Where Dies the Light!


There is a new movie, “Ghost in the Shell”. It’s actually a remake of a classic Japanese manga. I have not seen the new movie but it reminds me of my latest ponder.
The nature of intangibles, or to be more exact, the presence in nature of intangibles. I am not talking about concepts like peace, love, hate, emotions. I’m pondering the presence, and existence, of the individual.
We study the observable and credit the seen with existence. We sometimes credit other “unseen” things with existence, but the “witnessed” things are indisputable.
Two people, in a blind, see a group of apes in the forest. The observers tally what they see, and they agree with each other. They see the same amount. They see the size and coloring differences. They agree on the tangibles.
They also see the relationships, and in time, they see the unique personalities. They agree on witnessing the intangibles. The intangibles exist, but where are they?
The Japanese manga tells the story of cyborgs. Creatures that have some parts human, and some parts that are manufactured. Like the Six Million Dollar man, the parts that are manufactured are really upgrades, arms that are stronger, legs that are faster. The cyborg is not robotic because, like RoboCop, there is an organic controller. In the Japanese manga, the Ghost (soul/personality) lives in the Shell.
This intangible Ghost exists in the microtubular structures of the organic brain. It can be measured as electric signals, but it isn’t necessarily electrical. When life ends for the organic, the Ghost seems to disappear.
When the light is turned off, where does it go?
I remember being told as a child that the light beam of a flashlight, if pointed at the night sky, leaves the earth forever at light speed. When the light is turned off, the light photons continue, like water from a hose, until the light is absorbed by some matter, perhaps space dust, millions of miles away.
The light does not die, the source is just turned off.
The manga considers the possibility that artificial intelligence may eventually create a Ghost in the manufactured controllers. It may be that all creatures have a Ghost.
The human spirit is foremost in observation, but other animals exhibit the intangible. Possibly the definition of life is the presence of a Ghost, the direct result of creation.
“Definition of life: the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.”
Two things that stand out, life requires “organic” material, and life requires death.
It doesn’t mention the intangibles, it doesn’t mention “the Ghost”.
The concept of inorganic structures that create a “Ghost” is interesting, and has been the driving story of science fiction from “Space Odyssey” to “The Terminator”.
Will the “Ghost in the Shell” add anything more to the concept? The early manga animation proposed the possibility of an organic Ghost and inorganic Ghost merger. If inorganic is seen as an upgrade, what would the merger look like?
It would seem to me that the natural upgrade would be for the merged “Ghost” to be able to live outside the shell.
If this were to happen, is it alive?