Your Picture Won’t Be Hanging Here?


Reception area of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Riverside, CA in April of 1987. The photos above the refreshments cart were of some of the patients in Alcor’s care at that time.

Sometimes we get defeated by technology, sometimes by cluelessness and sometimes by a most unexpected intersection of the two.

In 1981 I conceived of the idea of hanging the picture of each patient cryopreserved at Alcor on the wall of the facility. I intended the practice to start, not in the place where it might seem obvious for it to; in the patient care bay (PCB) as a memorialization of the patient for his family and friends, but rather, in the reception area and offices, where the organization’s staff dwelt on a daily basis. It was my intention that as the patients accumulated in the PCB, the photos would begin accumulating in the offices, laboratories, corridors and workspace of the Alcor staff.  The intention was to provide a not so subtle reminder that there were people in those big stainless steel tanks, people who were desperate to get out of there.


Photos of Alcor patients apparently spilling off  (?) the walls in the conference room at the Alcor Foundation’s facility in Scottsdale, AZ in April of 2011. Photo courtesy of Stan Lipin

My intention was that, over time, there would an inverse and very adverse relationship between “success” in terms of patient population growth and “failure” in terms of growth in the number of pictures on the wall. In time, I envisioned (with some glee) the framed photos multiplying like locusts, becoming ever more oppressive and occupying ever more wall space.  I foresaw that they would likely encroach into the PCB. I also thought it likely they would be downsized. But mostly, I hoped they would serve their primary function, which was that each one was to serve as a reminder to those working at Alcor: “Hey, I’m still waiting, get me out of here! I want to get back to living, just like you are, too!”

This was not an idea which I kept secret. It was frequently discussed with other Directors, with staff, even with the officers and directors of other cryonics organizations. In fact, I now believe it is a practice which has become universal at cryonics organizations around the world. Or should I say, had become universal.

Alas, I hadn’t counted on technological advance. Technological advance is almost always a “two sided blade” and is this case, the blade cut in a way I hadn’t at all foreseen. The digital photo frame makes it possible to store essentially an “infinity” of images, and display them all in the physical space occupied by just one, over short sequences of time. In so doing, it removes the clutter, and thus the annoyance of hundreds or even thousands of actual framed, photographic images. One problem solved.

And another created. The purpose of institutions is to attempt to overcome the most damaging consequences of human mortality to civilizations: the destruction of knowledge, wisdom and the values they enable. In short, the loss of memory and accumulated experience that comes with the death of individuals.

Enter the halls of any civilization’s venerable institutions and you will see the images of the individuals they treasure on their walls and of those individuals’ ideas encoded in the books lining their shelves and engraved in the form of quotes and aphorisms on their walls. Stroll their great cities, or the corridors of their museums and you will see statues and likeness of the persons they treasure and admire cast in bronze and carved in stone; all these things are feeble attempts at conserving the ideas and values of the individuals who created the intellectual capital that sustains their civilizations. It is not just that they owe these men personally (they do) it is that these civilizations survive by remembering and living by the ideas that these men created.

Unfortunately, it turns out that ideas, standing alone and absent the context of memory, are weak things. It is one thing to know that fire burns, and another thing altogether to know that fire burns having been burnt by it. It is the power of knowledge in the context of experience that is wisdom, and it is wisdom that is destroyed by death. Knowledge contained in books, or nowadays in digital form, is but a shadow compared to that contained in the mind of a man who knows the real truth of a thing in the context of personal, hard won experience. Feeling, guided by reason over time, is the most powerful tool in the universe; and death is its ultimate enemy.

The human institution (first as oral tradition) followed by the written word, were man’s initial tools against death. Poor instruments that they were, they were used to fight valiantly in an attempt to conserve the memory of what was – a story of people, places and events over time. They were, to a remarkable degree, successful. The Royal Society is almost unbelievable in this regard, with every scrap of correspondence and every minor triumph and squabble being recorded and preserved. So are many neighborhood British garden societies – many going back hundreds of years. This will be true of every successful human institution from enduring religious institutions such as St. Catherine’s monastery in the Sinai, to the fraternal organizations such as the Masons in the US.

Robert Ettinger (left).

With the advent of scientific medicine and Ettinger’s book in 1964, it has become scientifically credible for human beings to reach for personal biological immortality and thus, for the first time, for a credible and a definitive “end to death.” Because what death really is, is the destruction of human knowledge and wisdom, and that is always and necessarily rooted in the destruction of individual humans. Wisdom, in particular, is uniquely a property of individual persons, and so is creativity. Neither of these fantastical properties which create and drive civilization can be distilled into books, carved into stone, or molded into bronze or plastic.

