X-Message-Number: 14176
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 23:58:28 -0700
From: Lee Corbin <>
Subject: Survival

Mike Perry #14167 wrote:
>I think about the case of the would-be immortal, and ask
>what would be a reasonable requirement for there to *be*
>a being who survives and is sentient forever. Among the
>requirements: the being in question must accumulate memories
>that are never forgotten, so it becomes a successively larger
>memory superset.  *But* not every memory that is taken in
>need be unforgettable.  Many can be lost, so long as a growing
>core of memories that are not lost is maintained. This is what
>I call convergence to an ideal self.

These requirements are highly desirable to me, and I would
argue, should be to anyone.  I think it affords a better idea
of what a person is.  But I don't think that they're really
necessary.  Consider some happy-go-lucky friend of yours, Tom,
who's always been into partying more than anything else.  A
trillion years pass, and you go to check up on him.  But he
doesn't have a successively larger memory superset! He can only
remember the essentials, i.e., approximately those same core
memories that he's always had.  In addition, well, there have
been a lot of great parties that he can tell you about, but
which next century he won't remember at all.

Your instincts would assure you that it was still ol' Tom, and
they'd be right.  He's still the same guy provided that the
memories aren't too different, and his personality traits
remain the same.  Ol' Tom claims that barring a big accident,
like the galaxy explodes or something, he'll be immortal.
Can you really say that he's wrong? 

>See "Interchangeability," ch. 7 of my book.

Sorry that I've not kept up with things recently.  How do I get
your book?


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