X-Message-Number: 14183
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 21:46:18 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Real Survival Is Not Eternal Return

Lee Corbin,  #14176, wrote:
>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? 

Yes you can. The problem with Tom, which is discussed in Tipler's book and
mine as well, is called the Eternal Return. We can assume that all of Tom's
subjective experiences (considered as computation patterns) are finite in
number--he can never go beyond a certain threshold. Because of this, in
effect he is mortal, not immortal. Bringing to life a new Tom continuer
every quintillion years, say, and letting *that* person have the same
experiences, and doing this over and over, ad infinitum, would not make Tom
immortal. For he must perceive each duplicated experience once only, not
multiply. That is, he can have no direct awareness that each "moment" in his
life actually is multiply instantiated--any more than you or I can. Again,
this is discussed in my book, and at much greater length than I can report
here. (I should say too that the multiverse idea seems to make such eventual
recreations of copies inevitable. See "Unboundedness," ch. 6 of my book.
They aren't a big deal. What is is that the developing individual keep on
developing and adding *new* experiences to the archive of memories that are
never lost, and reviewing these experiences from time to time.)

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

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

I'll post to this forum when it's available--hopefully in only a few days.

Mike Perry

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=14183