X-Message-Number: 10628
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 14:37:29 EDT
Subject: Ugga Bugga

Thanks to Rudi Hoffman for his kind words (#10622), which stimulate a couple
of comments.

Mr. Hoffman referred to part of one of my messages as "uncharacteristically
modest." Certainly he is right that (sometimes) I am not modest at all; anyone
entering any important arena must have the self-confidence to stand against
all comers, conceding nothing to "authority."  At the same time, anyone with
even one foot in reality must also have the humility to understand that he can
be mistaken. "Of my many virtues, the one of which I am proudest is my

On the topic of monuments, memorials, etc., I have often poked fun at the
delusions of those who want to "live on" in their works or in the memories of
others. One of the cartoons we used in THE IMMORTALIST (Mae did the drawing)
showed a cave with a dead cave man lying in state, friends and relatives
standing around. The shaman says: "Ugga Bugga have more-than-three woman,
more-than-three child. Slay long-tooth. Invent palm leaf fly swatter. Him name
live forever."

Today rich people spend fortunes on mausoleums, hospital wings with their
names on plaques, endowed chairs at universities, etc. Part of the motivation
appears to be the sense that they are personally "immortalized" and that,
somehow, this makes death less than oblivion. Somehow, people seem to
feel--for example--that if some idiots gawk at Greta Garbo's cement footprints
in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater (Do I have that right?), this somehow
does something for Greta.

Well, we don't know all the answers yet. I think probably information is
conserved in the universe, but it is not in the least clear that the
"information paradigm" of survival is correct. Also very unclear is the
relationship among memory, personality, and the "self circuit," the seat of
subjectivity (qualia). What is clear--or ought to be--is that you have your
best chance if you arrange to preserve your personal carcass with minimal

Perhaps Mr. Hoffman and many of you will live until the anti-senescence
breakthroughs. It seems highly likely that Mae and I, among many others, will
have to join some of our relatives and friends in the freezer. We don't want
monuments to our memories; we hope for your continuing efforts to keep us safe
and eventually revive us.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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