I am usually reluctant to get into descriptions using religious terminology. Seems like a no win situation for me. However, our goal all along has been to identify common belief patterns where we find them. A reoccurring theme of religious doctrine is that humans possess an immortal essence, or soul. There is a counterpart in a systems view of human beings. The essence of an agent is its core accumulation of knowledge.
Instance of soul
In the systems view, an agent is defined by its stored information. Agents of a species are unique implementations of a “standard” model. They are an instance of a particular design package. As a unique instance, the agent accumulates knowledge, learning as it goes, navigating through time and space. This knowledge is a record of the performance of the agent within its local environment. Each individual agent within the system has a history. Included is the original configuration(DNA), and the history of the agent’s growth and actions. This is represented by the current state of the organism, which includes its accumulated behaviors, or potential states. This kernel of knowledge is the agent’s real value to the system.
This information is the essence of the agent, its personality and its performance in the real world. It is also part of the whole body of knowledge compiled by the system. When stored holographically within and alongside the state of the whole, it becomes a comprehensive memory of all of the dynamic relationships that have occurred within the field over time.
Although the actual process of storing and applying this information may seem obscure, we can see from a system’s view that the process does indeed exist. The degree of organization and efficiency shown by even the simplest creatures can only be approached in modern supply systems by sophisticated software that keeps track of all variables. The feedback loops have to be there, and we expect they will use nothing but natural laws to do their work. There is ample room within the holographic model to accommodate all of this functionality without resorting to deity, random mutation, emergence or magic for an explanation.
This model also provides a foundation for more than a sterile, mechanical view of reality. Intelligent traits we normally ascribe to the human mind, like evaluating situations, projecting expectations into the future, intent towards achievement of goals, and emotional reactions to events, are fully functional at the cellular level in plants and lower animals. In other words, these are not special abilities of human beings, but fundamental to living organisms.
Emotions are a vital part the state of every organism, as well as an essential part of the history package. How much we care is recorded right along with what we do. At the same time, each member of the environment records its participation in the interaction, along with its emotional component. The System knows all.
The system doesn’t forget. It’s primary business is memory. In this way, the knowledge gained by each agent is eternal. The System is not going to forget what it learned from you, good or bad. However, the idea that the conscious mind of the agent goes on forever, or can go on forever, without a living physical body to express it, really doesn’t make sense. Our sense of self is just that: a feeling, probably necessary for basic navigation and interaction with other agents, but not of much value to the System.
The self is an attribute of the coherent electromagnetic field generated by the cells of a living body. Take away the living body that is the expression of a particular personality, and what you have left is a static expression stored in holographic memory. Your life history is forever stored, but you can’t add to it without a physical body to express your code in interactions with the System. There may be other advantages to being such a spirit being, but the full expression available to the living, won’t be one of them.
There is good reason for each agent not to be immortal, but to have a sundown process embedded in its code. There is the potential for agents to run amuck. They have unlimited potential to learn, which gives them the ability to develop behaviors detrimental to the system. The sundown process terminates agents after a useful life span, giving the system the opportunity to evaluate, filter and/or adjust behavior in future generations. In order for the System to be immortal, the agents cannot be.
Terminating a Run-a-way Process
It also seems that civilization is subject to a sundown clause. The planet is littered with the ruins of failed civilizations. The deeper they dig, the more they find of the same. In our written history, from team sports to governments and ideologies, it is difficult to maintain a dynasty. Everything seems to come in cycles of ebb and flow, in and out, live and dormant.
Maybe it is just as well. Just as an individual agent can run amuck, large concentrations of them can redefine the term. So far, the sundown process has worked. Otherwise we all might be Egyptians or Babylonians or worse.