Re: META: Emotions "vestigial"? was Re: On being Extropian

Michael Butler (
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 11:47:00 PST

\It seems you've already drawn your conclusions before the experiment. I
happen to think CH is on the right track, but we'll never really know for
sure until we try.

David D.


Chris said "why deny the fact"...

I explained why I would deny the putative fact.

I am willing to concede that some transhumans will have no use for
such stuff.

Are such transhumans aware that there is a risk of being considered
so alien as to be suspect if they have this elective personality
surgery performed?

Consider a simple case, without any personality surgery:

Assume the sugar cube sized _Homo accelerans_ (my term, as far as I
know) with a clock rate 100x normal. this means that 4 days objective
is a tad over one year subjective.

How different are you from the person you were a year ago? Five
years ago? How much will you, as an H. accelerans, have in common
with your former self in one year objective time?

How is that supposed to engender trust in those with different clock

If they're worried enough, what will stop them from pre-emptively
nuking you?

If you'e the first on your block to get cranked (my phrase), what
will keep you from going stir crazy from the solitary confinement?
*That* might be a good reason to have a "Vulcan mode" switch for your
consciousness. But a switch, not an irrevocable dissociation, seems
prudent to me.

Please note that I consider myself transhuman-sympathetic and
extropian-positive. I can even get along with a Randite. *but*...

"We" hardly ever know anything for sure where topics like aesthetics
and morals are concerned, if by "we" you mean humans as a whole.
Evolutionary views of ethology etc. suggest that there is a cost
associated with every evolutionary cusp.

I was merely pointing out a possible cost.

Your attitude, as I understand it, puts me in mind of a Robert M.
Prisig quote. I can't remember it exactly, but the gist is that
people would say to him "well, you had your personality changed"...
and he'd wonder if the phrase meant anything. If your personality
changes, are you still you?

You seem to have already made up your mind about _that_. :) :)

Me, I'm not sure. I also don't know how much it matters. But I know a
lot can happen in 100 sujective years. Especially if a big chunk of
that is effectively solitary confinement. And if you shuck all the
endocrine dross, are you still the person who signed contracts before
you uploaded? Or would other people regard you as "of impaired
capacity" because, in their view, you left out the parts that made
you comprehensible to them?

I'm struck sometimes by the parallels between the folkloric culture
data we have about, e.g., the "wee folk" of the British Isles and the
likely outcomes of "getting cranked". There are the kindly but
inscrutable fairies, and the utterly alien and inscrutable ones. Come
upload time, I think I'd prefer to be one of the former.

But that's just my atavistic mammal (*not* lizard) brain talking.
What does it know? :) :)

MMB, at but not for, etc.