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Language itself is part of the self-awareness program. The statements of a language don't make sense unless it has a context of the speaker itself in relation to whatever it is speaking to. It's a way to express the functions of one's own algorithms. If you say speaking a language is a form of communication, then you might even argue that quantum superposition is a form of communication too if you break down language this way. What's to say the difference between consciousness and physical phenomenon. One of the downsides to being human is that we don't know how to think without language. Even if we do, we wouldn't know how to express that type of thinking to people who share languages. When we say people share a language, there are still minuscule differences between the individuals and their own language model. The concept of consciousness thus breaks down even further when you take away the boundaries that separate things in our own language models.

A note on my presentation style: I'm rather concise and leave out too much explanation. I'm not as much trying to explain an idea as more of trying to provide one train of thoughts on the subjects that would possibly entertain exploration. When you write a book, you put all your ideas you have at the time down at once. When you engage in a discussion, the topics are always ongoing. It's a different style of exploration and participation.

The mirror test seems to me like a decent proxy for at least one item on that list 

This is merely a bias on our own part as humans. I think people are confusing consciousness with self-awareness. They are completely different things. Consciousness is the OS that runs on the meat machine. Self-awareness is an algorithm that runs on the OS. All meat machines that run this OS have different algorithms for different functions. Some may not have any self-awareness algorithm running, some may have something similar but not exactly the same as our own self-awareness algorithm. That's where the mirror test fails. We can only observe the who-knows-how-many-levels of causality that lead to those animals to show or not show self-aware behaviors in front of a mirror. We can't say anything consequential about the actual algorithm(s) running on their OS when they stand in front of a mirror. We are just running our own set of self-awareness algorithms when we stand in front of a mirror. It seems like these algorithms change according to evolution, just like other systems within the multicellular ecosystem that make up the individual organisms. We often see animals that demonstrate these "self-aware" traits because of similar evolutionary conditions, like cats and dogs have evolved to run a lot of socializing algorithms that mingle well with our own social algorithms.

Whether the self-reflective aspect of running these algorithms on our own OS makes one feel certain way about eating meat is in and of itself the result of the relationship between multi-threading the self-aware part and the self-preservation part in terms of labeling kins and such.

At this point we aren't even conclusive about where to draw the boundary between hardware and software. We end up distinguishing between OS and simple firmware as conscious and unconscious. We mostly reduce the firmware down to simple physical reactions by the laws of physics while the OS exhibits something magical beyond those physical reactions in simpler systems. Is there something truly different that sets OS apart from firmware, or is it just our lack of understanding of the underlying mechanics? This of course touches upon the argument of determinism, which is just looking at the same systems differently.

You don't talk about because you want others to accept your position. You talk about it, so others have a chance to convince you to abandon that position, either for you to take theirs or something entirely different. How do you know that you've read everything to take up your position if you don't bother giving others who have put into their own time and thoughts into this a chance to present their arguments? But at the end of the day, we just gotta what we gotta do that makes us happy.

In both cases of US local and global understanding of the word, it limits the scope of the discussion to be had. Once you start categorizing actions regarding specific issues in this way, you inadvertently start drawing boundaries in relations to other issues that are related to the issue at hand. It's a failure of methods, not language. For instance, the issue of abortion is closely tied to the issue of personal beliefs, which is also tied to the beliefs and laws regarding the preservation of life. The method is merely a simplification for the political machinery that take actions on resolving these issues. US has its own local political climate, but it's not to say that when other countries use the same rhetoric for the same functions, they would be much different other than the details.

I think the the self-reflective part of evolution brought us the revelation of suffering to our understandings. The self-unaware computations simply operate on pain as a carrot/stick system as they were initially evolved to function as. Most of the laws of civilization is about reducing suffering in the populations. Such realization in evolution has introduced new concepts regarding the relationship between ourselves as an individual self-contained computation and these smaller chunks of functions/computations that exist within us. Because of the carrot/stick functionality, by minimizing suffering, we also achieve what the function was originally designed to do, to help us with our self-preservation. This is the first level of the self-referential loop.

In the second loop, we can now see that this type of harm reduction is mainly geared toward the preservation of our own genes as we owe our knowledge to the people who have found out about multicellular organism and genetic makeup of living things. We can then again reflect on this loop to see whether we should do anything different given our new knowledge.

I'm sorry I wasn't saying you personally. I don't know who you are. I was referring to the writing I replied to. Maybe it was someone else who brought up the topic, I didn't read enough up the thread, that's my bad. I will try to be careful next time.

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