X-Message-Number: 27593
From: "Valera Retyunin" <>
Subject: The Day-long Snack of Flavonoid
Date: Tue, 07 Feb 2006 05:38:20 +0300

Ogres are humanholics. An ogre starts out the day with a live, 
wholesome human. Today it's a particularly fine specimen called 
Flavonoid. No mustard or ketchup will pollute the ogre's delicacy.

He loves his human snack so he likes to make it last, and not to 
unreasonably over-indulge. An hour or two goes by, and Flavonoid still 
has all limbs and most of the torso left. But the ogre's favourite 
part - the head with its delicious brain - is already missing. The 
ogre also likes humans warm and writhing. He needs a "refill".

The ogre rings up the caterer. The caterer brings a fresh supply of 
humans and starts to remove Flavonoid's remains, but the ogre objects 
strenuously "Stop! I really like this particular guy! His brain was 
really scrumptious! Could you please restore him to what his was 
before." The caterer is a futuristic ogre supplier, he has a powerful 
human replicator and an exact copy of Flavonoid stored (and maybe even 
running) on a powerful super-handheld. So he creates an exact, living, 
biological copy of Flavonoid to the ogre's delight. He even uses 
what's left of the original Flavonoid (very practical indeed - why 
waste a few pieces of highly-organised organic matter).

The ogre's appetite is voracious, and it's not long before the 
Flavonoid's copy's head is bitten off and gulped down. The ogre needs 
to call the caterer again and ask for another portion of Flavonoid a 
la naturel. "Certainly, sir!" And on it goes.

Question: What is common between the ogre and his Flavonoid snack?

Answer: Both the ogre and Flavonoid (and other patternists for that 
matter) have the same definition of Flavonoid's identity. They would 
say that the copy of Flavonoid writhing in the ogre's hand at the end 
of the day after a dozen "refills" is still Flavonoid. Patternists 
would add that the guy simply had a bad day, and still has a chance to 
escape the ordeal. Oh, yes, they would also say that the surviving 
copy's confidence that it really is
Flavonoid proves categorically that it *really* is. And if that's not 
enough, Flavonoid's friends and family would recognise the copy as 
Flavonoid, wouldn't they?

Our definitions of identity could be very different depending on what 
we consider important and what not. Flavonoid, you don't believe your 
coffee has a consciousness, do you? And if it had, would you care to 
preserve it? You are perfectly entitled to choose your own definition 
of identity. After all, if an ogre can be a patternist with respect to 
humans, why can't you. I have a feeling though that you are making a 
mistake that may well cost you
your head.

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