[extropy-chat] Avoid Too Much Change

Heartland velvethum at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 9 01:40:08 UTC 2007

> Please let us use the term "personal identity" to refer to that
> continuity of staying alive that we all cherish (except the
> suicidal).

I tried that already and I can report that this path leads to contradiction. 
Preserving personal identity is one thing and staying alive is another. Despite 
popular belief these things are unrelated.

Example: A single brain houses person A's memories and beliefs. If we wanted we 
could rewire that brain so that person A's beliefs and memories would be replaced 
by person B's memories and beliefs. Result? Personal identity has definitely 
changed but not the fact that the brain has not died. If personal identity and 
staying alive were one and the same, then a change in personal identity would have 
to cause brain death. And since a child (person A) manages to avoid brain death 
while morphing into an adult (person B) (if it didn't there would be no adults in 
the world) it should be apparent that we should not use the term "personal 
identity" to refer to continuity of staying alive.

Let's yield the term "personal identity" to those who think it refers to a specific 
collection of memories and beliefs and let them torture themselves with dead end 
questions such as, "What it means to preserve PI?" Instead, let's focus on how to 
stay alive.


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