The TOTE acronym stands for a fundamental attribute of consciousness , as it is a fundamental description of adaptive behaviours.
The behaviours of a Test,Operate in a variable way,Test again,Exit only if test is satisfied scheme pretty much define cybernetics and cybernetic systems, and such systems apply generally to any sequenced reactive behaviour. Using simple rule structures like this can lead to complex descriptions of seemingly human only behaviours, thus reducing what seemed uniquely human to a cybernetic system that can theoretically be replicated by a complex "machine".
Given that Machine is more of a pejorative than a descriptive we need to
Ok beyond the term machine and cybernetic system will do nicely. Such systems exist in embodied and disembodied forms emphasising that the real question is not about orm but about interaction. Consciousness as interaction has radically changed over our life time . We now routinely interact with rock and stone in the form of electronic consumer devices, and we expect voices to filter through these out of the electrical essence that surrounds us.
Thus we are more conscious of the potential for conscious interactions with all types media. The unnerving test is when we get the feeling we are being tested back!
It is undoubtedly strange but none the less true that many cybernetic systems are conscious. However it takes more than consciousness to survive. On the other hand, many viruses are totally unconscious, and yet they survive very well. The complex system we call a living organism really does have several defining attributes, and therefore consciousness should not really be singled out as special. What is special and unique is the complex organisms that survive and increase in complexity genetically, enabling greater evolutionary survivability.
Of course, as an individual it is a ponder able whether ones consciousness and experience can go on forever. But the koheleth concludes after an exhaustive search that the individual should take his or her enjoyment now, not delay it to some future date, because who really knows if the spirit, the breath in man goes upward at death while that of the beast goes downward into Sheol? Many might be shocked to read what the koheleth actually says, but I have found the Kohelth words and insight to be extremely accurate and comforting in many a hard time.
From a modern Skinnerian analysis,we are perfectly tuned biologically to survive in the now, to exist and be motivated by the cyclical nature of the systems we live in and under, we are also psychologically disposed to living in the now with a rosy aspect of the future.mall of these are optimum for surviving the next few minutes, hours days and weeks. And yet we survive years. This is in part due to the survivability of our ecosystems, and the stability of our solar system environment. The bare facts are it is extremely unlikely that we as individuals even as a race have any ultimate longevity, but that is not the same as saying that the universe has done building complex organisms based on our genetic blueprint!. The point is not individual survival not even race survival, but the cyclical periodicity within the universe being able to create consciousness of increasing complexity forever! Thus I might not survive, but I might be born again! Reproduced once again in an endless cycle of increasing complexity, not just mere repetition.
This is rather impersonal I know, but considering I live for the now not the future it is possibly the best of all possible worlds!
Should we strive for a future?
By God yes, for that is how we are built to survive.now does not last very long you know! And the thrill of striving for a goal just beyond is one of our chief psychological now motivators. In any case the motion of the universe is always change in sequence, complex but sequential nonetheless; aperiodic but still sequential. Striving for a sequential goal is therefore stochastic ally in tune with the universe.
I have a great sympathy or empathy for any mythology that makes this more palatable without obscuring the essential reality of change beyond our control and knowledge but not destined to utter oblivion,mwhatever that means. Rather infinite possibility infinite transformation, and the possibility of somewhere the universe creating an advanced copy of me to continue my experience of the now in the all powerful hand of the universe. Very Bhuddust and also very wise if combined with the Kohelths teachings of enjoying the now!