To achieve immortality for individuals it will be necessary to utilize the structure of institutions. It should be abundantly evident that such institutions will necessarily have to be the most stable and durable of those which human beings have so far managed to engineer. As such, they will have to most emulate that property which human institutions were created for in the first place: the conservation of memory of persons, places and events in order to conserve values over time. This why institutions incessantly speak of things like “grand old traditions” and “institutional memory.”  Admittedly, it is a hard thing to do. And it is a perilous thing to do, because it relies upon successful prognostication of the future; that the ideas and values selected for conservation and propagation over the ages are the ones essential for success; and that the ones not essential, do not discredit those that are.

Inherent in cryonics is a terrible arrogance and optimism which attracts a kind of people who seem to possess an inborn contempt for, or incomprehension of the value of the past. This is evident in their own disregard for it. There is a shocking lack of historical conservation at both CI and Alcor. In fact, it is so shocking and all pervasive that I know that my words here will have virtually no impact on almost all who read them, because no one,[1] at either place has any idea of what I’m talking about. It is, literally, the equivalent of talking to people who have never seen books, about how shocking it is that they don’t have libraries.

Organizations that are clueless about their own (recent) historical past should, not surprisingly, also be clueless about the deeper reasons for things like pictures of patients hanging on the walls. A few years ago, I was talking with one of the (many) former Presidents of Alcor who had a question for me about  something in a member’s paperwork. This President wanted to know what “BACS” was? Now, I am old. In fact, I’m a little older than cryonics (by about 9 years). But that still only makes me 56, not 156.  I felt a little like I do when I see anyone in the US being stopped on the street and asked questions like, “Who is the Secretary of State?” or “Who was Abraham Lincoln?” and the response is an utterly clueless answer.

If you’re an average reader here, and you don’t have a clue, that’s OK, because there really is no cryonics community to get acculturated in. The answer is that the Bay Area Cryonics Society (BACS, they changed their named to the American Cryonics Society, ACS, in 1985) was the dominant cryonics organization in the world from ~1974-1984! That’s a third of all of cryonics history and it’s not that long ago.  To not know that and to be running the world’s largest cryonics organization seemed wrong to me. Not because it was wrong per se, but because it was inevitably a marker for what had to be a veritable iceberg of other missing information that was of far greater import. And even that isn’t necessarily a fatal flaw. Realizing a deficiency of knowledge or character or resources, even a spectacular one, and working hard to remedy it is the oldest heroes’ tale in the world.

Of course,  it isn’t really practical to keep putting up pictures of Alcor’s patients on its walls. At some point, I’d have expected that they would have started to spill out, rather indecently, onto the grounds. And perhaps, if the problem persisted far enough into the future, they might start turning up, well, who knows where? And continue to do so until the problem was solved.

The problem to be solved being not the clutter, nor the barrier to tasteful decorating, nor to efficient housekeeping, but rather, the problem of how to make their number start decreasing, rather than increasing. That is, decreasing by some expedient other than by gathering them up into a digital dustbin where they are granted increasingly smaller and smaller and smaller access to the living human eye, as time goes by.

How terribly (horribly) convenient.


After writing this piece it occurred to me that many might dismiss it as a case of “sour grapes;” of an “old man” failing to keep pace with the times. I don’t believe this is so and I think a good analogy is the AIDS Quilt.  Imagine if the AIDS Quilt had, because of its bulk, logistical inconvenience, and in your face anguish effect, had been replaced with a single (or several) flat screen “quilt display” monitors?

The effect would hardly have been the same. At issue here is not the technology, per se. I can imagine a number of ways to use digital technology far more pervasively, far more more subversively, and potentially even more durably than analog photographs, or stitched pieces of fabric. I’m not an analog Luddite. Indeed, I’m using digital technology in just such a”creative-subversive” way right now.

The point is that it must be used in such a manner – transformatively, transcendently and creatively – not as a band-aid convenience to assist with interior decorating to “reduce clutter” or “ease housekeeping.”

That is the clueless failure of vision, understanding and institutional memory I’m addressing here.


[1] Dr. Mike Perry is one exception that I know of.

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18 Responses to Your Picture Won’t Be Hanging Here?

