J. and Alturi remained silent, so Galileo went on. But if the connections between the hemispheres are warm, as they are in your own brain, you can try as hard as you may wish to split your experience in two, to see SO independently of NO, but you will not succeed. Just as you will not succeed in seeing the shape of things without their color, or their color without their shape— you will remain one J., one experience, one consciousness.
“Impregnable logic,” said J. “One plus one equals two, but not quite,” he added.
One thing is certain, said Galileo: there is nothing it is like to be the sensor of a camera— consciousness cannot live there, because the sensor is not a single entity, though it may be rich with a million photodiodes. Just like there is nothing it is like to be two scientists, one in the northern and one in the southern hemisphere. Nothing it is like to be a row of twelve men, each thinking of a different letter.
“I see it,” said J. “The camera may be large, but is less than poor in consciousness: it owns none and lacks existence in the realm of experience. Compared to it, even a photodiode is richer, it owns a wisp of consciousness, the dimmest of experiences, one bit, because each of its states is one of two, not one of trillions. Yet being a photodiode is more than not being at all. I wonder,” J. went on. “What if one splits the brain into a million parts? First left and right, than front and back into four quarters, then with a hundred other cuts through its white matter, into a million separate grains, as separate as the grains on a cob, or the photodiodes on the camera sensor: Would consciousness disintegrate?”
“Never mind,” said Alturi. “Galileo hasn’t shown a difference in number. If consciousness lives on information, one must squeeze money out of a formula, the formula of S.”
Allow me, said Galileo at once, without raising his eyes. If we cut the camera sensor into its one million parts, the array of photodiodes, how much information is generated by each photodiode?
“One bit, of course,” answered Alturi. “That’s what the formula of S. tells us.”
Now, said Galileo, how much information is generated by the camera sensor?
“What a question,” said Alturi. “Being constituted of a million photodiodes, it will generate one million bits.”
ll right, said Galileo. How much information is generated by the camera sensor above and beyond its parts? Beyond its one million photodiodes, I mean.
“Zero, of course,” said Alturi after a while, not expecting he would be questioned this way. Precisely, said Galileo, feeling he was usurping Alturi’s role. The camera does not generate any more information than the sum of its parts. Therefore, at least with respect to information, we have no need to invoke the camera above its parts. We might as well drop it from the catalog of useful entities, cut it with Occam’s razor, and stick with a million photodiodes. Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.
“That’s just a matter of perspective,” intervened Alturi, who seemed busy tipping the smoldering tobacco in his pipe onto the floor. “You like to talk of photodiodes and ban the camera, I may prefer the camera and spurn the photodiodes.”
Not so, not so, hurried Galileo, think of Ishmael. He would have seen SONO and understood “I am.” But after the connections between his two brains were frozen, and Ishmael had disappeared, nobody would be left who could see and understand SONO, “I am.” Ishma and El together could never make up for it, for one saw SO and understood “I know,” the other saw NO and understood “No.” In this case, unlike with the camera, the whole is more than the sum of its parts and cannot be reduced to them; Ishmael is more than Ishma and El, and SONO cannot be reduced to SO and NO.