2 weeks ago Saibal Mitra wrote:

I don't think that the MW immortality is correct at all! In a certain sense
we are
immortal, because the enseble of all possible worlds is a fixed static
entity. So,
you ''always'' find yourselve alive in one state or another. However, you
experience youself evolving in the infinite far future.

If you encounter a ''branching'' in which one of the possibilities is
death, that
branch cannot be said to be nonexistent relative to you. Quantum mechanics
imply that you can never become unconscious, otherwise you could never fall

Of course, you can never experience being unconscious. So, what to do with
the branch
leading to (almost) certain death? The more information your brain
contains, the smaller the set of branches is in which you are alive (and
consistent with your experiences stored in your brain). The set of all
branches in which you could be alive doesn't contain any information at all.
Since death involves complete
memory loss, the branch leading to death should be replaced by the complete
set of all possibilities.

...and despite reading the last paragraph several times slowly, I'm afraid I don't understand it. Are you saying there may never be a "next moment" at the point where you are facing near-certain death? It seems to me that all that is required is an observer moment in which (a) you believe that you are you, however this may be defined (it's problematic even in "normal" life what constitutes continuity of identity), and (b) you remember facing the said episode of near-certain death (ncd), and it will seem to you that you have miraculously escaped, even if there is no actual physical connection between the pre-ncd and the post-ncd observer moment. Or, another way to escape is as you have suggested in a more recent post, that there is an observer moment somewhere in the multiverse in which the ncd episode has been somehow deleted from your memory. Perhaps the latter is more likely, in which case you can look forward to never, or extremely rarely, facing ncd in your life.

It all gets very muddled. If we try to ruthlessly dispense with every derivative, ill-defined, superfluous concept and assumption in an effort to simplify the discussion, the one thing we are left with is the individual observer-moments. We then try to sort these observer-moments into sets which constitute lives, identities, birth, death, amnesia, mind duplication, mind melding, multiple world branchings, and essentially every possible variation on these and other themes. No wonder it's confusing! And who is to judge where a particular individual's identity/life/body/memory begins and ends when even the most detailed, passed by committee of philosophers set of rules fails, as it inevitably will?

The radical solution is to accept that only the observer-moments are real, and how we sort them then is seen for what it is: essentially arbitrary, a matter of convention. You can dismiss the question of immortality, quantum or otherwise, by observing that the only non-problematic definition of an individual is identification with a single observer-moment, so that no individual can ever "really" live for longer than a moment. Certainly, this goes against intuition, because I feel that I was alive a few minutes ago as well as ten years ago, but *of course* I feel that; this is simply reporting on my current thought processes, like saying I feel hungry or tired, and beyond this cannot be taken as a falsifiable statement about the state of affairs in the real world unless recourse is taken to some arbitrary definition of personal identity, such as would satisfy a court, for example.

Let me put it a different way. Situation (a) life as usual: I die every moment and a peson is reborn every moment complete with (most) memories and other attributes of the individual who has just died. Situation (b) I am killed instantly, painlessly, with an axe every moment, and a person is reconstituted the next moment complete with (most) memories and other attributes of the individual who has just died, such that he experiences no discontinuity. Aside from the blood and mess in (b), is there a difference? Should I worry more about (b) than (a)? This is of course a commonplace thought experiment on this list, but I draw from it a slightly different conclusion: we all die all the time; death doesn't really matter, otherwise we should all be in a constant panic.

--Stathis Papaioannou

Express yourself instantly with MSN Messenger! Download today - it's FREE! http://messenger.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200471ave/direct/01/

Reply via email to