Re: There's more to me than memories...

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Wed Mar 12 2008 - 09:01:17 MDT

Slawek writes

>>> Why do you believe preservation of memories is important in the first place?
> Lee:
>> I meant, important for survival. If you irretrievably lose your memories, I say,
>> then you're dead. The cryonicists who obsess over all this strongly agree.
> I know, but they can never explain why...There has to be a reason why they
> think memories are important to survival. What is it?
>> So if survival is important to you, and you wonder about memory, then please
>> see my reply to Stuart at Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:48 AM in this thread.

All right. So you, like most of us, are concerned that Slawek live through
the rest of today, and---God willing---through the rest of the year and so on?
Sorry, but I have to make sure, because your views are at quite a variance
with almost everyone else's on these lists, as you know, with great potential
for miscommunication.

> I couldn't find the answer in your reply. There was only one reply, right?

Oops, sorry Slawek. It depended partly on a previous email.

But never mind. Here goes.

    If you and I exchange any given body part (except the brain)
    then it's still clear afterwards who you are and who I am. But
    suppose that somehow we could exchange cognitive ability,
    exchange temperament, and exchange the instinctive
    compassion we have for others. What then?

    Well, I might find myself suddenly able to think more clearly,
    and perhaps find myself emotionally on a much more even
    keel a lot of the time, and maybe having intense empathy
    and compassion for innocents I see wronged in movies or
    in real life.

    So what is it that has kept me "me"? I say it's memories.

    For, if we suddenly exchanged *memories*, then you would
    very suddenly find yourself in a townhouse in Santa Clara
    California, needing always two or three pairs of glasses,
    having little depth perception because of a weak left eye,
    maybe being a lot taller or shorter, or heavier or leaner.

    With just the memories exchanged, you might suddenly find
    also that you could visualize more easily than before, but that
    logic seemed harder, or other things to that effect.

    You would *not* say to yourself, "Oh, I guess I'm not Slawek
    anymore. I must be someone else." No. You would say
    just *happened*?? AND WHAT AM I, SLAWEK, doing
    here? and why is everything blurry when I look across the
    room? Whose body is this? It's not *mine*!"

I think that it's a *fact* that you would speak and think just like
that. You would then, surely, be forced to admit that you went
with your memories when they were transferred to California.

Continuing: Next we swap your memories with some poor
device, like an ant, that can't work with them or do them
justice. Or we move your memories onto a blank DVD
and move the empty contents of the blank DVD into Slawek's
body. Then I claim you are dead, and won't be revived until
the swap is reversed, if that's still possible (probably not in
the case of the ant).

So, you see, you really are your memories, and if they're lost
then so are you.


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