X-Message-Number: 3767
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 1995 20:22:00 -0500
Subject: SCI. CRYONICS continuers

Keith Lynch (Cryonet #3760) has missed the nub of some of my statements. 

A minor point: If my far-future continuer decides to jettison as useless
baggage the early (say Twentieth Century) memories from his body--or the
portable part of it--that doesn't mean they are lost forever; they can still
be stored somewhere in a library. But I tend to disagree that we would find
them very interesting any more, let alone "precious." We would have too  many
other fish to fry. I don't find my childhood memories especially interesting,
except as material for understanding development.

The main point is the problem of continuity and its importance or lack
thereof--which is simply unresolved.

Of course I am (now) interested in the fate of my tomorrow continuer; in
light of evolution, it could hardly be otherwise. And, as I said, it is hard
to see how we could give up this attitude without relapsing into pure
fatalism, total despair. 

In fact, the psychological "tomorow" is apparently around 1/20 second. If
"you" are only your momentary brain state, then you are totally helpless to
do or influence anything at all. Even if you can somehow "do" something
without change of state and persona, you can only benefit someone else--your
continuer--not yourself.
One approach, of course, is the "charity begins at home" adage. Your future
continuers diverge more and more from your present self (if they partake of
"you" at all) and therefore you are less concerned about the more distant
future than the near future, which seems natural anyway since the
calculations become so unreliable as we project further. Yet here also we can
find counter-examples and reasons to believe the far future is important. I
won't try to go into that now.

Once more: As far as I can see, the "truth" of the matter is hidden in mists
of ignorance, with impressive arguments against any position you wish to
take, and it is as foolish for us to claim we have found the answer as it was
for medieval philosophers. More foolish, perhaps, since we have more obvious
reasons for humility.

Yet again: the question is not what we WOULD do or want, but what we SHOULD
do or want, based on perfect logic and on full information about the laws of
physics and our own biology. 

Until such time as these are available, it is prudent to take the most
conservative view, and try to save everything we have. 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society


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