to figure things out even as we speak.

Me too. We all are!

As for the first question, though I know hardly anything at all about this stuff, doesn't being cloned mean that everything is exactly alike?

Yeah down to the atom. The only thing different is the location.

But I might suggest that afterwards Consciousness would necessarily have to change especially if both me's went our separate ways, having different experiences and being influenced by different things. Little by little, different Consciousness would develop, there would be a breakdown of similarities.

Yes and that's probably why identical twins are different people.

Your second question does not quite make sense to me the way in which you have worded it - but that might just be me and my Consciousness not getting it. lol
Now the above is just one example of why one of me in the Universe is more than enough.

With such modesty I'd prefer there be more of you :D Don't be hard on yourself... I look forward to your comments!

That being said, I kind of like and enjoy the one I have though I would continue its process of evolution. To do otherwise, would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater and one must never ever do that. :lol:

I imagine someone must have actually thrown a baby out with the water before because who would think of that otherwise lol
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