I want to discuss the chain of what Bernardo believes constitutes meta consciousness and it's relevance to my admittedly subjective outlook on 'meaningful' existence. I'm a firm believer that in the transporter dilemma, where one is hypothetically erased and copied elsewhere, you actually would die even if your copy would go on to propagate it's own existential footprint and directly inherits your 'whirlpool' flow as Bernardo calls them. I can see some value in and am entertaining his proposition that we all experience a type of phenomenal consciousness that only differs from what we deal in when awake because of it's volume or 'frequency', not what that volume is of, since it seems to require less leaps in logic than other schools. So in idealism, what is considered to be the 'self' or the meaning of it? What gives our life meaning if our 'whirlpool' is interrupted and started again?Criticism 11: During dreamless sleep, or under general anesthesia, we are clearly unconscious. Yet, we don’t cease to exist because we become temporarily unconscious. Obviously, then, reality cannot be in consciousness.
Rebuttal 11: The best one can assert upon waking up is that one cannot recall any experience during the preceding hours; not that experiences were absent. Indeed, it is impossible to distinguish between the absence of a memory of an experience and the absence of the experience itself. What we refer to as periods of ‘unconsciousness’ – be them related to sleep, general anesthesia, fainting, etc. – are simply periods in which the formation of memory access paths is impaired. The very disruption of mental processes induced by anesthetics or sleep compromises our body’s ability to lay down coherent links to the corresponding memories. As a result, later recall becomes difficult or impossible, since the links aren’t available (see essay 3.3). For all we know, we may wander into rich phenomenological landscapes during sleep or narcosis, but be unable to remember any of it upon returning to a lucid state. Think of how elusive dreams can be: at the moment you wake up, you may still remember an early morning dream; five seconds later, you already forgot it, but still remember that you had a dream; by the time you stand on your feet, you can’t even remember that you dreamed at all. Or reciprocally: you may remember nothing when you wake up – declaring yourself to have been unconscious all night – and then suddenly recall, hours later, that you actually had a very intense dream. How can you know that you are ever truly unconscious? One could claim that the absence of dream-related brain activity in several periods during the night, as measured by electroencephalography, proves that there are phases of true unconsciousness during sleep. But this fails to notice that there are always plenty of other types of activity in a sleeping – or otherwise ‘unconscious’ – brain, which may well correlate with non-recallable experiences different than ordinary dreams. In fact, materialists themselves appeal to the explanatory power of subtler types of brain activity when trying to make sense of rich and intense near-death experiences.17
I'm not a very seasoned philosopher so this is probably why but I have struggled a lot with an age old question that was answered relatively succinctly by your run of the mill mainstream physicalist (albeit with a lot of the holes endemic to that way of seeing things), and I feel a lot of what Brief Peeks Beyond goes into helps cast enough of a new light on consciousness that the question risks warranting a reexamination that physicalism would always sidestep by saying our consciousness is physical. He argues that our continuity of consciousness, even as it's maintained to some degree through anesthesia, has some bearing on if we exist or not.
I can agree that this means we're a continuity of consciousness. But the question that my existential angst is yearning for an answer for is whether or not we have a contiguity of meta consciousness, that is to say something that satisfies the criteria of 'inheritance', (my chosen answer to the Ship of Theseus, although it might not be the best one...), that is supported by these idealistic philosophies. If my whirlpool gets interrupted and reduced to some ripple or a lesser whirlpool, at least one that isn't as capable of meta conscious self recognition, does that mean I'm still myself when I wake up?
What role would memories play into identity within this framework, particularly given that our memory doesn't work the same when sleeping and is deliberately obfuscated in anesthesia?
I apologize if this is a poorly worded or even woefully pedestrian inquiry to the more astute minds of this place but many thanks in advance if it elicits a response, let alone one that would help assuage my struggles with this dilemma.