Re: Travelling the Stars

Zenarchy (
Tue, 8 Dec 1998 14:47:32 -0800

Terry Donaghe wrote:
>My question is, would 3,000 years feel like just a couple of months to
>a being more than a half-million years old? Is there any way to know?

We shall need to squeeze and twist ourselves through this maze of hypotheses.
To begin with, how do we define /years old/? Do we mean that so many years (Solar revolutions, obviously, but the Sun will have slowed if we wait too long) have occurred since our birth? Or do we mean that so many events (second teeth, puberty, etc.) have taken place in our bodies? Do we mean to gauge our age by external or internal events?

If we measure our age in terms of external events, then we can suspend our animate selves, and a half-million years of waiting need not concern us.
If we measure our age by what happens to us internally, then a half-million years may seem a preposterous hypothesis indeed. In that amount of time, a single human brain ought to find worlds enough and time to build empires from the raw material of quarks.

Now to comparing the subjective experience of 3,000 years to a couple of months:
Do the days go by faster for a 60-year-old person than for a 60-month-old person?
Sure, but why? Because more internal/external interaction occurs in the 60-month-old than in the 60-year-old. As that wise old comic-book hero, Mr. Natural used to say, "Just like shit, aging happens. Get used to it."

The only way to really know a subjective experience involves directly experiencing <the experience> yourself. Yes, I know it sounds circular and trite, but no one can take a shit for you. You have to do it yourself.
The only way to know for sure how the hypothetical situation you've set up here actually feels, you'd have to feel it yourself. (Although, in future the technology may emerge which makes it possible to download psycho-emotional emulations. Just make sure you don't get the buggy beta version!)

>I get the feeling that as our lifespans begin to get longer and longer
>we, as a species, will become more patient and less impulsive. A
>normal human observer looking at a community of long-lived posthumans
>might even think they were immobile statues.
>I dunno.
>Any ideas, thoughts? Is this old territory?

"Why, old territory doesn't bother me a bit," said the patient posthuman statue
to her statuesque mobile patient.
"Clear all thoughts and ideas from your being," replied the patient's Tortoise.
"and never impulsively mobilize a star's community," intoned Dennett to his chum, Hofstadter.
"Any normal human observer would delete this lot," grumbled Metaman, as he adjusted his filters to increase the signal-to-noise ratio.