September 20, 2013 www.nomorefakenews.com
“Martine Rothblatt, CEO of biotech company United Therapeutics introduced the idea of ‘mindclones.’ These are digital versions of humans that can live forever and can create ‘mindfiles’ that are a place to store aspects of our personalities. She said it would run on a kind of software for consciousness…” (Daily Mail, June 19, 2013)
The year was 2082. A Googhoo representative walked into Dr. James Allen’s office. The rep was wearing a T-shirt printed with a message:
“AT FIRST WE THOUGHT CONSCIOUSNESS WAS THE BRAIN. THEN WE THOUGHT IT WAS A PULSE FROM THE UNIVERSE. THEN WE REALIZED IT WAS ENERGY SURROUNDING THE BODY. BREAKTHROUGH!”
“Ah, Millstone,” Dr. Allen said to the rep, “I was wondering when you would show up. We’re done, aren’t we?”
Millstone nodded and sat down in a soft chair near the window. The shades were drawn. Dr. Allen sat down on the floor close by.
“So” Allen said. “What is your finding?”
“Well,” Millstone said, “we managed to corral your consciousness over a period of three months. We trapped it in our lab and sealed it in a glass room. It took up an area of seventeen by thirty-seven feet.”
“And you’re satisfied you gathered up all of it?”
“Why of course,” Millstone said.
“Then on what basis am I sitting here listening to you and understanding what you’re saying?” Allen said.
“I knew you would ask my that. My answer is simple. You’re now operating purely on nerve transmissions and impulses. It’s automatic.”
“I see,” Dr. Allen said. “So although I THINK I’m conscious at this moment, I’m deluded. I’m a biological machine. You’ve got all my consciousness in that room.”
Allen said, “What did you discover in your experiment?”
“First of all, you’re still alive and coherent. That means we can clone and create biological machines from scratch without consciousness, and they’ll operate as efficiently as you are right now.”
“You retain the delusion that you’re conscious. It doesn’t seem to fade away. So we can grab anyone’s consciousness, analyze it, profile it, and understand a great deal about that human. He won’t even know what we’re doing. It adds to our—
“Spying capability,” Allen said.
“I wouldn’t put it that way,” Millstone said.
“Well,” Allen said. “There’s only one flaw in your reasoning. It’s fatal, of course, but don’t blame me. It’s your own shortsightedness.”
“What do you mean?” Millstone said.
“You assume you were taking my consciousness. Suppose you weren’t?”
“What could we possibly have taken instead?” Millstone said.
“You define consciousness as energy. You homed in on the energy around my body. You snatched it. But consciousness is non-material. It’s not energy. I reconstructed the energy you stole. I put it back. I could do that because I’m in full possession of my faculties. I’m conscious. I have my consciousness.”
“Impossible,” Millstone said.
“Are you sure?” Allen said.
Millstone took a small device out of his jacket pocket. He pointed it at Allen and watched its screen flash sequences of numbers. He slumped back in his chair.
“You see?” Allen said. “All that energy you took is back again. Your experiment was a bust from the beginning. That’s what I was betting on. You just wasted what? A few billion dollars?”
“No, no, no. Consciousness IS energy!” Millstone said.
“Really? You actually think energy is what makes you and I conscious of each other right now? No, Millstone. It’s much simpler than that. Don’t you get it? You ARE conscious. So am I. Sucking away energy doesn’t change that.”
“Entirely unsatisfactory,” Millstone said. “If you’re right, we can’t measure consciousness because it isn’t made out of ANYTHING.”
“Yes,” Allen said. “That’s right. Correct.”
Millstone took a small gun out of his pocket.
“What are you doing?” Allen said.
“I’m going to kill myself,” Millstone said. “The whole project is a failure.”
“Wait a minute,” Allen said. “You’re telling me that discovering you’re CONSCIOUS is a cause for suicide?”
“If I can’t MEASURE that,” Millstone said, “what good is it? What good am I?”
“Think of it this way,” Allen said. “Being conscious is non-material. You are non-material.”
“Then it shouldn’t matter if I kill myself,” he said. “I can’t really die.”
This is your bet, or are you just acting out of desperation?” Allen said.
“What difference does it make?” Millstone said.
He raised the gun to his head. He pulled the trigger. There was a loud pop. He fell off his chair.
Allen called the police.
After they came and questioned him and took the body away, another scientist from Googhoo showed up.
“Millstone had been feeling despondent lately,” he said. “He was afraid the experiment wouldn’t pan out. What did he tell you?”
“Well,” Allen said, “he was quite upbeat when he got here. He took a few measurements and discovered the whole thing was a flop.”
“I see,” the scientist said. “Would you mind if I did my own measurements on you? It’ll only take a minute.”
“I’d rather rest,” Allen said. “After what just happened…”
“I understand completely,” the scientist said. “I’ll call you in a few days and come back.”
After the scientist left, Allen sat in his office thinking. “Are these crazies going to traipse in here, one by one, take measurements, realize their whole experiment is failure, and then kill themselves? They seem like reasonable people, but they’re betting the whole farm on their cockeyed ideas about consciousness.”
Allen recalled experiments from earlier in the century, when they’d “created a computer-brain” and claimed it was alive. They lined up volunteers, plugged them into the machines, and disconnected them from their own flesh-brains. They ended up with a bunch of corpses.
“A nut is a nut is a nut,” he said.
The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com