Each time I sleep
I'm sad I will be replaced by somebody else
In the morning
Exactly like me
Going around, drinking all my drinks
Kissing my wife
Thinking what I think
Making me resentful but
Each time I get up in the morning I'm glad
I took someone else's place
--They Might Be Giants, "Sleep" (2013)
Imagine that you die, and meet with god. He gives you two options – either die with no afterlife (as in you utterly cease to exist) or you are sent back to earth with the last 24 hours of your memory erased. Which do you choose? It seems to me that there is really no difference between the two, at least to the current version of ‘you’ that is speaking to god.
--Reddit user Steve_Drambus, Is a break in conciousness equivelant to death?
There's a disturbing secret hiding in plain sight in Star Trek. Everyone you love in the show, everyone you've loved on the show, has died. ... The transporter on the ship breaks down the atoms of each person and thing that steps in, reassembling them on the other side. But that original? That original dies.
Is there a word that describes the philosophies expressed in these examples, i.e. that any interruption in consciousness, any discontinuity in the process of body or mind, is equivalent to dying, or at least changing identity?
I considered Monism (the belief that matter and mind are inseparable), but I felt that didn't preclude the resurrection of the mind in a different context given a suitably indistinguishable material substrate (e.g. Star Trek's transporter).
I'm working on a story set in a near future where technology allows for a "neural snapshot" to be taken of a person's brain before death, and then for that snapshot to be downloaded into a freshly produced organic body. Since there's a lot of information that needs to go into each snapshot, they're only uploaded every couple minutes--meaning that every time the process is completed, a couple minutes of memories/experience (those immediately leading up to death) are lost forever. I'm hoping to articulate the in-universe position of people who argue that this technology does not in fact extend life, due to discontinuity of consciousness.
Example of intended usage:
Man, I feel weird about coming back after the accident. I have most of my memories, and I still look and think the same, but there's no getting around the break that happened. I think I'll change my name. Tom's dead, I'm a different person now.
Wow, I didn't know you were a ******.