Re: The Pause that Refreshes

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Sat Jun 10 2000 - 21:20:35 MDT wrote:
> 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.

How about this:

"I am awesome compared to what I have been, and pathetic relative to
what I will become."

Continual self-improvement. As you live, seek what aspects of yourself
can be made better, and make them so. Nothing is spared, not even your
means of judging what is better. However, there is the chain of
continuity, such that at any point in your life, you can trace the
decisions you have made to alter yourself from whatever you were, and
see how the changes - given the information you now have, and possibly
alterations in the world around you - are, indeed, justified from the
initial set of values.

This may also give you an ability to spot any forming defects: if you
can not trace the chain, and if what you are would be abhorrent to what
you were if given the knowledge and circumstances that are currently
yours, then there may have been some error in the chain. But you can't
just use old values by themselves - if you have received information
that has changed your values, then what you were plus that information
would result in similarly changed values, and it is *that* by which you
must judge your current self.

Nothing is guaranteed stable, and you are not limited in how you may
change - but you are still yourself, even if every molecule in your
body has been replaced many times, and even if you now support some
things which you used to oppose or vice versa.

Or: you will exist in the future. What you say and do now will be
remembered, and used to influence future actions - if not your words
and deeds as an individual, then as a statistic, one behavior out of
many in various historical models. Would you rather leave the
interpretation of such completely to others, or would you rather be
there, such that you might possibly have a chance of explaining how
things really were, rather than the inevitably incorrect interpretations
reached by people whose only other source of information is an
incomplete historical record?

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