Jowibou

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Open Thread: June 2010

Canada, mid 1960s. Brother tried to teach me but I mostly ignored him. Used bike with training wheels, which I raised higher and higher and removed completely after a couple of weeks.

On Enjoying Disagreeable Company

That car sure looks old! That correlates with low income, and lower intelligence.

I know plenty of very smart people who have old crummy cars that get them from A to B and act as pretty effective countersignals.

On Enjoying Disagreeable Company

Instead of trying to like things because it's instrumentally useful, I think it's far better to strive for optimal instrumentality from one's liking.

Ideally wouldn't this be a loop, rather than either/or?

Abnormal Cryonics

Perhaps my discomfort with all this is in cryogenic's seeming affinity with the sort of fear mongering about death that's been the bread and butter of religion for millennia. It just takes it as a fundamental law of the universe that life is better than non life - not just in practice, not just in terms of our very real, human, animal desire to survive (which I share) - but in some sort of essential, objective, rational, blindingly obvious way. A way that smacks of dogma to my ears.

If you really want to live for millennia, go ahead. Who knows I might decide to join you. But in practice I think cryonics for many people is more a matter of escaping death, of putting our terrified, self-centered, hubristic fear of mortality at the disposal of another dubious enterprise.

As for my own view of "identity": I see it as a kind of metapattern, a largely fictional story we tell ourselves about the patterns of our experience as actors, minds and bodies. I can't quite bring myself to take it so seiously that I'm willing to invest in all kinds of extraordinary measures aimed at its survival. If I found myself desperately wanting to live for millennia, I'd probably just think "for chrissakes get over yourself".

Abnormal Cryonics

Good arguments and I largely agree. However postponable does not equal evitable. At some point any clear minded self (regardless of the substratum) is probably going to have to come to accept that it is either going to end or be transformed to the point where definition of the word "self" is getting pretty moot. I guess my point remains that post-death nonexistence contains absolute zero horrors in any case. In a weirdly aesthetic sense, the only possible perfect state is non-existence. To paraphrase Sophocles, perhaps the best thing is never to have been born at all. Now given a healthy love of life and a bit of optimism it feels best to soldier on, but to hope really to defeat death is a delusional escape from the mature acceptance of death. None of those people who now survive their bad teeth or infarctus have had their lives "saved" (an idiotic metaphor) merely prolonged. Now if that's what you want fine - but it strikes me as irrational as a way to deal with death itself.

Abnormal Cryonics

Clearly some of my underlying assumptions are flawed. There's no doubt I could be more rigorous in my use of the terminology. Still, I can't help but feel that some of the concepts in the sequences obfuscate as much as they clarify on this issue. Sorry if I have wasted your time. Thanks again for trying.

Abnormal Cryonics

Of course I can think about such a world. Where people get into trouble is where they think of themselves as "being dead" in such a world rather than simply "not being" i.e. having no more existence than anything else that doesn't exist. It's a distinction that has huge implications and rarely finds its way into the discussion. No matter how rational people try to be, they often seem to argue about death as if it were a state of being - and something to be afraid of.

Abnormal Cryonics

Fair enough but I still think think that the "situation of yourself being dead" is still ploy-like in that it imagines non-existence as a state or situation rather than an absence of state or situation. Like mistaking a map for an entirely imaginary territory.

Abnormal Cryonics

Clearly, I'm going to need to level up about this. I really would like to understand it in a satisfactory way; not just play a rhetorical game. That said the phrase "the situation of yourself dying" strikes me as an emotional ploy. The relevant (non)"situation" is complete subjective and objective non-existence, post death. The difficulty and pain etc of "dying" is not at issue here. I will read your suggestions and see if I can reconcile all this. Thanks.

Abnormal Cryonics

1) Who said anything about morality? I'm asking for a defence of the essential rationality of cryogenics. 2) Please read the whole paragraph and try to understand subjective point of view - or lack thereof post-death. (Which strikes me as the essential point of reference when talking about fear of death)

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