Somewhere earlier in this thread I cautioned about taking metaphors beyond where they are useful and adding assumptions to them (burdening them with personal beliefs) as you go. There is nothing wrong with extrapolating them as far as is useful to do so but do be careful to be aware of where the intended metaphor ends and your beliefs masquerading as obvious logic begin. An author states that "her eyes sparkled like stars" and two guys get in a fight over whether the stars were bright pulsars, angry red giants, or more subdued brown dwarfs. They write the author demanding to know exactly what sort of stars was he talking about because this issue has become critical to their understanding of the book. A few hundred years ago the answer to the question: "How many angels could stand on the head of a pin" became a life and death matter as an extremely limited metaphor morphed into a test of dogma versus heresy. What I said above about the metaphor "AUM" holds equally true for the metaphors "IUOC" and "FWAU" - indeed for all metaphors. The conclusion of that discussion was: "Better to just live with uncertainty and remain open-minded and skeptical than to specify out of habit and belief (it must be that way, how else could it be?) what is un-specifiable. Details unnecessary to the logical exposition just clutter the result."
With that being said, let's see what specificity can be brought to our understanding of Individuated Units Of Consciousness (IUOC) and Free Will Awareness Units (FWAU). The term IUOC is born of the need for The Larger consciousness system (LCS or equivalently AUM) to lower its entropy (evolve itself) by experiencing and interacting with itself. Thus it breaks itself up into interacting pieces called IUOCs. Thus, The One is "All there is" and "All there is" makes up The One. The LCS is a conscious information system, thus the IUOC, as a subset, is also a conscious information system (self-modifying interactive memory, processing, and purpose).
We say that only consciousness is fundamental and that all reality frames are virtual. That is to say that consciousness is the source and all else is derived. The Source (LCS or AUM or The One) is an information system, that means that what it does is transmit information in the form of data and interpret information from data received. That is exactly what we as IUOCs do, which is not surprising since we are subsets of the LCS. We are it (at least a part of it), and it is us. How much of a part, you ask? Well, isn't any part that might be left over after all the IUOCs are counted also fit the definition of an IUOC? What else does the LCS have to do besides interact with itself in order to evolve rather than dissipate? Is any management of the IUOCs required or supporting infrastructure needed? Is it other IUOCs that perform those functions? All IUOCs are not equivalent - all are in a state of change and at different stages of evolution). (Caution: naming all the types of IUOC along with what they do and how and why they do it is pushing these metaphors too far.) The point is that we are it and it is us - period - the LCS is a collection of IUOCs - but, they are not all just like us in understanding, decision space, and the size of their big Picture. However, they all transmit personal, subjective, information in the form of data and interpret personal, subjective, information from data received. That is what digital conscious beings in a digital information system do - that is all they can do besides operate on their data to lower their personal entropy and focus their intent (use their free will) to interact in such a way that helps others do the same.
All information, and thus, all reality is individual, personal, subjective, and uncertain for all IUOCs and thus for AUM (consciousness as a whole) - even if there are shared components as in a multiplayer game. Consequently, significance and content within communication - i.e., productive interaction -- must be assessed in terms of probability. Probability is a logical process invented to deal with uncertainty. The whole consciousness system is evolving in its own uncertain probabilistic way as required by evolution. Recall that I have often said that people captured in the historical database (e.g. your last incarnation) are (when you interact with them) just as they were when they were "alive" but without free will. That they represent a probability model of the character they played in that lifetime. They exist in the database as a collection of all the choices they could possibly have made and the probability of making each. That is the information that defines them within that incarnation - exactly the same information that flows from the future probable database through the present (where free will follows intent into action within the virtual reality) then on into the past database as DELTA-t cycles tick away. That is literally true. An IUOC interacts as a collection of information (self-modifying interactive memory, processing, and purpose) that has, at its present moment, a probability (based on past interactions) of how it will interact with future possibilities. Moreover, it has within its processing function a freewill intent that can modify any of those probabilities that lie within its decision space, thereby redefining the IUOC into a new being or perhaps better said: into a new state of being with a new entropy level.
Because, experience shows that an IUOC can have multiple incarnations (FWAUs) simultaneously and can serve as an intuitive conduit to those incarnations (higher self), two new metaphors are invented to facilitate our conversation: The FWAU (soul) is the interface (receives the PMR data stream) within the consciousness system that is committed to a specific PMR virtual trainer experience packet and the higher-self is the connection between the PMR character and the IUOC/LCS. In fact, the IUOC is not separate from the LCS. It is not distinct in the way we think of a PMR thing having weight and taking up space. It is a piece of the LCS that bubbles up to the surface as needed and disappears back into the LCS again when not needed. A rough analogy: Think of a Word document. It is not stored (it does not live) in a little corner of the hard drive, it is scattered all over the drive and is pulled together whenever it is needed. It is "One with the drive" until gathered back up into a document Ã¯ÂÅ . The LCS is indeed a group of IUOCs but they do not all live in separate corners of consciousness-space. They melt back into the LCS - the source - and a new one is reassembled (bubbles up) out of the LCS as necessary with the appropriate constraints, histories and portfolios required to do what needs to be accomplish next as an interactive part of the system - this is AUM, the conscious digital data field interacting with itself. The FWAU, IUOC, Oversoul, Higher-self, guide are, as you have heard me say many times, simply metaphors for your interface with the LCS. So communicating with your IUOC, higher self, guide, etc, is the same as communicating with the LCS. The LCS with self-modifying interactive memory, processing, and purpose generates a collection of rules and rule-sets, data and information to define and serve the concept of evolution through the interactive experience of IUOCs. I use these metaphors to help you put these concepts into a form you can understand and profitably deal with. You may find this new exposition unhelpful and not to your liking - if so, let it go. Use metaphors that work for you - let go of the ones that leave you feeling cold and naked on the side of the road wondering what to do next. It is not so much that some metaphors are more accurate than others (that is true but not particularly important), as it is that some are more useful than others to facilitate growth in different individuals.