  1. Mark Plus says:

    The photo situation at Alcor shows a consequence of “cybernetic totalism”: The same sort of “futuristic” thinking which wants to replace biological brains with fantasies of “uploaded minds” would also of course want to replace physical photographs with their digital representations. Next I expect to see tablet PC’s mounted on the walls with Siri-like apps so that you can have “conversations” with cryonauts’ “mind files.”

    Though if I had the ability to do some mischievous programming, I’d have the apps say things like, “Sonny, stop screwing around with these gadgets and figure out how to get me out of this damned dewar and living again!”

    • chronopause says:

      “Though if I had the ability to do some mischievous programming, I’d have the apps say things like, ‘Sonny, stop screwing around with these gadgets and figure out how to get me out of this damned dewar and living again!’” Brilliant, Mark, but you’ve got it wrong, by just a little, and only by just a little, both in time and space.

      The year is 2031, it is the 10th Anniversary of Max More’s Presidency at Alcor. There is to be a huge celebration capped by a momentous announcement. Free transportation and lodging have been provided for the family members of all the patients cryopreserved at Alcor. An array of celebrities are present at the lavish gala. Finally, the moment arrives and a timid, elderly spouse of one of the patients is led onto the diaz. The great hall darkens and there, in 3-dimensions, her spouse glows before her smiling and warmly greets her saying, “Hello darling, I’m back, incorruptible and here at last and forever!” She’s astonished, she asks questions, questions about their life together, which her husband answers effortlessly and lovingly! It’s true! The crowd roars. The happy “couple” are quickly ushered off stage. The old woman and her holographically projected mindfile-husband will, no doubt, live happily ever after!

      Her subsequent “minor dissatisfaction” will no also doubt be resolved when her biological inadequacies are overcome during her own transformation into a mindfile and the subsequent incineration of that primitive, decaying biological instantiation that once (so poorly and dangerously) held her identity is completed. In the distant background the orchestra can be heard playing, ever so softly, the theme to the “Twilight Zone.” — Mike Darwin

      • chronopause says:

        One more thing, Mark. Alcor is far too cheap to use tablet PCs “plural.” It would be just one, you would have queue for it, and it would not be an iPad.

        Finally, a recent visitor to Alcor told me that the digital frame with the patient “photos” was “out of order” when she was there, and that the staff member who was trying to get it to operate could not figure out how to make it “run.” All too pathetic for any more words here. -MD

    • chronopause says:

      Your post provokes yet another reply. While I believe the information-theoretic criterion is a useful one in bounding death, I believe it may not be sufficient in determining the continuation of personhood in cases where there is duplication of biological information. For instance, let’s consioder a thought experiment wherein we make two copies of Mark Plus, both of which are in the solid state and are ostensibly distinguishable only by the position they occupy in space (and, of course, time). The question I now ask is what, if any important and unique property do these two Mark Pluses NOT share with each other? — Mike Darwin

      • Mark Plus says:

        Jeez, flashbacks to early ’90′s Extropianism.

        Until such a situation becomes an empirical reality, which means that we see a feasible path to get from here to there, I don’t see the point of worrying about it.

        I’ve soured on transhumanism in general, since I can see now that it distracts people from doing practical and useful things. It sounds a lot more fun to call yourself an “AI theorist,” a “product storyteller,” a “progressive futurist” or whatever other nonsense descriptions people who speak at transhumanist conferences use these days, than to admit that you don’t have a real job or career.

        • chronopause says:

          Actually, it has important practical implications today, just as did Einstein’s gedanken experiments that lead to the creation of General and Special Relativity. Many years ago, Fred Chamberlain, Greg Fahy and I had a debate about precisely this issue. Fred and I came down on one side, and Greg on the other. To Fred and I it seemed clear that data were data and that you could flip a coin as to which “copy” of Mark Plus or Mike Darwin or Greg Fahy you chose as the “continuer” and which you incinerated.

          In the opening of the brilliant film THE PRESTIGE, a small child becomes distressed when a magician tries to “fool” him by passing one seemingly identical canary off as the other; the original bird having been smashed in the course of performing a trick. The boy keeps protesting that the birds are not the “same.” In that case, they are indeed two different birds – biologically different, that is. But, the child has a point that is obvious to any would be observer staring at the two Marks in suspended animation. The first and most obvious problem is that there two of them.

          The classic (information-theoretic) answer to that has been, “So what? The information content is the same; atoms is atoms and they is all interchangeable.” But that answer ignores an important property that the two Marks do not share. To understand that property, let’s consider the full dimensionality of personhood. Is a person a single slice of information at given point in time, or is a person a more or less continuous series of slices of information over time, a wave function if you will? If we are part of a mulitverse is that information over time a function not also entangled in complex ways with the multiverse? Thus, in such an interpretation of personhood a person in suspended animation would most properly be seen as a stopped, entangled information-time function.

