It was my fault. . .

Thoughts on mind and self after an injury.

It was my fault, to the extent that getting hit from the side by thousands of pounds of moving metal, can be one’s fault.

The first thing I thought was "Yes! There seems to be no significant muscoskeletal damage. No broken anything!" It felt like a clean roll, except for the fact that at some point my helmet made contact with something, the ground most likely. My spine was straight, my posture felt good, and everything seemed intact, aside from my badly torn knees and scraped elbows. Still, I had to calm myself to avoid shock, and the people now gathered around me were concerned enough to call an ambulance, and told me repeatedly not to get up.

It wasn't until later, when I went through my recollections and assumptions using logical deductions, that it became clear to me which direction the car had come from. One car had stopped for me, and I capitalized on them yielding, without checking the other direction, even though there was a clearly marked stop sign along my route on the bike trail. It should have been obvious that the car that hit me came from the other direction, but in the moment, I noted its appearance without sorting out details like where it came from.

In other writing, I've been trying to describe what pain and other emotions and sensations are. In another piece, I called pain "partial knowledge". While the doctor was poking and prodding me, I found that description amusing, but not funny.

The worst of it, whether after a workout or an injury, sometimes comes the next day when you wake up. In all of this, my pain hasn't been severe or continuous, just very real, and my condition is frustrating and inescapable.

And still I think about everything in terms of resource management. It seems odd, but deciding how I can twist my body to avoid further pain and damage is the same to me as using my cards in Hearthstone or my chips in poker.

Given that my skeleton is intact(albeit with some neck soreness and stiffness), the big issue is my skin. The skin is the bag that holds everything in your body, and mine is damaged right now.

I need to watch out for infection or sepsis.

From a twisted positive perspective, I see this as an opportunity for introspective insight into challenging philosophical questions. Most notable among these is the nature of mind and experience.

This is challenging, because mind, clearly, is not just one standalone thing, but something that connects lots of things that are interesting and complex in their own right. It isn't even obvious what all these things are, which the mind connects, nor what types of things they are. In addition to the body and the brain, is there a soul, or at least a self? What is the difference?

In my search for answers, I am led to ask a very basic, almost simplistic question: "What is a connection?" How can 2 things be different but related? How can 2 physical things be apart but still interact? How can 2 concepts be connected to each other but still represent unique ideas?

The question of mind is not just about consciousness. It's not just about the brain, and it's not just about the self.

I am inclined to ask if, as Penrose suggests, quantum processes are involved in the experience of experience. For most functions where the brain plays a role, quantum processes are irrelevant. Why would experience be different?

I'm not inclined to dismiss the mind as an illusion, but the continuity of self and experience is primarily illusory, arising from the many connections between discrete recollections and experiences.

My question now is this: "Is the mind special in terms of the physical phenomenon involved, or is it only special because of the way these things, both physical and conceptual, are connected? If the latter, what attributes make a mind, and can we see these exhibited by other types of information systems?”

I am inclined to consider the experience of “self awareness in action” a sensation created in an information system. This sensation can be evoked in processes not just about individual self, such as when you feel part of a group, or a connection to another person, I am inclined to conclude that this demonstrates that self awareness and all similar types experiences are merely sensations. Experience is a sensation. Sensations are signals interpreted in a context of virtual selves, recorded in the memory of information systems. In this case they are biological information systems.

I have been wrestling with whether mind and experience merely give rise to virtual entities, or whether they are strictly virtual in their nature. I am strongly inclined to conclude the latter, though I feel it is important to describe what alternatives might look like, and why they aren’t valid conclusions of observation of and introspection about human experience.

I’d like to thank my brother for being there when I got hit. I can get absorbed in my own thoughts, and it’s important to recognize how people around me help me out so much. I guess I need to be more aware of my surroundings in general, as I’ve now learned suddenly and painfully.