Greg writes, quoting Robin:
> > People seem to talk all the time about how they "discovered" things
> > about what they liked at certain crucial ages, whereas it seems much
> > more likely to me that they just changed. Thing of how differently sex
> > is to you at age 18 versus age 10. This isn't because you learned new
> > insights at age 15, it is because hormones were expressed that literally
> > made you a different person. Well changes in hormones don't stop at
> > age 18, they continue all the way through life.
> I'm sure there's a large element of truth in what you've written, Robin.
> Until we gain a greater measure of control over our wetware, success and
> happiness in life will largely be measured by how well we master and use the
> tools dealt us by our current over-all state of being, which will be at least
> to some extent beyond our control. Thus, when I was young and had what seem
> to me now to be amazingly quick reflexes, I enjoyed driving a motorcycle at
> speeds that would surely be suicidal for me now. Mastery over the
> seasonal-scale progression of biological systems in my garden, on the other
> hand, would have been quite beyond my competence in those faster days.
I wonder if it would be wise to make an effort to preserve our former
personalities, rather than just allowing ourselves to change naturally.
One of the philosophical objections sometimes raised here against
immortality is that you would change so much over a long lifespan as to
have little relation to the being you were originally. In that case,
the original person is really gone, just as surely as if he had died.
All that is left is someone who was influenced, perhaps only marginally,
by the person who began the process.
A way to address this would be to make a commitment to honor the beliefs
and desires of your older selves, to think of yourself as not just the
person you are today, but also as a representative of the hopes and
plans of the people you were in the past.
This wouldn't mean that you could never change, only that as you
do change, you would remember the person you used to be. Even as
your tastes, desires and beliefs change, you would continue to at
least occasionally do things the way your old self would have wanted.
You would cultivate a sense of connectedness to your past and future,
put down roots into your own timeline.
This could give you a more optimistic perspective as you move into
a future which offers many opportunities for drastic transformation.
You can have confidence that your future self will not forget who you are
today, that even as you change you will preserve an element of stability.
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