Didn't Vernor Vinge posit the question of identity with his Singularity
analogy; "Does the sperm still exist after it unites with the egg?" Very
Zen-sounding. If the technology works as well as we all hope, to the
capacity we all hope, then keeping a
"veriform appendix" of self , or being that veriform appendix of self is a
great idea. When a person goes through an intense event, such as war, are
they same person? Yes and no is the correct answer. People can change over
time (personality-wise) so it seems to be a healthy objective to check one's
goals and see if we are still moving where we originally felt we needed o be.
In a message dated 6/10/00 3:07:51 PM Pacific Daylight Time, email@example.com
<< 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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