X-Message-Number: 14150
From: "Brook and Helen" <>
Subject: The present moment self responses
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 09:52:03 -0700

Mike Perry, #14141, writes
>>> As a rough approximation, I will say that my present self survives in a
future self if that self has memories of having been the present self and
feels a sense of identification with the present self. This is not an
utterly meaningless idea. <<<

response- The use of "survival" above certainly has some meaning.  But it
still doesn't indicate to me that some essential common denominator survives
into the future.  One thing I like about the present-moment-self hypothesis
of survival is that it passes all the hypothetical problems I can subject it
to.  Whereas, other hypotheses of survival can all be challenged with
counter-examples that leave them in a state of paradox.  For example, in
your above description, one could imagine that a future historian (not your
future self) finds great interest in you and gets to know your past very
well and even comes to feel a camaraderie with your past.  Meanwhile, your
future self has moved on to issues of the day and rarely if ever remembers
his distant past self.  In fact those memories may have been wiped clean
from his brain.  Therefore, the historian, not your future self, has the
greater link to your past.  Have you become the historian?  I think this
example shows the limits of using memory as a survival criterion.  I find no
paradox in saying "We are who we are now. We will become someone different
in the future.  Our present and future selves may share some commonality
such as memories...or they may not."

Bob Ettinger, #14142, writes
>>> But I cannot emphasize too strongly that, in our current condition of
ignorance, it is grotesquely premature to draw any firm conclusions about
the nature of reality. <<<

response- I agree.  The present-moment-self idea that I like may prove to be
wildly wrong based on our current highly distorted view of reality.  That is
another big reason I have cryonics arrangements.

>>> In particular, a standing wave (with its modulations) must extend over
both space and time. I have postulated something along the lines of a
standing wave as the basis of the self circuit.<<<

response- I am uncomfortable with viewing time like picture frames in a
movie with the present being a single frame.  Continuity of time, like
space, is appealing.  I can see how things "bind space," that is, exist over
a finite volume.  And I can also imagine binding time (somewhat in conflict
with my earlier posting).  But if "binding time" is a real phenomenon, then
is seems likely it is a general phenomenon applicable to many or all things.
The self circuit has no SPECIAL time-binding attributes.  Therefore, it
seems unproductive to often describe the self-circuit as time binding.

If time binding is real, then the present-moment self view would be modified
to be more like the following... One's identity spans time.  One's current
identity peaks at the present and falls off quickly into the past and future
with "tails" of identity extending infinitely into the past and future. Even
if one dies, one's identity continues in that the physical remains have some
commonality with the past entity.  Again, no special common denominator
called "me" survives entirely into the future.  The more the identity
changes, the more "me" changes, until at some point "me" becomes someone
else for all intents and purposes.  I can't come up with a mental example
that portrays this approach as a paradox.

Regarding Scott Badger's comments on survival.... I find much to agree with
and little to object to.  The points and counter points are numerous and
perhaps we will cross paths someday and discuss these things in a way not
achievable in email.

Brook Norton

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=14150