X-Message-Number: 14826
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2000 08:39:59 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: the relevance of memories

Hi again!

I feel that I must answer Dave Pizer's comments about memory.

First, neuroscientists have now found a variety of different kinds of
memory, some of which we do not PRESENTLY know how to erase without
erasing the person. It is not that we don't have other features
at least as important, but that if we genuinely lose ALL our memories
then no one (including us) could really verify that we are the 
same person as existed beforehand. So where would that put us?

Not only that, but we presumably want cryonic suspension because
we want to return as (in some sense, and with some damage) the
same person we were before. If we came back with no memories at all,
then the reason for cryonic suspension itself becomes meaningless.
All it takes to revive us is (say) a photograph of how we looked
and some cells to be cloned. This would, of course, be far cheaper
than suspension.

If we refer only to the loss of particular kinds of memory, or 
memory of particular incidents, we are clearly bigger than that. It
is hardly necessary to revive ALL our memories in order for us
to feel that we are really the same person... perhaps damaged, yes,
but still the same person. Moreover, just which memories and which
KIND of memories we'd want if we want to feel we have been revived
are likely to differ with each of us. Yet revival with no memories
at all of any kind does not look to me like anything worthwhile.

Perhaps Dave Pizer feels differently. And so I ask the simple question:
given, Dave, that you need not even be suspended in order for such
a revival to happen, why do you want cryonic suspension? Would you
be satisfied by revival of a physical twin who had no memories at
all of your life? or even of your name?

		Best wishes and long long life for all,

			Thomas Donaldson

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