X-Message-Number: 10958
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 10:41:31 EST
Subject: guideposts

Chris Fideli (#10952) wrote, in part:

>What's so bad about being a lazy creature who lives a life devoted to
"meaningless" pleasure?  This is an interesting question for cryonicists,
and if I'm not mistaken, the guts of this issue are contained in Robert
Ettinger's "pleasure pill" thought experiment that we discussed a few months
ago (god offers you an eternity of perfectly maintained extasy in exchange
for your ability to think and function outside of yourself).

That was not one of my thought  experiments. Perhaps Mr. Fideli may be
thinking of a discussion of Peter Unger's "Experience Inducer" thought

In any case, the "philosophical" aspects of cryonics (and life in general) are
difficult and unresolved; one of my books in progress aims at the best
currently possible evaluation.

The "Eloi" discussion is simplistic and superficial, partly because there is
no necessary permanent or complete separation between yourself and your
thinking/actuating machine. With chips in the brain or whatever, the machine
could be at least partially integrated into yourself. 

Given the persistence of civilization and progress, Mr. Smith is obviously
correct in saying that "machines" will eventually do everything faster and
better than we do now. Some of those machines are likely to be parts of

Obviously, we all want pleasure or satisfaction and to avoid pain or
dissatisfaction; equally obviously, we want to control our own destinies and
avoid being helpless. 
What should also be obvious, but apparently isn't, is that the basic anatomy
and physiology of pleasure/pain or satisfaction/dissatisfaction remain
unknown. Most of us are presently effectively controlled by high-level,
derivative "satisfactions" which may in many cases be mere expressions of
habit. We often do what we have been trained to think we "ought" to do,
irrespective of our real fundamental interests. Doing the biology and the
logic to clear up this mess will take a while--but I hope to show some

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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