At PMR character death, what is left in the historical data base is the record of that lifetime (all the data that is important from a big picture perspective) in terms of the probability (updated by this lifetime) of all the decisions both made and not made. One can come back 100 years later and interact with that historical character and it will be just like interacting with that individual within that incarnation -- including all the physical, spiritual, emotional and egoic content -- except there is no free will since the processing function stayed with the IUOC/AUM. Meanwhile, after death, the old FWAU dissolves after uploading and the IUOC is at least partially regrouped out of the LCS again (as needed), centered in a new virtual reality (with its own rule-set, purpose, probable information field, free will choices and decision space) that helps it reorient and integrate the just past experience packet (into the IUOC and thus into the LCS) in order to maximize lessons learned and plan future sessions in the PMR trainer.
What do we mean by virtual? We call something virtual if is a creation of consciousness - i.e., it exists only in an IUOC's mind or AUM's mind. More specific to us: Something is virtual if it is an interpretation of data received by an IUOC/FWAU. All of the content of consciousness is virtual - only consciousness itself is fundamental.
All information results from an interpretation of data received from "other". Other is just another part of AUM being used to create interactive learning opportunities through the successful processing of experience into new growth (decreasing system entropy). Are not the IUOCs themselves a creation of AUM's mind", then they too are virtual but at a higher level - like a simulation within a simulation. IUOCs are virtual probabilistic subsets of rules/data/information whose output must be interpreted by AUM and by other IUOCs. IUOCs, like AUM itself, represent self-modifying units of interactive memory, processing, and purpose that take in data and output data. Between the data input and data output of these virtual beings there exists an intent and free will which generates (through the processing function) personal subjective information out of input data and memory. AUM's plan is that massive free will interaction between IUOCs will generate inputs with effective feedback that, when run through the IUOC's self modifying processing function, will lead to the lowering of the entropy within the IUOC. That is its function and purpose - to transform interactive experience data into understanding leading to love and personal growth.
Every sentient (consciousness) virtual being in PMR has, by definition, a free will intent that operates within a finite decision space inherent to that individual being. This category has a wide span ranging from people to insects, worms and perhaps even protozoa. Some decision spaces at the lower end of the scale are infinitesimal while some at the opposite end are expansive. Among humans, who have the potential to hang out at the expansive end of the scale, there is an extremely wide variation. Determining whether a critter has a finite decision space is very difficult as one progresses toward the lower end of the scale. We may assume that independent decisions are being made but it is problematical differentiating at that level between hard wiring and actual free will decisions. For an easy example of hardwired: plants are alive and responsive (interactive) to both light and gravity among other things. But a plant stalk belonging to a plant that needs light doesn't make an independent decision whether to move its leaves toward the light or keep them facing the dark. Where the light strikes the stalk cells are constricted and the stalk automatically moves toward the light. The process is hardwired, no decision is made. The same goes for plant cells passing water, nutrients and information to wherever they are need to help the plant survive and reproduce. Simply reactive behavior -- evolutionary hardwiring to make the plant more adaptable.
Now in the animal kingdom there is also compulsive hardwiring called instinct. Where instinctive hardwiring leaves off and true decision making appears in any critter is somewhat hard to tell. However, that is the line of demarcation (a finite independent decision space) between a conscious being and a biological non-conscious robot running a program. All critters have instincts and run hardwired programs (including humans) but some critters have independent decision space as well, and it is these critters, no matter how big or small, that I am calling sentient conscious beings with connections to the larger consciousness system. All living things (critters and plants) are interactive to some extent with their environments - they take in data and react to it. However the non-consciousness ones are simply obeying a rule-set like your desktop computer or an industrial robot - doing what their rule-set says they must do in each case - they have no independence from the rule-set in how they react. Consider these to be biological computer generated players that need no FWAU interface to the LCS - aware of their environment, but not conscious.
Although every conscious being is connected to the LCS through some sort of interface, all interfaces are not the same. Now, the metaphor I used in MBT to describe this interface for humans was an IUOC. As discussed above, how well this metaphor can be extended to fit other species depends mostly on the "I" - how independent is the unit of consciousness. Some dolphins, whales, dogs, birds, monkeys, pigs, foxes, and many others would seem to be pretty obviously independent with individual personalities that demonstrate creative problem solving behavior. With humans, the connection to the LCS is direct where intuition and "guides" (two more metaphors) provide an individual interface. All conscious critters (including humans) have a FWAU and thus are, as Claudio says, an avatar for an IUOC. With some humans that is the extent of their interface, they have not developed communications through intuition or guides. Many non-human critters show what appears to be intuition, and a very few may even have individual guides. Most have what are typically called "group souls" which is a metaphor to indicate that there is not enough differentiation between members of a species to warrant individual attention from the LCS so the species shares a single interface that supports a huge number of parallel lines.
This is enough clarification for now, hopefully it covers the basics - it's already enough to puts most readers into a coma. I will save the rest until additional questions focus on where this needs to go next.