sanity, depression, death, madness

From: Miriam English (
Date: Sat Aug 18 2001 - 21:17:14 MDT

Some thoughts way ahead of time...

Many interesting things have come from out-of-control emotions -- many of
them bad, but some good -- as immortals we will be tempted to eliminate
these dangers to our sanity... certainly I shall. I want to extend my mind
to let me see and understand time like some of my friends do and be able to
have better numeracy skills.

I am aware of the danger that depression in particular can pose, and may
want to modify my slight tendency to that frame of mind. I very rarely get
depressed. Unlike most people that I know, I'm optimistic almost all the
time, but I do have rare fits of quite deep depression. It follows that if
I live for hundreds, thousands, millions of years, if I don't have the
depression thing patched then sooner or later I will experience a deep
enough depression to cause me to break the slender thread which is my life.
Ok, so fix that... end of problem. But one thing about that bothers me.
Some of my best drawings have been done whilst in the grip of despair. It
induces a strangely detached mind-set. If I eliminate that emotion then I
eliminate its artistic benefits.

One of my best pictures was done while withdrawing from drug use decades
ago. I was incredibly angry and intolerant of everybody and everything
around me -- hardly the kind of frame of mind that I would want for the
future, but if I eliminate that "madness" then I eliminate its
possibilities. Unbalancing the mind can have some strange side-benefits
(think Van Gogh, Robert Downey Jr, Aaron Sorkin, Coleridge, Philip K.
Dick). The danger of course is of being trapped in a self perpetuating loop
-- getting stuck in that dangerous mind-set. Then we become a danger to
ourselves and those around us.

How do we minimise the dangers, but allow for the benefits to be explored?

Death from depression or accident is the simplest to solve (in concept
anyway). Make regular backups of your mind, and ensure that the most recent
backup is activated upon your current self's death. If a history of backups
are kept then even if the next backup suffers the same fate then the prior
backup will be activated, and so on till one is run which survives.

The madness loop is harder to define, let alone solve. It is hard to see
how circular memes could be solved for, but emotional frames of mind that
are brought about by certain mixes of hormones could be. I can imagine a
guardian angel program watching hormonal levels (the hormones would be
simulated of course) and rebalancing them forcibly if they got stuck in a
dangerous loop that lasted too long.

Anyway... just some food for thought...


         - Miriam

Q. What is the similarity between an elephant and a grape?
A. They are both purple... except for the elephant.
Virtual Reality Association

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