The Mind Is Me Assumption

What I look like when my mind is blown.

What I look like when my mind is blown.


March 27, 2017 1:23 PM

The mind is me? Sometimes I’m amazed at how dumb smart people can be. Not Mark O’Connell—the author of the referenced article—but the people he interviewed for it.

Here’s an email I just sent Mark (minor corrections for my mind’s (see, two things: me and my mind) stupidity).

Hi Mark,

I saw your article in the Guardian today,

“to create technologies enabling the transfer of an individual’s personality to a more advanced nonbiological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality”

I’d suggest a follow up article where you asked everyone involved in the original article a couple of simple questions:

  1. Would you do this procedure if it was available and affordable?
  2. If the procedure didn’t kill you, if it didn’t affect your body at all, would you still do it?

Nobody’s getting transferred into a machine. There’s a flaw in their logic. Their mind is simply being copied. They’ll still be stuck in their mortal, human body. I wrote a blog post about the topic back in 2014 – – you might enjoy it.

As I said, I’d love to see a follow up post. I think it would be really cool to hear their responses. 🙂

Wayne Wirs

ADDED March 28, 2017.

Mark got back to me this morning. The Guardian article was an extract from his new book, To Be A MachineHere’s his response:

Hi Wayne––thanks for getting in touch. I agree with you (to the extent that I’m in a position to make scientific judgments, which is no great extent). But the piece is an extract from my book, To Be a Machine. I talk to Miguel Nicolelis in the book, and he makes it quite clear that this stuff is deeply unrealistic. I sort of wish the Guardian had included him in the extract …

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6 thoughts on “The Mind Is Me Assumption

    • Yes. Just imagine if no one realizes this when the technology is available. The first volunteers will all be inadvertently committing suicide, the doctors performing the procedure will be inadvertently committing murder, and everyone else will think it’s a resounding success!

  1. I was just talking about this idea with a friend a few nights ago. 😉

    I get what you’re saying and as far as the scanning of the brain part referenced in this article I’m doubtful it would be more than a copy at best, but not actually “you”. On the other hand I am unconvinced it would “never work”. Personally, and if I’m correct in my understanding of your beliefs from your book, I believe that reincarnation is real and “I” am not this body including my brain. I think I am basically energy that is conscious. Which in that case I wonder if this would be possible as like a phase 2 kind of way. First they start with the way normally referenced (like the article linked) and then realize that it doesn’t actually work. Basically, over time (after trying more and more I’m sure) they accidentally “prove” there is a soul/separate consciousness that isn’t just “the brain”. Then they can start figuring out how to access that and eventually transfer it. Since reincarnation happens I see no reason that we also couldn’t just move bodies before our current bodies death. Yes, it may seem crazy to think about, but honestly most of everything happening now in this time would have been deemed unrealistic and impossible a couple hundred years ago let alone a couple thousand. With technology growing exponentially most of us probably won’t recognize much about life even in 50 yrs let alone 100+. But, I am a futurist and optimist so it is my bias. 😉

  2. As usual we give far too much importance to this feeling of being “me”. There’s certainly awareness happening and there’s a personality happening. But who am I really?

    If such a transfer or copy could happen, then the awareness hosted by the physical body would stop. And the awareness hosted by the machine would start. But the second would have no continuity with the first.

    Of course, it’s possible that the awareness is primary and matter is just something happening in the-awareness-that-is-everything and then of course there’s no separate me, and just local self-aware parts of the whole, all connected.

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