Re: The Meaning That Immortality Gives to Life

From: Jeff L Jones (
Date: Tue Oct 16 2007 - 13:20:57 MDT

On 10/16/07, Stathis Papaioannou <> wrote:
> On 16/10/2007, Matt Mahoney <> wrote:
> > One could program an uploaded mind in one of two ways to solve the problem.
> > One is to remove the fear of death. But such an intelligence would have no
> > sense of consciousness. It would reason that one set of memories is just as
> > good as another, and die.
> This doesn't follow. Firstly it is possible to have no fear of death
> and still have a sense of personal identity (is this what you mean by
> "consciousness"?): suicidal people are suicidal precisely because they
> believe that they are the same person from moment to moment, and want
> this to end. Secondly it is possible to reason intellectually that
> personal identity is just an illusion and still have a very strong
> emotional attachment to the continuation of that illusion.

Well said. To add to that, it's also possible to want your life to
continue because you want to produce certain changes in the world (and
don't trust others to do it without you around), or because you don't
like the idea of all the knowledge you've accumulated being erased
from the world. I personally think that "fear of death" and an
emotional attachment to continued personal identity are both shallow
reasons for wanting immortality (and based on illusions), however
there are much better reasons. I think getting rid of our
(irrational) emotional fear of death is a good thing. But doing so
will not compell us to commit suicide, or even stop us from taking
measures to actively prevent death and extend life.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:58 MDT