X-Message-Number: 16077
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 23:52:47 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Identity and Resurrection

Recently there has been more discussion on the old issues of personal 
identity, duplicates, and so on. My feeling is that a person is essentially 
informational in nature, thus could be continued by copying, including 
uploading to a suitable computational device, whenever such may become 
available. We are not atoms in motion but evolving patterns of information. 
Our patterns are what are important, not the particular material substrate 
that may instantiate those patterns. This theory is developed at length in 
my book, *Forever for All* which (for those who don't already know) you can 
read about at http://upublish.com/books/perry.htm. Recently, when I lost my 
father to a lung disorder, I had a chance to put this theory to the test--a 
test of confidence, at least. Dad was interested in cryonics, but only in a 
sort of academic way, never at the personal level. He didn't think it had a 
chance of working, he said, though he was also interested in the progress 
being made with ice blockers and the like, and seemed as if he might be 
willing to reconsider his position if enough positive results were 
obtained. Unfortunately, it did not happen soon enough and he perished 
without being suspended.

On April 3, I and other relatives were gathered around the dying, bedridden 
man, who was still quite lucid and able to communicate with facial gestures 
and head movements though he could no longer speak due to having been 
intubated for many days. In fact he had emphatically wanted the tubes 
pulled, and, being advised that his prognosis was poor, we had seconded 
this wish to the hospital staff, who carried it out. This gave him an hour 
or so of lucidity before the gradual loss of oxygen saturation induced a 
drowsiness and coma, which became terminal the following morning. During 
the lucid interval we said our tearful goodbyes. He clearly was expecting 
the end, at one point gesturing with a sweeping arc and pushing down with 
his outstretched palm to indicate "it's over," and the calm way he faced 
his death was, I think, worthy of Socrates. Like that ancient sage and many 
others, he had come to believe in an afterlife, and the subject came up 
among us. The other relatives expressed their assurances that this life was 
not the end, there would be a hereafter. My father then turned to me, 
smiling and waiting for my comment, which I readily gave, based on my own 
views about pattern survival. I agreed that death was not the end, and 
noted also that I had written a book on the subject, which he would 
(someday) get to read.

Before that is to happen, a lot of other things must happen, needless to 
say. But the pattern survival theory can be made to fit the facts, just 
like other, contrasting theories that deny the possibility of resurrection 
after death and loss of structure. It won't be easy, but the fabric of 
reality does offer the possibility, I think, of eventually creating 
replicas of the long deceased, who then will live again. Get signed up and 
have your remains well preserved, if at all possible. But if not, you can 
still have confidence that death is not an absolute.

Mike Perry

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=16077