X-Message-Number: 16898
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 10:25:24 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: Altruism and its possibility

Hi everyone!

The discussion of value causes me to comment. First of all, I doubt very
much that there is any OBJECTIVE criterion for value. Yes, there are
criteria which can be verified objectively, but that is not the same
thing. I would also agree with Mike Peters that as we expect to live
longer, our ideas about the worth of other human beings to us will 
make them worth much more than now ... not because of any objective
value but simply because a short term approach will become less and
less interesting. And if we look at someone long term, expecting that
someday we'll interact with them again, then we become more valuable
to one another.

I was very affected by study of modern Darwinism, which looks at 
all the different versions of "altruism", and points out that human
beings can have versions much more respectful of other beings than
others, not because that respect is innate but because we take a
long term approach even now, compared to other animals. 

In terms of one issue very important to us as cryonicists, that of
whether or not we'll be revived (not from physics but from the
willingness of others to actually revive us), I have said before
and will repeat that cryonics isn't going to disappear in a few
generations. There will always be conditions for which suspension
(in some form, including perhaps solely in a computer) will become
and remain needed if we wish to live as long as possible. I do not
believe that anyone will even need to explain our revival as 
pure altruism: we'll be revived because we are the precursors of 
others in the future who will also have their own cryonic suspension
for their own problems, whatever those problems will be. 

And incidentally, Darwinism doesn't think much of the idea that
someday we'll simply become people who love everything. Ultimataly
our altruism comes down to doing things to our own interest; its
just that what is to our own interest can change if we think 
long term rather than short term.

		Best wishes and long long life for all,

			Thomas Donaldson

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