Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Death of Self

Let me start off this entry with a disclaimer. This is an idea and this current blog entry is merely a flushing out of an idea. It isn't meant as a researched thought, but a brainstorming of my thoughts. I generally prefer researching and buffering before posting, but I didn't want to purposefully this time. So before you complain, you have been warned. Why would I post ideas that may have been thought before and not search them out? Because ideas are exciting! And when they first come to you it is a great feeling, a feeling that fades quickly and sadly becomes washed away with the others that came before you. SOmetimes it's not about being the first, it's about getting excited when things fall in to place and you understand them, or are set up to welcome the understanding of the ideas from others. But I digress.

In the time it took me to write the nonsense above the excitement waned. Basically we were watching Nova and it's about black holes, multiple universes, string-theory, etc. I am in a Darwin class, and working on a thesis dealing with an aspect of self, through in to the mix a little Hofstadter and Dennett and a happy mood...you get an idea. An idea about humans and life. The explanation to our son about us, humans, not being around forever. I'm aware of work being done out there today, but even then, will we all 'be' around forever? A link to Martine Rothblatt reminded me that maybe, but that's not exactly my point. The idea that when we die, what's dying, what's left. If you go and get my dear mother and bring her back will 'she' be back, unlikely. I've seen Pet Cemetary, *shivvers*.

So I think about the possibilities of death, I've seen it, I've watched it slowly deteriorate daily my mom, while at the same exact time watching life begin with my daughter, I was pregnant too. The polar opposites of life at the same time. It happens to many people, and for me it was one that I've learned a lot about life and living that a book can't. What is my point here? Well I'm thinking there are options being worked on...I'll get in to in a bit...right now, what's the bottom line. Death is the death of the self. The death of consciousness alone, because the rest of us, while it dies, it continues to live. The bacteria keeps on, keeping on. It's not done living, now the DNA, if you've procreated, it's good. So for now, I'm going to not go there. I just want to look at the self and the bacteria.

Ok, options. Cryonics, I loved Tanya Jones, I like the idea of Cryonics. But what am I bringing back. I'm not sure. What if what comes back isn't me or doesn't know me. I assume that'll be ok, it can be a new me, I would recommend some bodily upgrades, so I guess I can think of this as a build-a-bear situation. And I do NOT be any means intend this as a dig at those affiliated with Cryonics in ANY way. I do not know the potentiality, it's being worked on, and I think it should continue to do so. I like the idea of preserving a shell of me and I think there's potential to combine it with another option. Moving on.

Longevity, I like this, and it works for the self evolutionarily I think. It makes those bacteria keep on working for you and not running away to work for anyone else. The self mastering its biggest obstacle, the loss of it's 'host' of sorts. The goal should be one that most, all but I don't want to be presumptious, should support. No one really wants to die really unless you are miserable and in dire straits pain. I saw this end, and even with all that, my mom still didn't want to die. Her self pulled her through many times her host wanted to turn off. The self did not want to disappear, but the host could no longer sustain itself, what a crappy struggle for power. Ah, but another option is out there...

Martine Rothblatt and her mindloading. I have been fascinated with this for the past almost 2 years. Mindloading the self. I know, it's not possible, ok, fine, then move on to another blog entry, cause in this one, we're going to talk about its possibility. The idea of taking the bacteria, the host out of the equation. With research to go for sure, what if, when someone gets to the end of their straights, the pain too intolerable, the self reluctant but they get an option. One they have planned for their entire lives. Not in an all-consuming way, in a brush my teeth kind of way. Flipping one switch off to transfer and turn off another. My goodness, then if you got the cryonics, you can exist until then you can just 'hang out' in cyberspace until they can get your body back. Or skip the body, and stay in a cyber form. Wow, really, there's ideas and inventions out there working on Augmented Reality, overlaying the virtual onto the real. What if some of the virtual is us uploaded into a cyber form and then overlayed back in to the real world. What a concept! What a time. I'm not forecasting I'm just in awe of the posibilities that lay before us and the people that are working on it while we continue about our days. You could be your avatar, and there would be a new entity. This is not even to factor in the options of cyborg, AI, robots, etc. My my there is so much to ponder.

But in the end, it's all about the self, and how we are fighting as a species to keep our self right where it is. How we are going to capture something that we can't find, identify or grasp entirely? We've thought about it for many, many years, but it's there, in front of us, it's us, how I look forward to exploring this deeper as my self continues it's cycle of age and knowledge.

If you made it this far, thanks for staying with this rambling. I didn't edit, I'm always edited, I thought for this, I'd be raw and let you meet my self. This is me, I am

8 comments:

Pragmatic Pollyanna said...

Good blog, good ideas. What is "self" though? That is perhaps the trickiest question of all. The solipsist in me isn't sure you exist...

Bill Burris said...

You might be interested in The Cosmic Engineers where we discuss various life extension techniques.
http://cosmeng.org/index.php/Main_Page

We also meet for discussions in Second Life every Sunday.

Then there is the Buddhist perspective where you discover that the self is an illusion, created by the mind. You are a figment of your imagination.

Roko said...

It strikes me that cryonics is probably a much safer option for preservation of the self than Martin Rothblatt's mindloading...

Oh, and @Bill: If you read, say, Derek Parfit's book reasons and persons, you realize that the "self" really is a bit of an illusion, even according to western analytic philosophy. But we still want to do our best to preserve it, well at least I do.

Roko said...

I'll try to come along to CosmEmg one sunday...

knscott said...

Roko: I agree, but disagree. Cyronics is a safer option of preservation of the body, but it isn't a guarantee to be a safer option for the self. Without knowing that the self, itself, would be preserved along with the body. Martine's mindloading, seems to be a potential option for preservation of the self, w/o the body. So, therefore, if one is to hedge one's bets, then both options seem to be the safest options for preservation. The two could be married at some point in time, or you've at least increased your chance that one will work regarding the self.

I do go back to the idea that, while vain I know, that if I am, the me self, is brought back, I want an upgraded exterior to go with my rejuvenated self.

knscott said...

Bill, thanks for this, I too will try to come on a Sunday. I'll take a look at this site further also.

I have been trying to learn more about the Buddhist perspective. I love that idea that your are a figment of your imagination. After I wrote this, I watched about multiverses on the History channel. I woke up yesterday and for the first two hours wondered about what the other me's were doing with the choices they made. It's an exhausting, but incredibly fascinating thought. Need to look further in to it though.

Bill Burris said...

I have no expertise in philosophy or Buddhism, but do lots of reading.

The way I see it is the physical aspects of the world and self are real, but the way each of us experiences reality is completely fabricated by our minds.

Most people put very little effort into reprogramming their mind, and just accept whatever programming their parents, teachers, & society have inflicted upon them. The conflicts in the world largely arise because everyone assumes that their intuition gives them correct answers, and they don't examine what went into programming their intuition.

Merging with computers or uploading, should improve my ability to reprogram myself. For now mediation, contemplation, and reflection are the tools for editing your mind.

Anonymous said...

俗語說:朋友做到死 金錢甭提起 就是友情才會長久之意,我個人不會跟人借錢當然也不會隨意借錢給他人   即然言明是借錢就是要還錢 。

"I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, 'Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn't, then there's a point to it.'" -- Harry Nilsson