X-Message-Number: 19555
Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2002 09:59:23 -0400
From: Robin Helweg-Larsen <>
Subject: Merging identities

Thomas Donaldson points out that identical copies of a person would no
longer be identical once they had had separate experiences, and that
merging their personalities would be to merge two now different people.

To elaborate: suppose one of them has fallen in love and is partying and
doing recreational drugs (alcohol or whatever), while the other has a
bicycle crash and is in pain from having stripped the skin off leg, arm
and face.  Not only would the memories and the moods be different, but
the moods (and memories) would be influenced by the ongoing
physiological response in the brain itself to the external factors, as
well as varying responses in other parts of the body.

Could you merge them back to a state of identical memories and
personality?  Or would that interfere with the body's appropriate
physiological response to its physical situation?

And even if you could merge them to include both events *as real*, would
you want to?  Or would it be better to differentiate between the memory
of one's own events (which would mesh more appropriately with the body's
needs), and the understood but recognisably 'other' events, which could
be memories only in the sense that one understands and remembers someone
else's tales - as humans have adapted to do, from the time of
cavedwellers to the time of Hollywood and the many story-tellers among

(Perhaps over-identification with the events of other bodies could lead
to mental illness, or some physiological manifestation of stigmata...)

Robin HL

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