Re: Eternity, Infinity, Religion and Transhumanism

Hara Ra (
Mon, 23 Dec 1996 07:53:34 -0800

Jake Costello wrote:
> Sometimes terms like "eternal life" and "immortality" seemed to get
> tossed around pretty casually around here.<snip> Eternal life and
> immortality as traditionally conceived refer to infinities. <snip>
> Everybody on this list is certainly well acquainted with the fundamental
> difference between an infinite quantitity and a finite quantity, no
> matter how large. <snip>
> What I want to know is, how many of you want real eternal life
> as opposed to an indefinite lifespan?

My POV is that the term "potentially infinite indefinite lifespan" is
apropos. The notion of identity has been discussed ad nauseum without
any clear definition at all, and all the kinds of identity I can think
of boil down to a set of memories and some kind of consistent connecting
principle, such as "I experienced this". Well, memory is arbitrary once
we leave the realm of carbon based bodies, and so identity becomes a
very ephemeral concept. One aspect of uploads not thought of is whether
the memories stored in carbon nerves, etc can become mapped in some
standard way so that different individual memory sets can be made
compatible (like data base formats). If so, I have all the attributes of
cybernetic data, including making of copies, merger & editing with other
data sets, synthesis of avatars (and golems and daemons) for special
purposes, etc, etc. Many of these created forms may have temporary
purposes only to be deleted when no longer useful. I may become a set of
entities, forever splitting and merging both with my versions and
other's versions. By now, the idea of identity becomes blurry indeed. I
can hardly recall how I was as a person ten years ago; I doubt that
other than consulting an archival backup I could ever recall myself
10,000 years ago...

| Hara Ra <> |
| Box 8334 Santa Cruz, CA 95061 |