plaamook wrote: ↑
23 Apr 2019
I think they might matter on a cosmic level as well. Not sure.
If you think about it, the interconnectedness of everything means that everything is always effecting everythnig else. Nothing and no one 'does' anything. Rather the entire universe does everytnhig through individual entities which are like islands. They appear as individuals but are in fact mountain tops that all rise up out of the same substrate. But the implications of this, depending on what minds and conciousness prove to be, may be that we're all effecting the entire universe. It's possible. At the very least we're effecting everyone on the planet. By cultures, thought memes, etc. Jimi Hendrix, for example, is the product of everyone, everything that happened from the beginning of time. Thing is you can't really draw boundaries around things properly so you can't say where the effect ends.
I get what you're saying, but the problem I have is that I do not believe we will ever leave our solar system and reach a location at which we can have any meaningful effect. The distance is too great, and I do not believe we will be able to develop the technology to achieve this within the time we have available. We would need to either build a fully self-sufficient* spacecraft, and/or transcend our physical bodies somehow**. Short of either of these things happening, we're stuck within our own solar system. Which means when it is destroyed, there will be no trace of us left anywhere, and no impact of any of our individual actions anywhere in the universe.
As to your point about "depending on what minds and consciousness prove to be" - I don't think that any serious scientists or philosophers make a distinction between the mind and consciousness. Of course, we don't really know what it is. It's the ultimate question as far as I am concerned. But as far as I can tell from the reading I have done, consciousness is little more than a form of empathy in which we can represent our own mind as a third party and observe it from the outside, thus allowing us to be aware of our own thought processes, behaviours and inner states. Of course there is no way of knowing if there is more to it - the soul, I suppose you would call it. And it's likely we would never be able to know were there any such thing. But I would challenge anybody to provide empirical evidence for the existence of the soul, or anything else which persists after the death of the brain. Besides, even if there is such a thing, I don't think it makes any difference. We do not see the effects of the souls of the dead on the natural world. We can't point to the impact they have on the environment around us. So even if the mind does turn out to be something which can persist after the death of the brain, I would still argue that it is of no consequence on a cosmic level because it cannot influence its surroundings in any way whatsoever.
(We are way off-topic now I guess. Perhaps we need a thread for solipsistic musings
* When I say self-sufficient, I mean this in every sense of the word: able to generate energy in the vacuum of space even when there is no possibility of obtaining fuel, able to manufacture an infinite amount of spare parts and carry out repairs on absolutely any part of the vessel, able to generate enough resources for all life aboard, able to maintain stringent control on reproduction to avoid over-population, able to withstand extinction for any reason, which would require a relatively large population in order to even out unexpected deaths and provide a large enough gene pool to minimise genetic fallibilities.
** By this I mean things like mind uploading (while maintaining consciousness, which cannot be guaranteed under any circumstances), or at least transplanting brains into artificial environments to keep them alive for a very significant amount of time, and replenishing dead or damaged neural tissue on an ingoing basis and/or building new brains which can house human consciousness, whether organic or otherwise.