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Comment on Body vs Mind

Michael Garrett Sun, Jan 20, 2008
Clifford A. Pickover received his Ph.D. from Yale University's Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.

The following comment was offered in an on-line discussion group hosted by Cliff Pickover ...

From: "Cliff Pickover":
As we age, the molecules in our bodies are constantly being exchanged with our environment. With every breath, we inhale the world lines of hundreds of millions of atoms of air exhaled yesterday by someone on the other side of the planet. In some sense, our brains and organs are vanishing into thin air, the cells being replaced as quickly as they are destroyed. The entire skin replaces itself every month. Our stomach linings replace themselves every five days. We are always in flux. A year from now, 98 percent of the atoms in our bodies will have been replaced with new ones. We are nothing more than a seething mass of never-ending world lines, continuous threads in the fabric of spacetime. What does it mean that your body has nothing in common with the body you had a few years ago? If you are something other than the collection of atoms making up your body, what are you? You are not so much your atoms as you are the pattern in which your atoms are arranged. For example, some of the atomic patterns in your brain code memories. We are persistent spacetime tangles. In my book Time: A Traveler's Guide, in a diagram, a person is represented by a set of four atom threads that have come close together. (An "atom thread" is the spacetime trail of an individual atom.) Note that an atom can leave one person's array and become part of another person.


Pickover offers that we are not the biological person we were last year, or yesterday for that matter. It would seem that our mind, our thoughts exist dependent upon the biology of the brain as a host, while remaining somehow independent as well. This would suggest, at least to me, that as long as there is an appropriate host there is a possibility of transferring the mind to it.