Thoughts on the value of life


On consciousness” propose that consciousness may arise as temporally discrete functions of the brain, specifically, the inherent computation which occurs as a result of physics.


My deepest gratitude to the person who took the time to read and comment on this, who  suggested that I think about the implications that playing life at different speeds might have to the value of a given life, my answer may not contribute in any manner, but it has been a pleasure to think it over.


Assume that the nature of consciousness is discrete, which enables it to be “played” or “executed” at different speeds, to “run life” at different speeds.


Conscious experiences, at least in humans, are isolated. It is not possible for us to know directly if consciousness is experienced outside of our own experience. We may infer that it is, but we can not directly know that it is.


The point being that there may not be a casual connection between life and consciousness, but that is not relevant for the treating the subject at hand, so to avoid the distraction of that question, let the word life be simplified to mean “experiencing consciousness”. It fits well with our subjective idea of what it means to be alive.


The word person will be used to identify a unique instance of a system which is able to experience consciousness, it may be a human, a fully simulated organic human, or the most basic set computational processes required for consciousness to arise.


While the language permits us to talk about “the life of a person” that may be redundant, suppose that consciousness arise from computation, then the body is not the person,  or even uniquely required for that person to exist. -  The person would exist as long as the particular computations took place,


There may not be any intrinsic value or worth to life, or to consciousness, to answer that may require knowledge of some objective meaning of life, which will not be treated here.


Supposing life carry no intrinsic value, what is left then is external and internal subjective value.

The internal being the value that a person put on their past and  (opportunity for) future existence or experience. The external being self-explanatory and irrelevant for treating the subject at hand.


What happens with the value of a persons life as it is slowed down and speed up?

From the persons perspective, merely the experience of the external world would change.
Suppose you run a person at twice the normal speed. The person ought to feel the same, but experience the world go by at half speed, assuming that this person has previously experienced being executed at normal speed. That person would be able to perform the same cognition, at the same subjective speed, but from an observer at normal speed, the person would be able to think twice as fast as usual, or maybe be able to respond with more thought-through arguments than usual.


The subjective value of life at variable speed would depend on the person and circumstance.

Executing a consciousness at high speed in a enjoyable situation, such as being among good friends or loved ones would allow for more cognition to occur within them, while the situation exists, basically increasing the amount of experience they can have from the same situation.
Watching a beautiful fireworks display may be enjoyable for a person running at high speed. On the other hand, the increased amount of cognition may exhaust the situation of novelty, it might become boring,  the person might over-analyze and become miserable from a lack of new external stimulus

It might not, there may exist details at the finer intervals of time of which we are only superficially aware, which would cause life to be interesting enough at high speed.


A life played at slow speeds may bad, seeing friends and family and self decay at a rapid rate, allowing less experiences and cognition to happen within the allotted time, assuming everyone dies.


This begs the question, if death all contributes value to life, scarcity creates value. Maybe it is better argued that the inevitability of death increases the value of time, not life.


Would life become worthless if it was allowed to continue forever?

The subjective value of life may arise from the potential for cognition and further experience.


It might be that a hard-copy, a “cold storage” of a consciousness, that is not being “run”, carries the same or only slightly less value as one that is, after all, between two discrete steps, any consciousness could be said to be in “cold storage”, until the next tick, the next clock, the next iteration of computation takes place, and the potential to experience exist as long as the information that is the baiss of the computation does.


It may be that the information which is required for a particular consciousness carries the same value regardless of the medium that carries, and regardless of it being actively executed or not.


This is a noisy rant, it may be cleaned up in the future as better ideas occur.