[ExI] Next moment, everything around you will probably change

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri Jun 22 05:05:53 UTC 2007

Gordon writes

> On 21/06/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
>> I admit that there is irony in the situation of a person or
>> program trying to destroy instances that are identical to
>> itself, even though it has been programmed to safeguard
>> "its own existence".
> Not only is it ironic, Lee, but it is in my estimation patently absurd. If
> the instances are at each other's throats, and one kills the other, then
> is it suicide or is it murder? It's murder, I say! :)

What, the scenario that Jef and Stathis and A B and I were
talking about is absurd?  Maybe you are misunderstanding
me or vice-versa. Do you have a problem with the scenario
first advanced, I believe, by Jef that specified that a human
being could be so constituted that were he duplicated, he
and his duplicate would immediately turn on each other
with a vengeance?   It sounds plausible to me, hardly
absurd at all.

Yes, I do get your joke about whether it's murder or suicide  :-)

I say it's suicide!!    :-)

Funny Mark Twain dialog.


> also to be very relevant to this thread), Bergson quotes this amusing
> dialogue in which Mark Twain answers a reporter's questions:
> -----
> QUESTION. Isn’t that a brother of yours?
> ANSWER. Oh! yes, yes, yes!  Now you remind me of it, that WAS a brother of
> mine. That’s William--BILL we called him. Poor old Bill!
> Q. Why? Is he dead, then?
> A. Ah! well, I suppose so. We never could tell. There was a great mystery
> about it.
> Q. That is sad, very sad. He disappeared, then?
> A. Well, yes, in a sort of general way. We buried him.
> Q. BURIED him! BURIED him, without knowing whether he was dead or not?
> A. Oh no! Not that. He was dead enough.
> Q. Well, I confess that I can’t understand this. If you buried him, and
> you knew he was dead—
> A. No! no! We only thought he was.
> Q. Oh, I see! He came to life again?
> A. I bet he didn’t.
> Q. Well, I never heard anything like this. SOMEBODY was dead.  SOMEBODY
> was buried. Now, where was the mystery?
> A. Ah! that’s just it! That’s it exactly. You see, we were twins,--defunct
> and I,--and we got mixed in the bath-tub when we were only two weeks old,
> and one of us was drowned. But we didn’t know which. Some think it was
> Bill. Some think it was me.
> Q. Well, that is remarkable. What do YOU think?
> A. Goodness knows! I would give whole worlds to know. This solemn, awful
> tragedy has cast a gloom over my whole life.
> Bergson adds this commentary:
> "A close examination will show us that the absurdity of this dialogue is
> by no means an absurdity of an ordinary type. It would disappear were not
> the speaker himself one of the twins in the story. It results entirely
> from the fact that Mark Twain asserts he is one of these twins, whilst all
> the time he talks as though he were a third person who tells the tale. In
> many of our dreams we adopt exactly the same method."[1]

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