This mind-bending little item, by Graham Lawton, appears in New Scientist, 23rd Feb, as part of an item on the nature of the Self. I know what a lot of philosophicals you all are, so enjoy and comment!
"I Am the One and Only"
Think back to your earliest memory. Now project forward to the day of your death. It is impossible to know when it will come, but it will.
What you have just surveyed might be called your "self-span", or the time when this entity which you call your self exists. Either side of that, zilch.
Which is very mysterious, and a little unsettling. Modern humans have existed for perhaps 100,000 years, and more than 100 billion have already lived and died. We assume that they all experienced a sense of self similar to yours. None of these selves has ever made a comeback, and as far as we know, neither will you.
What is it about a mere arrangement of matter and energy that gives rise to a subjective sense of self? It must be a collective property of the neurons in your brain, which have mostly stayed with you throughout life, and which will cease to exist after you die. But why a given bundle of neurons can give rise to a given sense of selfhood,and whether that subjective sense can ever reside in a different bundle of neurons, may forever remain a mystery."