X-Message-Number: 18045
From: "George Smith" <>
References: <>
Subject: Terrorism and Identity
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 11:29:08 -0800

2 comments on some of Thursday's posts.

(1) Terrorism.

Daniel Pipes, the foreign affairs expert on the Middle East (contributor to
"Middle Eastern Forum" and son of Richard Pipes, long time expert on Russia)
has stated bluntly that there is a demonstrated inverse correlation between
the incidence of terrorism and the use of harsh physical retaliation, which
the current attacks in Afghanistan by US led forces is demonstrating
incontrovertibly once again.  Captain Sir Richard Burton in the 1800's noted
the same phenomenon.  Until the British began to respond to native
resistance with the same level of ferocity and ruthlessness that had been
the cultural norm, the armed rebellions grew.

Stated simply, that culture is still run by the premise that "might is
right" and, according to Daniel Pipes and others, if the United States had
as a continuous policy always responded with violent and overpowering force
to terrorism, these acts would have been stopped decades ago quite literally
saving the lives of untold numbers and obviating the need of such responses
as the Gulf War and the current conflict.

I personally feel that a single nuclear strike against one Afghanistan city
on September 12th would have ended large scale worldwide terrorism on the
spot for at least fifty years.  The current ongoing waves of conventional
attacks may, with even greater loss of life over a period of years (as the
conflict is extended to Iraq) finally accomplish the same result.

(2) Identity duplication.

If a "copy" of you is created and "you" (the original) remains dead, the
only person speaking up at that time will be someone who has your memories,
and believes he "is" you.

I have the same experience any morning I awaken and believe I am still the
guy with George Smith's memories.

Anyone who knows you now will find that by every test of memory your "copy"
is you.

As long as we assume there is some "essence" which exists apart from your
body, memories and personality as a whole which is the "real" you, this
issue of identity will remain a problem.

If instead we simply recognize that identity is not a thing but a process
(identification is a mental act derived from language), then the search for
the "essence" vanishes as a misconception.  Since it is both possible to
change that which we identity with and to even drop identification entirely,
it is clear that there is no "essence" except if we believe it to be there.
Again, like the "little man upon the stair who isn't there."

Bring in the clones!

Just my opinion,

George Smith

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