RE: Healthcare (was Re: John in Alaska)

From: Lee Daniel Crocker (
Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 16:10:38 MST

> > That is another possible counter-argument: if extending the end-point
> > of one's existence (even at the expense of "life" time as defined above)
> > sufficiently increases the likelihood of technology becoming available
> > that makes up for the work spent getting there, then you've won the bet.
> That's a bet I'm willing to take. I do believe that future technology will
> be much more advanced than today. The doubling time for biology knowledge
> is under two years now. That means that delaying death just a couple of
> years might double my chances of survival.

>> Again, the choice is not between dying and spending money: the choice is
>> between spending, say, 3 years working to get 1 "extra" year of free time,
>> or just spending 1 year working and 2 years in free time
>> directly.
> I would never trade my life for some free time. Why not retire now, live on
> welfare, and die early if you desire free time? I rather work hard and keep
> going for a very long time. I have a very strong survival instinct. I
> can't see giving up and dying just because it's easier. If I can work
> harder and prolong my life, I want to do it.

> > Another
> > possible factor in that equation is one's enjoyment of work: if one's work
> > is very close to what one would otherwise choose to do anyway, then the
> > time lost can be discounted by some rate, possibly making it a good deal.
> I can't imagine having a job I hated so much that I would wish for an early
> death rather than keeping my job. This sounds almost suicidal. No matter
> what level of comfort I have, I will probably keep working toward getting to
> the *next* level.
> Thanks for your insights! They are perfectly wonderful and logical, but
> based on different choices than my own. It is always fascinating to see
> alternative world views.

Our world-views aren't that far apart. I'm certainly not going to
retire anytime soon, because the things I enjoy doing (i.e., "life")
do require a certain level of income. So I have a pleasant not-too-
stressful job that earns me enough to have a nice place, a decent
car, good food, computer toys, poker games, and the occasional
Extro conference. I could earn more if I devoted more time to work,
and I could probably live longer if I devoted less time to good
food and driving, but neither of those things is so valuable to me
that I'm willing to become a stressed-out workaholic.

Probably our major divergence is that I am a skeptic about the
"singularity" and other sudden, drastic leaps in technology. I'm
just not willing to bet my quality of life on the proposition that
quantity will turn into quality at some point in the future. I
want quality now. Of course I want it in the future too, so I have
the Alcor backup plan; that seems like a reasonable investment to
me. But I would never go so far as, say, calorie restriction--
that would be a major sacrifice of quality that would /only/ be
repaid if technology becomes available to make those later years
great, and I just don't want to bet on that.

Back to the topic of this thread, though, I think Robin's points
were quite valid: sometimes seeing a doctor or buying health
insurance isn't as good a bet as it looks. But I'm certainly
not arguing that one should never do those things, just that one
should rationally evaluate the pros and cons, and at least
consider forgoing them in some cases rather than reflexively
thinking of them as "necessary".

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:36 MST