X-Message-Number: 24902
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 00:27:44 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Hell; biological brains

I wrote:

 > I think the prospect of such resurrections is realistic due to
 > certain other possibilities I consider likely, such as parallel
 > universes. It's important to me that a pathway to the renewal
 > of life exist--so the dead will have not died in vain, and all will,
 > one hopes, eventually enjoy eternal bliss. Overall it suggests that
 > life, not death, is the ultimate fate of any individual, even those
 > who are sure they don't want immortality--you will just have to
 > learn to live with it, whether you like it or not. (You will like it
 > in the end, however, I feel reasonably sure.) In the scientifically
 > engineered heaven that I imagine

Mike Price answered:

>In the infinity diverse multiverse which you & I believe in there must
>be scientifically engineered hells full of boiling pitch and demons with
>pitchforks, "creepy-crawly things or lakes of lava".  Of course we
>can find shaky super-rationalist based arguments, to say that the
>heavens must outnumber the hells (just many modern Christians
>prefer to believe in heaven but not hell), but hells must exist
>*somewhere* in this paradigm.  This is one reason *not* rely on
>universal resurrection, but to try to live in *this* reality, forever.

And now I respond:

I can envision a scientifically engineered "Heaven" as a place of both 
eternal life and eternal happiness, which future advanced beings (including 
continuers of ourselves, I hope) might engineer, assuming cosmology 
permits. (Whether it will, of course, is unknown at present; we don't know 
it will not, however.) There may be other tricky ways of engineering a 
Heaven, even if our own universe is doomed. We can also imagine an 
engineered "Hell" as a place of eternal torment for beings trapped therein 
and wanting to escape, but this runs very counter to the way I imagine 
beings will develop who would have the power to engineer either Heaven or 
Hell. Such beings should understand that supreme benevolence will best 
further their enlightened self-interest, and thus would be strongly opposed 
to places of eternal retribution and suffering. However, this does not rule 
out "correctional facilities" of various finite durations--some of these 
purgatories could last quite a while, subjectively at least, depending on 
how hard it might be to bring about desired, curative effects in certain 
beings who are resurrected. (I'm not sure this will be so however.)

Even though I discount the likelihood of anyone winding up in a state of 
eternal punishment, and am not sure there will be much if any place for 
"punishment" as we now understand it, there are good reasons, as I see it, 
to choose cryonics over destructive alternatives. One is that I imagine one 
will feel far more in touch with the historical process if successfully 
reanimated, and I think that will become important as one lives for 
centuries, millennia, and longer. (Keep in mind that to live so long will 
require a motive to do so. Feeling that one is interfacing with history and 
helping make it happen is one such motive. This should involve benevolent 
interactions with others, with many corresponding rewards to the 
well-disposed.) I go into this whole issue in more detail in *Forever for 
All*, esp. ch. 13.

Basie writes:

>Don't knock your old unaugmented biological brains. It is the only kind of
>intelligence around. It seems that any other kind of intelligence did not
>make it to the future or pass.

Evolution had limited options however. Every change in neural anatomy, like 
every other change, had to still result in a reproductively viable 
organism. Moreover, a sequence of small, incremental improvements was about 
the best blind nature could ever do, rather than any sudden leaps. We in 
our technological evolution are free of such constraints in the devices we 
build, which bodes well, I think, for finding ways to augment our own brains.

Mike Perry

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