X-Message-Number: 16051
From: "George Smith" <>
References: <>
Subject: Are you the same person over time?  A 2 part thought experiment.
Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2001 12:33:33 -0700

In Cryonet message #16049, David Pizer addressed the question, "Are you the
same person you were yesterday?"

I would like to simply this problem with a practical (thought) experiment.

Part 1:

Walk down a dark alley and suddenly have someone grab you from behind, slam
your back up against a wall and painfully press a long, sharp knife up
against your throat.

Then have your assailant ask you, "Do YOU want to live?"

Answer truthfully.

Part 2:

Repeat the same experiment at any time in the future you choose.

Again, answer truthfully.

Thus far in every thought experiment I have conducted with anyone not
already in acute pain or in the throws of acute depression (in other words
people in fair health under relatively normal life conditions) resulted in
them recognizing that they are ALWAYS the same person who wants to live.

Are you surprised?

On this basis I would suggest that if YOU sign up for cryonics today, the
person you will "become" in the future will still be "you" enough so that
"you" will still wish to choose life over death (again under normal life
conditions of health, etc.).

The rest is irrelevant in my opinion.

By the way, I do not recommend performing this experiment except as a
thought experiment.

Best wishes the day before Easter, a day during which the largest social
group in the world (all Christians) anticipate personal physical immortality
as exemplified by the Founder of their faith.

George Smith

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