On 05/01/2006, at 5:19 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

It is an accident of evolution that we consider our future selves to be the "same" person as we are now and try to ensure their well- being.

Biological imperatives are present and at work here. It may be an accident of evolution that we have a sense of self at all. Not all life forms have self-awareness. A consciousness of death appears to be what renders a psyche active in terms of seeing things framed by past present and future. Memory may not depend entirely on a conscious mind but memory is certainly much longer in beings with a grasp of time. An insect probably has little or no experience of time because it is dubious that it has an awareness of death. Yet, insects appear to devote their entire lives to ensuring the well-being of their future selves. The selfish gene principle governs most of what goes on - we are replicators whose minds favour behaviours leading to our survival

They might be made up of completely different matter to us, have only inaccurate memories of what we are experiencing now, and have only a vaquely similar sense of self

It would be no logical contradiction if we believed that our life effectively ended when we went to sleep each night, and accordingly used up all our resources today with no regard for the person who will wake up in our bed tomorrow

We don't think that way because people who did would have died out,

but with a little effort it is possible to imagine sentient species with notions of continuity of individual identity very different from our own.

How ironic - but don't we live *as though* this were true? Don't humans live in general as though there are "no tomorrows" and use up all the resources today with no regard etc. It seems with a conscious self-awareness we are at the greedy, destructive and subsequently doomed other end of the spectrum to the insect with it's clearly triumphant altruistic oblivion. In that we experience a linear time in our heads we apparently must seek and define an "end time" for our individual lives if not our entire civilization based on the respect / fear of the death event. This seems quintessentially human...other sentient beings as you say might have observer moments devoid of our egoic sense of self that seems so easily extinguishable by a death event.

Kim Jones

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