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August 27, 2013

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Being stuck with the knowledge that (1) I will die, and (2) I won't live after I die -- that sucks. Not that I have any alternative.


Supposedly you can get your dog cloned. If there's any truth to this, when you're an octogenarian, you and baby Brian could be in diapers together.

Have you read Becker's "Escape from Evil"? Worth the read.

Also, recommend "Bad Religion" "How we became a Nation of Heretics". A lot of American religious history that I was not aware of. A particularly EXCELLENT and meaningful read if one happened to have been raised Catholic in the 40's, 50's, or 60's.

If you get your physical self cloned now, Brian1, your symbolic self can teach young Brian2 to carry on as you (symbolically), and you can physically die with the assurance that "you" are not really dying.

It's like a relay race. If you're both in sync, the hand-off (your death), is a cinch. So get started! It will take some time for you and Brian2 to train for this.

Yeah - just imagine your symbolic self actually becoming "embodied" in a cloned version of it's physical self that has died. How would you (symbolic self) explain to other symbolic selves that you were actually able to defeat physical death? And how would you know if the other symbolic self was already actually aware of this possibility (inevitability)?
Cloning is nothing more than reincarnation dressed in a lab coat. My own symbolic self cannot even imagine wanting to survive physical death. As a matter of fact, it is quite glad that it will not.

How would you (symbolic self) explain to other symbolic selves that you were actually able to defeat physical death? And how would you know if the other symbolic self was already actually aware of this possibility (inevitability)?

I was being facetious, Willie. Cloning can't extend the symbolic self's life. Nothing can. Thus, notions of "soul", out-of-body existence, consciousness independent of the brain, reincarnation, etc., are so prevalent. The mind can't imagine itself non-existent.

Of course I knew that you were having a bit of fun with your comments, cc - I was not attempting to be contentious.
It is not outside of the realm of possibility to genetically engineer a human organism which would have identical characteristics to the DNA donor. But that cloned organism would have to progress through inevitable growth stages which would engender its own symbolic self.
Undoubtedly, the reader will have at least heard of Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil believes that homo sapiens will inevitably obtain the knowledge that will enable at least a privileged few to live as long as they choose to. We will be able to regenerate tissues that currently do not have the capability, replacement organs will be commonplace, not to mention such things as synthetic hemoglobin that can carry 10 times the amount of oxygen that natural hemoglobin can, allowing us to stay submerged under water for long periods without SCUBA. He also believes that we will shortly be able to transfer the configurations of our neural networks digitally, in essence capturing the symbolic self in a stable medium (assuming, of course, that the symbolic self is actually the vast complex of molecular configurations that exist at any given moment). Not too far-fetched, but certainly a long way off into the ostensible future.
Kurzweil takes between 150 to 200 vitamin and nutritional supplements per day. (I don't see how he can avoid damaging his digestive system thereby). The secret to quasi-immortality is to live long enough to take advantage of the inevitable leaps in scientific knowledge and then access the regenerative modalities that will surely be in place.
Good luck, Ray! I personally think he will need at least a kidney transplant in a relatively short while.

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