X-Message-Number: 16094
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 12:45:38 +0100
From: Jon Masters <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #16086 - #16091
References: <>

Lee writes:

> Suppose that you are taken into the next room where a
> frozen duplicate of you, made five minutes ago, lies
> encased in ice.  There is a briefcase on top the ice
> cask containing ten million dollars, and you may either
> (a) choose to have your duplicate and the money be
> disintegrated, or (b) choose to be disintegrated
> yourself.  If you select the latter, then the duplicate
> is defrosted and gets to deposit the money.
> The question is, given that you are to make the most
> self-interested decision you can, for the benefit of
> the person you consider yourself to be, would you choose
> (a) or (b)?

This is the second question I find myself asking continously at the
moment (the first being a combination of why I am here/how and why the
Universe is here) - the meaning of self.

The trouble for me is that "me" is a unique collection of neural
networks encased within my brain - now once you copy that you have two
unique neural networks which just happen to be the same. Both
"individuals" _believe_ that they are the same person and both have
separate willingness to live.

In your example, I would probably choose (a) for two reasons:

* the duplicate may not also be me however by having two simultaneous
  copies of myself I can answer the meaning of self and this is far
  more important to me than any amount of money you care to mention.
* the moment I was copied I continued to live and thus the "me" entering
  the chamber with the frozen copy is not the duplicate of the body
  of the iceman.

Now the question I find all of this relating to is one of religion. I
recently decided that I must logically be a total atheist because I find
it impossible to believe religious arguments about self and one's

Now having said this, I find myself wondering how the Universe got to be
here in the first place and thus debate whether there is perhaps a
greater existance. If there is a greater existance then an idea which
has occured to me is that our genetic codes may in fact represent some
sort of "ID" tag which identifies the connection between spiritual self
and physical self - thus a copy with the same DNA makeup would
simultaneously be part of one conscience. One big universal telephone
number in to the mind :P

Still, most of my ideas seem like random wibblings to me - just thought
someone else might be interested to know that it bothers me a lot too.
If anyone solves the meaning of self then I believe they will have also
answered the meaning of life and I will owe them a drink :)

Reminds me that I need to sort out an Alcor membership soon, no good
putting that off even though statistically I have 55 years left.


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