          So, we have two unarguably viable Marks, Mark-1 and Mark-2. However, under no conditions are they the same. They never occupy the same space-time continuum, never share the same macro or quantum history, in fact, they have nothing in common except the same atomic-molecular information set – and that only to an arbitrary degree of precision – it can never be assuredly absolutely the same. There is increasing evidence (some would argue it is a foregone conclusion) that quantum entanglement extends to the macro-world, in which case the history of of every macro object is unique and entangled. If this is so, the idea of people as simply patterns of atoms is incomplete, because it fails to take into account the very important property that people have have history – they exist over time. People are not single slices or snapshots of information, anymore than a motion picture is any single frame of 35 mm film. Rather, people are their information content as a function of time. Because we humans are constrained to experience time in the moment, it is easy (and dangerous) for us to forget that we live in at least four dimensions and not three. I think we should remember that while our perception is that we live in Flatland, we really are cubes and not squares. — Mike Darwin

          • Taurus Londono says:

            Actually, I disagree…perhaps for largely the same underlying reason.

            It is the universe that’s the “cube”, and to the extent that humans are part of the universe, yes, “we” are part of the same fundamental spacetime geometry of the universe.

            But “we”…”you” *don’t* exist over time. I think that personal identity as “we” perceive it is a kind of hologram, or something like a projection being cast by the neurophysical interactions going on in our brains.

            What you perceive as “you” at any one moment is not the same “you” that might perceive itself at any other moment. That may not be apparent from one day to the next (and that, I think, is merely a consequence of our naturally-evolved perception of time), but on a long enough timescale, I would argue that you are not fundamentally the same individual. It goes without saying that 4-year-old Michael Federowicz is not the same “you” as the Mike Darwin of 2012…and the Mike Darwin of 2032 (or 2232, if you’re lucky) will most definitely not be the same Mike Darwin as the “you” reading these words for the first time right now. For all you know, he might not even particularly like the Mike Darwin of 2012 (hey, I’m just saying).

            It’s not *merely* that personal identity changes over time. Personal identity is not like, say, a mountain that merely changes its features over time as its malleability at the atomic scale leaves it vulnerable to the mercy of fundamental forces. The structural features of your brain might change over time; but “you” aren’t really these structural features; you’re a *product* of them.

            The situation is similar, I imagine, to software on a PC hard disk drive. It seems to me that the output of that software at any one moment is unequivocally *not* the same thing as the code lying in the hard drive.

            In that sense, the fine structure of your brain is like code embedded on that disk; “you” are merely the output at any one time.

            What happens if we fundamentally alter that structure using some hypothetical fanciful nanotechnology…if, say, we make it appear as though Angela Merkel’s brain is inside “your” (Mike Darwin’s) body. Let’s say “you” think you’re Merkel…you might not really be her, but I don’t think we could say that you’re Mike Darwin.

            Anyway, personal identity can already be altered this way; it is trivially easy, for example, to simply *physically screw around with the brain* to effectively turn someone into, well, someone else. Victims of traumatic brain injury come to mind (no pun intended).

            You might (in principal) be able to trace the path across time of the calcium ions in your brain, but if the structures in which your long-term memory are encoded were suddenly changed (drastically) right now, and “you” changed, the exact same calcium ions would still be mediating neurological function, their paths across spacetime still perfectly traceable (in this universe, at least). “You” are not the subatomic particles that comprise the neuronal tissues in your skull; like I said, “you” are merely the consequence of their existence.

            It seems to me that the “Mike Darwins” that exist across time are distinct individuals whose personal identities are determined by whatever combination of brain structure and neurophysiology happens to exist.

            Unlike the mountain, the Mike Darwin reading these words for the first time simply *won’t exist* in any future; unlike the universe as a whole, *you* are not tenseless. Indeed, your very existence is predicated on the present.

            Fundamentally, your existence as a conscious entity only extends as far as “now.” Pull the camera out far enough on the universe, and there is no “now.” That the human mind even has a concept like “now” is very telling, I think, when it comes to the nature of identity.

          • Taurus Londono says:

            My apologies if nothing I’ve spewed out here even remotely approaches anything you were getting at.

            I realize that what I’m harping on is practically a moot point; for all intents and purposes, you are your brain, period.

