[ExI] "Death gives meaning to life?"

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Thu Jun 12 09:26:38 UTC 2008

On Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 2:56 PM, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> Why would one wish to forego reproduction? Besides, this is an
> obviously very non-ESS  (that is, non Evolutionarily Stable Strategy)
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionarily_stable_strategy
> As we are uploaded (probably), or replaced by mind children,
> or expand into space to escape the on-going Singularity in the
> solar system, I could not in good conscience recommend to
> any group of which I was a part a non-ESS.

Very well said, and a point I share completely.

>> Then, "probability of death" may depend on factors that remain
>> entirely within the scope of human self-determination, and I sincerely
>> doubt that its reduction to zero would be an absolute, unconditional
>> individual and societal goal.
> Not at all. Huge numbers of science fiction writers, e.g. Egan, Broderick,
> Brin, and so on all the way back to Algis Budry's "Rogue Moon" in 1960,
> it's been understood that one will of course have "backups" throughout
> any region of space in exact analogy to off-site storage of important
> computer data.

Yes, it came to my mind, Schild's Ladder being even more a case in
point than Glory, where they are relatively casual about the loss of
one of more "individualities" (the real loss being considered that of
experiences and data collected since the last backup) as long as
copies are kept somewhere and can restored on the desidered support.
OTOH, it might be argued, even though this is in my view a purely
nominalistic argument, that the destruction of a given, working copy
of your identity would be "death" and that your restored backup would
be an identical individual rather than your mythical "self", so that
the loss would be prevented for your community and/or the universe,
but not really for the "self itself". The real issue, however, is that
Egan's virtually "immortal" characters, while being , do accept
reasonable risks whenever this is worth doing - or even chose to be
terminated, sometimes, as it happens in Diaspora.

>> I would be reluctant, say, to forbid sport, including its extreme version,
> You mean, you would be reluctant to get together with your neighbors
> and elect a powerful government that would interfere with individual's
> decisions concerning things like suicide.

Exactly. Or even much lesser risks than those involved in a suicide attempt. :-)

Stefano Vaj

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