X-Message-Number: 13010
From: Keith Rene Dugue <>
Subject: Responses to #13003,13004 and 13007 about the DAF
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 22:24:03 -0800

Scott Badger Wrote:

"After giving it some thought, however, I
too find it difficult to subscribe to the DAF hypothesis."

Don't worry Scott many do.

"I would suggest
though that it is not the central issue.  I would say that the primary
fallacy that people use in these situations has to do with the 
cognitions Mr. Dugue referred to."

I am not trying to say  why most people select death over life just that 
one can not escape suffering through death.

  "IOW, I don't think it's so much that
people choose death because they believe  that death will be some sweet
release from their suffering.  "

But many do exactly that. For those of us who have spent any time around 
the dying all too often it is exactly what we hear.

Code of Medical Ethics, American Medical Association states the following:
"It is *understandable*,  though tragic, that some patients in extreme 
duress such as those suffering from a terminal, painful, debilitation 
illness  may come to decide that death is preferable to life."

The DAF is something that pervades our culture. Also, it is the terminally 
ill that are far more numerous than the suicidal.

"At this point I should point out what appears to be a minor conflict in 
statements (if I understand them correctly). "

"You later state:"

After we are aware nature has done most of it's job. We might avoid 
thinking about it or we might not. Survival mechanisms are not absolute. 
They just have to work most of the time for most organisms.

"My sense is that your first assertion is closer to the truth. 
high levels of  anxiety more generally provoke obsessional thinking as
opposed to avoidant thinking."

Again , I am only saying that you can not escape suffering through death. 
The rest of what I have said is just a sidelight about possible 
explanations but my argument is not dependant on it.

"At any rate, pragmatically speaking, I sense that it will be more helpful 
assist people with suicidal ideations to focus on their irrational
interpretations and extrapolations rather than attempt to explain and 
the DAF hypothesis."

If those are your objectives wrt to this discussion , then you have my best 

"Even so, the DAF hypothesis may have something to contribute to better
understanding the larger picture."

I think what it has to offer is to provide a way to see the truth.

 Mike Perry Wrote:

"To me, it might be said that one can "benefit" from some things without
being aware of them. "

But what I said was: "What  one can not be aware of is irrelevant to that 
Can not be  aware is unknowable not unknown. One's nonexistence is 

"There might pain I have never experienced, and I
benefit by not experiencing it, I would say, even in dreamless sleep, when
effectively I am, temporarily,  nonexistent."

Your analogy is not complete because in death/nonexistence you are not 
aware of anything and  in life most people are  aware of pain and that 
there exists pain that they are not familiar with.

"Again, I think one can benefit from *not* experiencing a negative, even 
unaware. "

This is true only if you exist to appreciate that you did not experience 

"With this I disagree. Would you rather be trapped in a lake of lava 
or totally oblivious? Or closer to home, suppose an evil terrorist has
kidnapped you, who is very good at excruciating, utterly unbearable,
horrifying torture. And he is going to kill you, but you have a choice. (1)
You can elect to take a painless, lethal injection that will end your life
after 6 hours of total unconsciousness. (2) You can be wide awake but
tortured for 6 hours first, then killed. These are your only two choices.
Which would you choose? If it is (1), how do you justify this? Being 
unconscious, it would seem you cannot appreciate the benefit. So would you
then choose torture, or not care one way or the other?"

These questions are outside the scope of the DAF.
There are other reasons why people choose to die but to escape suffering is 
illogical and irrational.
Of course, wrt the DAF it would not matter either way.

You see the trap comes from the fact that we have this tendency to 
extrapolate to nowhere. When one reads through theses options he has the 
unfair advantage "of being around " after he is dead in  his mental 
simulation. He is dead but his mental presence is there in the future to 
appreciate any advantages resulting from his death. Our process of 
extrapolation places us there in the future where we should not be because 
we don't exist. This is where our mental simulation of the future departs 
from reality. Examining this more closely we see that there are three 
things of significance present in the mental simulation and they are:

	1. Our corpse/ nonexistence
	2. Our mental presence
	3.  Advantages  resulting from our death

Let's correct this mental simulation and reanalyze it. Let's delete the 
mental presence. Once this is done we can say absolutely nothing about our 
future.  Our future becomes completely opaque to us. With the observer , 
Our mental presence, gone we are unable to say anything about 1 and 3 
because we can't see past our death/nonexistence. It is in fact the very 
mechanism of extrapolation that distorts our view of reality. This is kind 
of like a mental heisenberg uncertainty principle.  This is what causes the 
death/nonexistence option to feel intuitively correct to most people 
(myself included). We have to artificially shut off this extrapolation 
mechanism ,for example , by imagining that we have reached a brick wall at 
the point of our death. Even with this, our sense of self can sometimes get 
in the way and we jump around the wall to a distorted future.

DAF's relationship to cryonics is that we must be prepared for a possible 
time when we can not think clearly and must rely upon our earlier judgem  
ent. It is difficult enough to do this in a perfect setting not to mention 
the death bed. Dave Pizer's comments on why some don't get suspended and 
what can happen in the end along with Ettinger's comments about the 
psychology of death having many strange elements prompted me to talk about 
the DAF. I have observed it for many years and at times very close. I 
personally know of someone  where the DAF was one of the causes of them 
 not getting suspended. Everyone around them including the doctors just 
reinforced the DAF.

I hope that things like this don't happen to anyone else.
Keith R. Dugue

Version: PGPfreeware 5.5.5 for non-commercial use <http://www.nai.com>


Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=13010