RE: Risk vs. Payoff

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Tue May 08 2001 - 07:35:51 MDT

> > And what is the cost of passing a selection of your knowledge, skills
> > and qualities to a child or a young person, who thus continues the
> > "life" of the meaningful points of your existence?
> I don't have any extractable meaningful points of my existence. I just
> want to achieve immortality the Woody Allen way: by not dying.
> Having a kid or mentoring a young person is entirely orthogonal to that
> basic desire. It is basic, since it is irreducible to a series of
> deductive steps. It is anchored purely in emotion, and hence doesn't need
> to be explained.

The desire to have children is clearly NOT orthogonal to the desire to never
die, either in terms of common human psychology or in terms of biology.

In biological terms, neither the desire to live forever nor the desire to
have children are "irreducible." They are both at least largely reducible
to the desire to propagate one's DNA. (Or, to put it differently, of the
desire of one's DNA to propagate itself using one's human body/mind as a

In psychological terms, I'm curious: does the person who wrote this actually
~have~ children? There is a real subjective feeling that I have that my
kids carry on some "essence" of myself. I am sure that I am not the only
parent to have this feeling. And it seems mighty plausible that this
feeling originates, evolutionarily, from the fact that a parent's DNA wants
the parents to protect his/her children.

-- Ben g

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 10:00:03 MDT