            I suppose I’m just trying to verbalize some kinf og framework with which to understand human identities as *discrete things* in the universe. It seems to me that the difference between a human and a flatworm is a matter of degrees rather than kind.

  2. Max More says:

    Someone reading your post would think that we have taken down all pictures of patients. (This is another example of your framing things to give a misleading poor appearance.) In reality, currently there are 37 framed patient pictures on the walls (in the reception area and the hallways outside the conference room and OR). The pictures in the conference room were multiplying to the extent that it was looking cluttered and crazy. At any time, 5 digital pictures will show. So 42 patient pictures are showing at a time, and many more as you watch the displays.

    No one has forgotten the purpose of the pictures (it’s obvious even if you don’t know the original motivation). The photos in the conference room have simply been replaced by digital versions that not only look uncluttered but which are easier to focus on. With dozens of photos in the same room at at once, it’ easy to glaze over them.

    I don’t know about the digital frame being out of order. If so, it was quickly fixed. Making it run doesn’t require any figuring out — you just push the one button.


    • chronopause says:

      Thank you for the clarification. Lots of questions come to mind. How will the balance between analog prints and digital images be addressed? Why not go to all digital images? Who determines which patient’s image is displayed in which format? When you state that, “This is another example of your framing things to give a misleading poor appearance.” My response is, “Considering the way in which you have proceeded, what did you expect?”

      For instance, I think that you and others in Alcor management would agree that aside from the underlying strategic philosophical and ideological issues, this change is likely to be a very sensitive personal issue for some of the families and friends of the patients in Alcor’s care. As such, it might seem a reasonable expectation that such a change would have been discussed with the Board, with family members and with the Alcor membership on the pagers of Cryonics magazine, or on a blog-style discussion forum very much like Chronosphere is.

      My point is, that before pointing an accusatory finger of blame in this direction, methinks the “strategic philosopher in residence” should get a clue and think about the important philosophical, personal and practical implications of changes of this nature, as well as of how they will be perceived before implementing them. — Mike Darwin

      • cath says:

        “The medium is the message” as McLuhan wrote, and nothing screams ephemeral like a digital image. As the wife of Thomas Donaldson and a professional artist, and as Thomas is the son of two professional artists, it would distress me if his photographic portrait were displayed in digital form. Photographs have a presence and permanence that digital images do not have. In addition, if the portrait is a photographic one by a professional photographer, it is legally and aesthetically an insult to artistic integrity to scan it and display it digitally. The photographer has the copyright.

        Max, when was the last time you “pushed the button” (surely a description of dominance of viewer over image if ever there was one) to study the likenesses of the Alcor patients? An image on a wall has primacy, and THAT is the substance of Mike’s impassioned comment, whereas one that is there at the push of a button exists at the behest of the button-pusher or “conjuror”. It can be turned on AND off.

        • chronopause says:

          Very, very well said. Your comments about “buttons” in this context remind of an essay by Thomas that has a corollary theme predicting (accurately) the demise of the US manufacturing industry. It’s title was, if I recall correctly, “Just Push a Button and It’s Done.” — MD

  3. Luke Parrish says:

    As a thought experiment, let’s suppose you wake up in a warehouse in the future. Due to some industrial accident, your (or should I say the original you’s) cryopreserved body was duplicated on the atomic level 99 times. The original was shuffled in with the copies and now nobody has any idea which of the 100 total is the real one.

    The amoral AI that runs the warehouse offers you two options. You can have the 99 other copies all thawed to allow them a chance to live out their lives as they see fit. But there’s a catch: the existing person that makes the decision must commit suicide. In that event there is a 99% chance of survival for the original.

    Alterately, you can also choose to remain alive as the currently mentally active individual, in which case the 99 viable copies must be destroyed. This gives you only a 1% chance that the original survived.

    For the sake of the thought experiment, suppose you desire above all else to survive and don’t care too much about the possibility of killing people. Also we can stipulate that you’ll have plenty of other chances to get duplicated if you want, and a backup of yourself at the moment of death is kept separately, so the opportunity cost of destroying the duplicates is effectively zero.

    Which decision makes the most sense to precommit to in this event, assuming you are the original thinking about the possibility beforehand?

    Personally I think of an individual as the sum of their experiences, and that it would be *less* moral to suicide and preserve 99 slightly less experienced copies. Allowing a completely undifferentiated copy (be it the original or not) to be destroyed is not a problem for survival purposes as I see it — it is really strictly a matter of preserving the information in an active form.

