X-Message-Number: 14221
Date: Tue, 01 Aug 2000 19:33:44 -0500
From: david pizer <>
Subject: Survival continued

>From: "Raphael T. Haftka" <>
>Subject: memories versus self circuit


>I certainly seek personal survival and I think that cryonics is at the 
>moment the least speculative route to achieve that. However, I wish that 
>you admit that the relative importance of retaining one's memories versus 
>retaining some self-circuit or some hypothetical continual self awareness 
>is mainly a matter of individual values.

I apologize, and I admit it may be of relative importance as stated above.
Most important, I think, there is an objective definition of self-hood - we
just may not know for certain what it is.  There are many things (as you
may know better than I) that we don't know for certain, but if one is an
Immortalist it may be critical for one's survival to know the answer to
this one.  What I am not as confident on is the role of individual values
in the arena of survival.  Wouldn't it seem like an objective definition is
often more important to one's survival than individual values?  What if
they are opposites?

Searching for that objective definition now is critical because someday
there may be options available like:

1.	Uploading; 

2.	Sownloading; 

3.	Changing brains - in with the new, out with the old; 

4.	Reanimation from cryonics by repairing the old brain versus taking the
old brain apart one atom at a time and making a new brain with atoms in
similar positions;

5.	Making duplicates, and then destroying the original;

6.	And, other options that we have not even thought of yet.  

If you choose the wrong option and it objectivly ends your survival, and
you are really dead, and then new guy (with your old memories) thinks he is
you, and no one else realizes that a critical mistake has been made (they
also think the new guy is you - he is acting just like you used to - how
could they have known?), then the mistake may be repeated often.  

Medical reanimators in the future may think they are restoring frozen
patients when instead (because they are using the wrong techniques) they
are insuring the patients will be dead forever by destroying the very thing
that made you you and me me. 


       Why it does not seem like the essential element is memories.

I admit that memories may play a supportive role in overall self-hood, but
memories change over one's life - they can be so fleeting.  I don't have
all the memories that I had yesterday.  I don't have all the memories I had
a year ago, or 50 years ago.  Tomorrow I will have some different memories
that I never had before, but over all this time I am still me - an always
changing being (a continuing process of self-awareness).

What I am looking for as a marker is a thing about selfhood that doesn't
ever change, what thing remains constant, what is that thing that we can
identify that makes us us??

In any brain:
1.	Memories change. (explained above)
2.	Atoms change. (known)
3.	Structure changes. (Dendrites and dendritic spines are constantly
changing, and                      synapses change)

What doesn't change?  

The *continuing process* itself of feeling different memories and
self-awareness doesn't change: The Unique-Self-Aware-Continuing-Process.  

Let's look at it another way:

If we admit a Cartesian starting point (that at least we know we exist
because we can doubt that we exist and we could not do that if we did not
exist), then I would submit that we also have to be self-aware to hold that
doubt.  If I were not self-aware (aware of my self thinking doubts and
other thoughts) I would NOT know that is was myself that was doing the
doubting.  If I do not know it is my self that is doubting than I do not
know that I exist and we lose even the slim Descarte's tidbit of true
knowledge - we then would have nothing.

However, we can go beyond Descarte:

I doubt therefore I am.

(How do I know I doubt?)

I am aware of my self doubting.

Therefore it is the self being aware of itself doubting (aka:
self-awareness) that makes me me.

Dave Pizer

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