Re: Living Forever

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Tue May 01 2001 - 00:53:30 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote:
> Emlyn wrote:
> > I will add, that very few people involved in... extropianism, purely
> > cryonics, or whatever your flavour, would seriously suggest that any
> > of us will live for *all eternity*.
> You're quite wrong. I dare say that both a remarkable number
> of cryonicists and extropians do not concede the necessity of
> mortality.
> > ...the maths alone says we must come a cropper some time before
> > forever. So, any life-extension techniques are merely temporary.
> Not at all. If persons now living do manage to get past the
> next couple of centuries, nothing prevents them from establishing
> numerous copies of themselves throughout the universe, and the
> chance of them all being taken out, in say a gamma burst, is
> quite small. And some folks, such as Freeman Dyson, have been
> talking a long time about physics that might support an infinite
> amount of computation. The ultimate source for these
> considerations is Tipler, "The Physics of Immortality".
> Samantha wrote
> > My personality of the moment truly isn't all that important.
> > [Sigh] The time and opportunity to change it many times, to
> > grow and learn without particular limit *is* that important.
> > [That's more like it!] I am not limited to my personality.
> > [Whatever...] I do not necessarily believe that even my
> > concept of that most intimate of conglomerate illusions,
> > "I", is invariant or deserving of being preserved indefinitely...
> It may or may not be invariant, but that has little to do
> with it "deserving" to be preserved. Does an obscure type
> of ant in the Amazon jungle "deserve" to have its pattern
> recorded for all time? Most people today would say yes.

Deserving is not the right question. If it is of value to other
sentients sufficiently and the cost of its preservation is low
enough relative to its value then it will be preserved.

> Well, I'd say that the pattern of Samantha Atkins is about
> 10^7 times as important to preserve. Where the hell does
> this concept of "deserve" come from anyway? It almost
> sounds as though one's "worthiness" were being evaluated
> by the Almighty, or by some similarly transcended creature
> (perhaps the AI you're working on).

What I meant by my comment above is that I don't consider this
bundle of personality traits, memories, impulses, desires, cares and
so on as something that I am that driven to preserve indefinitely. I
am driven to preserve the capacity to be, to learn, to know and to
recreate beingness, valuing, enjoyment, learning and so on. To me it is
a difference between the packaging and the contents if you will.

I certainly hope to chuck a lot of the meat packaging some day and along
it a lot of attitudes and proclivities and limitations that came from
and are
bound up in this here flesh. Does that mean that *I* ended or did *I*
change packaging,
leaving the old package behind like a discarded torn party dress of

> > "I" over time would change in ways that would seem very
> > "not-I" today. Even this concept of "me" as distinct from
> > "others" in quite this way is open to change and
> > modification given time enough.
> But watch out. If you evolve into something that on objective
> grounds is not-Samantha, then unless you've arranged that
> earlier versions of you get ample run time, you'll be quite
> dead. Please don't let that happen.

Why would I want to avoid evolving to where one particular
packaging is not around any more? Why would infinite re-runs of this
me package be such a great thing? Just because I am no longer running
this particular package
does not mean that *I* am no longer existing at all. Are we to turn the
solar system
and more into computronium simply to run endless "I Love Me" episodes or
endless simulations
of our past packagings and points of view? That doesn't seem
particularly meaningful.
Although I can see where it might be great fun for a while, now and

> > I want that time and the opportunity to witness all of these
> > changes and much more. It is not death so much that I seek
> > to avoid but the end of becoming and being. I am not done
> > with that and don't plan to be done.
> That's more like it! Well said at last.
> Lee Corbin

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