    • chronopause says:

      The purpose of my gedanken experiment was to point out that models of identity that fail to take time into consideration seem unsatisfactory. Indeed, they can be demonstrated to be unsatisfactory as soon as we begin to work with quantum entangled systems that extend into the macroscale world. That is, in fact, exactly what prototypical quantum computers and similar model systems have been demonstrated to do. No full scale commercially useful devices of this nature are required – the proof of principle stands, and in fact it has stood for quite some time – we just didn’t see it. Now, what does this mean? Does it have implications for what constitutes personhood? My guess is it that it does, because it seems pretty clear that a person is not a single “frame” or “slice” of information at any given instant in time. A person is more akin to a wave function.

      As I understand the experiment you propose, what has been set up is a lottery with odds or stakes that the original will survive. That still poses no challenge to the issue of who is really who. There is still really only one “original,” or real me.

      Where I find things both really interesting and confusing are in gray-state situations where there is substantial loss of information, or abrupt or discontinuous changes in matter content. It is also suggested from interference effects that there may be interactions between the component multiverses, and that makes me wonder just how far identity may be distributed. — Mike Darwin

      • Luke Parrish says:

        “As I understand the experiment you propose, what has been set up is a lottery with odds or stakes that the original will survive. That still poses no challenge to the issue of who is really who. There is still really only one “original,” or real me. ”

        Perhaps the main point would be clearer if we remove the lottery aspect entirely. Suppose you find yourself in the following situation: In ten minutes you will be cryopreserved and scanned. A molecular copy will be generated who will be thawed and presented with two buttons. If they choose to press the green one, they will be vaporized and the original will be thawed. If they press the red one, the original will be vaporized and they will be released.

        Now, if you strongly feel that the original is the only real you, that indicates that it is rational to precommit to pressing the green button. You would want to make up your mind so firmly that the feelings of self preservation of the copy will not override the decision. You would anticipate the feeling of self-destruction, but would anticipate sacrificing that to a greater survival principal. This anticipation would all happen before the ten minutes is up, and would be fulfilled when the copy actually makes the decision.

        An even less confusing example might be if you are in a situation where a copy will be made, which will press a button to either award you five million dollars or not, and then be vaporized (with the original being thawed and receiving the money or not). In that case there is no gain for the copy either way, but you would still be inclined to anticipate making the decision (and thus committing to a choice) before being copied.

        My point is that the feelings and complex precommitments, in other words decision making tools that function over time, constitute a very major component — arguably the only major component — of identity. If your copy ten minutes in the future makes a decision, it will be using your memories, feelings, values, and precommitments that you possess and form in the here and now. In forming your plans for future behavior, it is completely reasonable to anticipate that you will be the copy, even if you simultaneously anticipate not being the copy with equal certainty.

        Physics based objections don’t seem too significant on the basis of time because the aspect of identity we have explored here is also relevant over time. In fact it is utterly dependent on *causal* interactions of matter (just as when a developer zipped up your web browser, transmitted it to a download server, and you downloaded and unzipped it into a functional product, all causal relationships, however abstract and mathematical they may have been, had to be established by airtight physics).

        The decisions of your copy to press the button *must* have a very clear causal relationship to your prior thoughts about about what decision you intend to make in that event. Otherwise we might as well be discussing a Boltzmann Brain, which is quite another topic.

        • Taurus Londono says:

          Look at it from the clone’s perspective.

          You wake up and *remember* making a pre-commitment. The fact that that pre-commitment was made in the past and is only tangible in your memory is very important.

          Right now, I can recall memories of thoughts and behaviors that I engaged in five or ten years ago that I would not necessarily engage in today. That *might* also be the case if a thought or behavior (apparently) occurred 10 minutes ago.

          If I have a strong desire to survive, why would I kill myself so that some *other* brain in some *other* body can get some monetary reward (much less survive)?

          Someone could approach you *this very instant* and tell you that you are a clone, a copy of the “original,” and everything up to the last 24 hours were implanted memories to make you *think* you were the original.

          “Aw shucks, guess I’ll agree to suicide then.”

          Not me (or any other “me”). I will never *choose* death; especially not for the sole purpose of letting someone else with an identical physiology (original or not) take my place. My clone would necessarily feel the same way.

          I suspect most cryonicists (or other so-called “immortalists”) would agree; and I agree with your first statement about the persistence of experience.

  4. Taurus Londono says:

    No dismissal would be justified. I’m roughly half your age, and I agree with you entirely on this.

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