Re: Living Forever

From: Anne Marie Tobias (
Date: Tue May 01 2001 - 17:08:08 MDT

As an addendum, I would even suggest that it might be possible to
come up with standard cultural and heuristic models for behavior
and personality, then simpy add the unique tweaks that describe a
"me" versus a "you", add to that, the persistent stories of my life
and the concerns that shape my particular instantiation of human
being, and POOF, you should have a pretty good facsimile of that
personality I call "ME".

Strange... at some level that just isn't at all what I'm interested in
having survive.

I don't consider my "self", my personality. Just as I don't consider
my "self" my body. These are things I have, part of the price of
admission to play this odd life game. But there is a something I
experience as deeper, more fundamental that the stuff which I
sport about. That is my being, my capacity to be, my passion
to be, my joy and profound desire to be, the context that is at
the heart of all the things I become, I do, and then produce.

I have little attachment to the stuff of me, I have great attachment
to the source of me. That is what I would preserve, what I would
promote, and ultimately what I want to take to the stars. The
dance itself is lovely, but it's that ability to dance, the full
of which is devine.

Marie Tobias

Jim Fehlinger wrote:

> Lee Corbin wrote:
> >
> > 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.
> Well, at least E. O. Wilson would. But when you say "type",
> you're introducing a subtle shift in the argument. I doubt
> if even E. O. Wilson would claim that every individual of
> some obscure species of Amazon jungle ant need be preserved.
> Two conspecifics of a particular ant species just aren't
> that different. So pop some randomly-chosen handful of ants into
> a Dewar of liquid nitrogen, if you must, and don't worry if
> you step on a few other ants in the process.
> I remember seeing somebody (I'm pretty sure it was Eliezer)
> comment that, as far as human personalities are concerned,
> there's probably only a surprisingly small number (on the
> order of a million, I think was the offered guess) of distinct
> human memetic "types".
> I imagine it wouldn't take a lot of data to blend up somebody
> a lot like Jim F. at the personality paint store. Garden-variety
> mid-20th-century style American middle-class background (in
> other words, economic circumstances better than the vast
> majority of contemporary human beings), only child, rather
> timid and introverted (maybe genetic, maybe because he was
> the somewhat premature Caesarian first child of a mother
> who was almost past child-bearing age), modestly gifted
> intellectually (140ish IQ). Then throw in the DC comic books,
> the squirt of Arthur C. Clarke, the dollop of J. R. R. Tolkien,
> _The Outer Limits_ and _Star Trek_, a little Bertrand Russell
> for seasoning, and voila! OK, so maybe nobody else remembers the
> particular house in Shavertown, Pennsylvania where my grandparents
> lived in the 60's, or Gelbach's Diner in Reading where we used
> to stop on the way to visit them. But there were a lot of
> awfully similar elderly couples, houses, and diners. Which
> of these differences makes a difference worth preserving, in how
> much detail? (I know that's an unanswerable, purely rhetorical
> question).
> So yeah, it would be one thing to be preserved as a
> random example of the "type" of the human species, perhaps
> in some post-holocaust alien-rescue scenario like
> Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis books, or to be chosen
> as a zoo-specimen by an alien E. O. Wilson
> scientist/collector as in Gregory Benford's _Eater_.
> But how many of us can really objectively believe that we
> embody a pattern so unique and valuable that we couldn't
> be replaced by one of the other six billion humans on
> the planet (or some pattern synthesized from the "types"
> they represent) without making a dent in the history of the
> Cosmos? That's not to say it wouldn't be fun to be along
> for the ride, but that's different -- it's a question of,
> well, entertainment.
> Jim F.

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