31 January 2009


Conscious Entities puzzles towards a state of complete confusion:
...[Let us concede for a moment that] yes, OK, all that dust does have mental experience. But surely it only has the most tenuous and ethereal kind. To take another ridiculous example, suppose we were talking about an axe. Normally we require all the parts of an axe to be well co-ordinated in space and time, but we could have a dust-axe which was made up of different parts from different places and centuries. If we make the right selection of parts, we can have a series of axe-slices which even constitute its swinging and cutting wood. But it’s not really a very good axe; its existence relies completely on the support of our imagination, even though it consists entirely of unobjectionable physical items. Its existence is thin and dependent; it’s like the hrönir in the Borges story Tlön, Uqbar and Orbis Tertius, objects that exist only because someone thought they did. The experiences of the dust mind are almost as insubstantial as the experiences of fictional characters, or it seems as if it ought to be so.

But somehow I find myself reluctant to say even that much...
-- continued at Fear in a handful of dust?

Perhaps Borges's Thermal Beings -- 'entities composed solely of heat, from an earlier stage of the world's creation' -- would be closer to the mark.

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