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

From: Heartland (
Date: Sat Mar 15 2008 - 10:00:43 MDT

>> Ok, then why are memories important [to people] in the first place?
>> The explanation I'm looking for cannot:
>> 1) assume memories are important [to people]

> I'll take that as a joke :-) though it's quite possible that you have
> correctly criticized some of us for circular reasoning.

The latter.

>> 2) mention concept of "survival"
>> Can you do that?

> I think so. Suppose that people are different from each other
> because of specific characteristics, brain structures, and so
> on (and not because their soul has a different #ID-num).

Yes, I agree with the assumption that people are different. I disagree with why
they are different.

> Suppose further that in general people don't want to become
> much more like someone else than like themselves; specifically,
> person X does not want to lose what makes him X and thus
> become, say, his friend Max (person Y).

Let's focus on this because this is where you are assuming what I'm asking you to
explain. Why is it important to be *like* something? As before, concept of
"survival" cannot be used in the explanation.

> If you got all of Lee Corbin's memories and retained none of
> Slawek's then would you (on your idea of what you "is") behave more like Lee or
> more like Slawek? Specifically, what if I credibly offer to pay you $100,000,000
> to let
> your memories be entirely replaced by mine. Would you
> take the deal?

Yes, but under one condition. You couldn't erase or alter my views on survival.
This would prevent you from easily convincing this now rich mind instance, formerly
labeled "Slawek," from giving back your money and shutting down what you perceive
as a worthless copy without any resistance. Nice try, Lee. You are evil. ;-)

>> No, I'm equally unattached to "my atoms" (whatever that means) as I am
>> unattached to my personal memories (hopefully, you'll see this).

> All I can say is "wow!". Hmm. Would you settle, say, for $25,000
> in *cash*? I could use the New Jersey runtime.

I get the feeling that, after I told you my survival is not attached to my
memories, you're immediately jumping to wrong conclusion that memories must be
cheap or even worthless. Absolutely not. The point is that personal memories are
precious, but their loss/replacement doesn't kill me (just like some
loss/replacement of atoms doesn't kill me). I compared memories to clothes before
and I think it's a pretty good analogy. Or let's try jewelry. It's very expensive
can have a huge sentimental value for people, yet its loss doesn't kill the owner.
I view memories in a similar way. They do not define my existence even though
they're worth much more than $25K. :-)

(I'm pretty sure that in the future, you'll be able to "purchase" and download very
cool memories from virtual "stores" (and that's even before your inevitable and
desirable tranformation into a completely different/alien psychological construct).
These memories will be at least 100 times more vivid, meaningful and fun than your
old memories and you'll want to remember them. After you get them, you won't even
bother accessing the old, boring ones. And you definitely will not want to access
this one really annoying memory of me telling you in 2008 that memories were
expendable, like jewelry. ;-))

>> There *are* other things I can be attached to, you know.
> Like what?

Before an answer could make sense I would have to disengage two gears currently
fully meshed and rotating at a high speed in your mind. There's a lot of inertia
I'm working against here. :-) The first gear is called "personal memories" that
happily engages the second gear called "survival". Before a replacement gear can
engage "survival" gear, first I have to disengage "personal
memories" from "survival" by getting to the core of why memories are important or
why "being like" something is important. After you'll see that this core is hollow,
it should be easier to describe an alternative core that isn't so hollow.

>> Back to the main question about importance of memories [to people]. See if this
>> dilemma clarifies anything. If you had to choose between 2 options, which one
>> would you prefer?
>> Option 1) In 1 minute you will go into an eternal coma. On the bright side, you
>> are guaranteed that your brain, and thus your memories, will remain exactly the
>> way they are now until the end of Universe.

> Arghh! No runtime :-( No processing. No more happy moments for Lee :-(

Yeah, so what does that tell you about importance of runtime vs. memories? You
could have had all your memories intact forever and yet you didn't choose this
option. Interesting.

>> Option 2) In 1 minute all your personal memories will be completely erased
>> from your brain, but, other than that, this brain will function just like any
>> other healthy brain that's able to form and retain new personal memories and
>> remember all the general knowledge acquired throughout the brain's life,
>> like being able to speak, read and write English, do math, etc. However,
>> this brain will not remember its name, its opinions, its family and friends,
>> its tastes, where it's located, none of that personal stuff.
> Option 2 is only slightly preferable because I'm still a bit of an idealist,
> and think that it's better for some mystery person (whoever he is) to
> exist than not exist. But alas, for me, selfishly? To me, I'm dead as
> a doornail either way.

If you're dead, then who is this new person in the 2nd option? Should he continue
to bear Lee Corbin label or continue to have an access to Lee Corbin's bank
account? When Ronald Reagan died, nobody questioned it was Ronald Reagan who died,
and not some John Doe. If people thought he was John Doe, would cable news stations
have shown 3-4-hour live coverage from his funeral? These are all fun things to
think about. I would still be interested in people answering these even though the
bigger point to be made here is that polls are a poor way of determining whether
something is true or correct.


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