X-Message-Number: 14196
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2000 17:18:58 -0500
From: david pizer <>
Subject: What is a continuer

>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).

When I first posted the idea that a person (a self like you or me) is a
(self-aware) continuer years ago, what I had in mind at the time was
similar to what Robert Ettinger calls the self-circuit.  The point I was
trying to make was the notion that a person is always changing (his
thoughts, his atoms, etc) and yet he is still the same person he was a few
instances ago.  That is because the change from one second to another is so
small it is not enough to change the person (continuer) in any significant
manner.  And neither are the incremental amounts of tiny changes that
accumulate every second of one's life, although from a subjective point of
view a person may (in error) think he is not the person he was years ago.

We cryoncists are interested mainly in personal survival.  The point here
is that in no way (zero) does the original person live on in anyone else's
memory: nor in the words they wrote on paper being read by someone else,
nor in the pictures they drew on canvas being seen by someone else (even
though the words and pictures may cause emotional feeling in the someone
else), nor in the memories they created and stored in their brains being
read or seen or felt by someone else.  To survive you have to continue to
be self-aware. 

There are at present only three states you can be in: alive, suspension,
dead.  Someone else's memory of you (or your memories in them) has zero to
do with your status of survival.   As I said in debates with Mike Perry a
decade ago, there is a special part of the self's brain that continues to
feel the memories and self awareness, and that, in a word, is you.  

Dave Pizer

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