X-Message-Number: 14186
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 10:05:09 -0400
From: "Raphael T. Haftka" <>
Subject: In support of Brook Norton

Quantitative view of identity,

Wanted to add my two-cents worth to reinforce Brook Norton's view that 
identity is a continuum rather than an on-off kind of thing. My mother in 
law has died recently, and my wife received among other condolences the 
message that her mother "lives" on in the her memory and the memory of 
others who have known her (the mother).

As meager as this consolation is, there is a grain of truth in it. I know, 
for example, that I can tell how my (now deceased) father would have 
reacted to most situations, and I often repeat many of his favorite 
phrases. We are all, of course, looking for a much greater DEGREE of 
survival than afforded in the memory of those who know us (which is 
ephemeral too). However, this does not mean that it is necessarily a 
different KIND of survival.

Even the term immortality is somewhat inappropriate because it is an on-off 
term instead of representing a continuum. Even those of us who will be 
eventually revived are likely to perish at some future time. It is much 
nicer that this future is thousands, millions, or billions of years away 
than decades away, however, it is still a matter of how long rather than 
living forever.

I never use the term immortality when talking about cryonics. My immediate 
goal is to live 1000 years. After I live several hundred years, I may 
decide that I want more, but this decision can wait.

Raphael (Rafi) Haftka, Distinguished Professor          
University of Florida                                   phone:352-392-9595
Department of Aerospace Engineering,                    fax: -7303
Mechanics and Engineering 
Science                       http://www.aero.ufl.edu/~haftka
Gainesville, FL 32611

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