X-Message-Number: 11011
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: Unreachable Cryonets & importance of Identity
Date: Sat, 2 Jan 1999 23:38:41 +1100 (EST)

Hi everyone!

Yes, I did have trouble getting the remainder of last nights message.
Whether this was individual to me I don't know, but I suspected strongly
otherwise. I am using a Unix shell account, not a PPP account. It brings
me ascii text perfectly well, but starts to either break down or become
unreadable if I am sent anything else. Perhaps the problem lay with the
internet system I was accessing. For what it's worth, it's a Linux system.

And if Kevin or others thought I was being unusually cranky, I apologise.
I'll add that a local friend (cryonicist) who was NOT using the same
net access sent me a copy of the entire Cryonet posting. I also got a 
friendly message from John Clark sending me his posting, in ascii so far
as I could see. And I want to thank both people who helped. As for 
crankiness, I felt that it may be a more general problem than Kevin 
realized. And merely storing an inaccessible Cryonet does not make it any
more accessible --- though that might depend on just how it's stored.

As for more pertinent issues, I strongly agree with Mike Perry, though
I will add that after 15 years of work on brains we understand both
memory and even self-awareness much better than before. The issues and
questions involved with identity are important because NOT ALL SUSPENSIONS
WILL BE TOTALLY SUCCESSFUL. I see no reason to believe that they will ALL
be totally successful even if we have full suspended animation: there will
remain unfortunates who are reached very late (you get to define "late",
and it will certainly vary with our technology), or have been severely
damaged by some event, even if reached soon after that damage.

Naturally no one intends to be such an unfortunate, but any serious
attempt at cryonics will have to take into account the fact that not
everyone will be reachable in time or while they are still in good
condition. I personally think this is one of those irreducible features of
the Universe --- though we can make it happen more and more rarely as 
we work on it.

Right now it remains very important, simply because we do not presently
have any technology which promises even undamaged preservation of brains.
It may even remain important with full suspended animation, for one simple
reason: if we do not die from aging, then we may well die from accidents.
And those accidents may very easily occur in circumstances in which ....
you guessed it, you are not reachable "soon enough" for suspended
animation to assure your preservation. Yes, we'd live for much longer, but
then just how we felt about our (semi-)ultimate end will very likely
remain similar to how we feel now. We won't want it. AT ALL.

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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