X-Message-Number: 24947
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 2004 08:36:54 -0700 (PDT)
From: Scott Badger <>
Subject: Immortality and Differing Interpretations

I would suggest that asking someone if they want to
live forever has limited value. How can anyone really
give an informed answer to that question? I would
instead ask, "If you were still young and healthy,
would you want to die tomorrow? If you think you're
likely to answer 'No' that question today and 'No' to
that same question tomorrow, then you have what I
would call, 'immortalist tendencies'."

Randolfe Wicker wrote: 
<<I know some people who have indeed become more
decent as they aged.  However, I know others that have
turned into uglier and more hateful beings each day
they lived.>>

You're still thinking in the short-term. People that
become embittered as they age most likely do so
because they increasingly lose hope the older they
get, their life didn't turn out they way they'd hoped,
because they re just not  over  some perceived tragedy
in their life, or whatever. But if they had time and
youth and health to look forward to, I believe they
would eventually experience the kind of psychological
growth that leads people beyond these sorts of
problems; growth that leads instead to more socially
adaptive and productive attitudes.

Randolfe continues:
<<I think history would be even more interesting to
most people because each would have his/her own
interpretation of those events, which overlapped their
own lives.>>

This made me think about the nature and future of
differing interpretations.

Given that there is a truth that is knowable
(debatable, I know), then:

If two people worked together for five years to
uncover the truth behind some event in history through
debate, research, etc., two things are likely to
occur: (1) the actual truth will become more evident;
and (2) their individual perceptions of the truth will
more closely approximate each other over time as the
facts are uncovered.

Now replace two people with billions and 5 years with
thousands or millions. As the truths of our reality
are revealed over time, our beliefs will merge to
conform with those truths. It is our differing beliefs
that lie at the core of what makes us different
people. And the more we think the same, the more we
are the same. Less differentiated; less

Would that be a bad thing? The only reason I can think
of for valuing a belief that differs from mine is if I
think there s at least a  possibility the competing
belief may be more true while mine is less true. Once
I  know  my belief on some issue is true, the value of
all competing beliefs falls to zero. 

The point being, would you prefer that people have
differing interpretations as a result of their
differing beliefs, or would you prefer that people
knew and shared the truth even if that resulted in



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