Subject: Forgotten memory
living at all. With his memories constantly being erased, is there any
point to staying alive?
Dying would erase his memories and his future.
But his memories are already gone, and in a way the point of a future
is to give you new memories. If those are going to be taken from you
as well, then what is the point of living?
### It's useless, or at least this is the perception that I would have if I
knew I were in the same situation. I would put all my resources into either
getting my memory fixed (hippocampal stem cell injections?) or else I would
get myself frozen.
The second point is that if we manage to survive for a very long time,
our situation may be much like Leonard's. If we reject the notion of
stasis, for what is the point of living forever if you are in a rut,
then we have to embrace change. And with enough change, inevitably
the person you were before will be lost. While the memories may not
be totally erased, still you will be effectively a different person and
the memories might as well belong to someone else. Of course the time
horizon will be much larger; unlike Leonard's 15 minutes, we may have
a thousand subjective years of continuity. But beyond that threshold,
we will not be the same person. Like Leonard, our life will be a series
of time-bounded moments, with continuity and causality linking them,
but no sense of common identity.
Some have argued that such a picture is appealing because even though
they will change so much as to be unrecognizable, the changes will be
gradual so they will still be, in a sense, the same person.
### All of us have death detection routines in our minds. They are very
closely related to the self-concept or personal identity concept which is so
frequently discussed here. The particular implementation of death detection
that runs in my mind does not trip an alarm when confronted with the idea of
fully voluntary psychological transformation leading to being changed beyond
recognition. Again, a matter of taste.
BTW, talking about movies - "Vanilla Sky" is about 3 times better than "AI".
It's coherent, expresses views with which I agree, and it's only drawback is
the rather slow development of the plot. It's sad that it seems to be very
much misunderstood and disliked by critics and the general public, despite
initial good box office returns.
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