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Yakk
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby Yakk » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:25 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
Yakk wrote:Because what I'm describing above -- repeated death in an airless frozen void, being crushed to death in a planet of human flesh (or a star or black hole of human flesh), etc -- those are all at best medium term projected consequences of your plan.


Utter speculation.

You're assuming first of all that "immortality" extends beyond the existence of matter; and that the crystal would grant human flesh some special property that allowed it to exist when all other forms of matter could not

Yes, I am assuming immortality. Not "long life".

If it isn't immortality, things change.
You're assuming, conversely, that the crystal allows death or even harm in the first place.

It was explicitly said that you could still suffer pain in the OP. The OP later came back and said that the vision was of "respawn" -- you die, and you come back unhurt. I presumed your dead flesh would disappear, true, otherwise I could build a black hole factory.
Maybe being immortal means being able to withstand the cold emptiness of space without any discomfort at all? Maybe we don't need heat, food, or such things anymore... We're dealing with magic here, after all.

We still suffer pain. If things that cause pain to humans don't cause pain,what does that mean?

I went with the "you are utterly normal, except you respawn if you die" interpretation the OP posted later. This is better than the worst form of immorality, where you cannot die, but are in no way immune to harm. You rot and decay and fall apart, aware and in pain the entire time.
[quote[And in the countless billions of years before heat death is even an is nonsue, you're assuming that we don't find some means of escape.[/quote]
Yep.
Or, barring all else, put ourselves into some sort of sleep/status for eternity; either to dream forever, or to simply exist in an unconscious void.

Eternity is too long for anything to last that long. I presumed only immortality (it being the exception that we are considering) would last forever.

We could presume additional magic. But if we are presuming additional magic, why not presume time travel that lets you rescue the ones who refuse to shatter the crystal?

I presumed no additional magic beyond immortality of human flesh.
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby Cradarc » Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:30 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:At this point I'm convinced you haven't really thought about what you're proposing;

I'm not proposing anything. I'm just playing the devil's advocate because otherwise the discussion would be boring as heck. To be honest, I wouldn't smash the crystal, but not for logical reasons. There is a logical argument that can be made for both sides, which is why I made the thread.

Yakk wrote:I presumed no additional magic beyond immortality of human flesh.

You also implicitly presumed that death does not lead to eternal pain. If you are inside a star, even if you constantly respawn, your body would not have time to react to the pain before "resetting" again. You don't what that would feel like any more than you know what death will feel like.

I think humans are more afraid of dying than we are of death. Death is as enigmatic as anything immortality can bring, but our experiences drive our fear of dying.
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby PeteP » Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:44 pm UTC

The star will burn out soon enough. I think jumping into a black hole will keep you dead a bit longer.

If you want to make the discussion more interesting just define immortality in a way where it's an actually attractive proposition.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby ucim » Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:05 pm UTC

Cradarc wrote:I think humans are more afraid of dying than we are of death.
You needed this twisted scenario to tell you this?

People are always on about "life after death" whatever that means, but far fewer are concerned with "life before conception". There's no reason it shouldn't be symmetric, if it's a thing at all.

Also, I think people are (or should be) afraid of eternity. As I say to people when reading new plays, "You can only read it for the first time once". Much of the joy of living is in doing things for the first time, learning new things, meeting new people, that kind of thing. Keep doing the same thing and you get better at it, to a point. After a while it just becomes boring drudgery. It doesn't matter what that thing is, except that it may take longer for some things than others. Think of all the things you loved as a child. How many of them are still fun now? Part of growing up is assimilating enough experiences that the newness of ordinary things fades. Some people can keep that wonder for longer, perhaps longer than their lifetime. Perhaps for five or ten times a normal human lifetime. But that's not forever.

Before one ten-millionth of forever has passed, you will have likely experienced everything and everyone that your brain can hold. There will be nothing new for you. Ever. And you'll go through that ten million times and still not have passed one ten-millionth of forever.

If there's anything non-bleak in that, tell me what it is. Because I ain't seeing it.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby elasto » Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:26 pm UTC

Actually, I think I am starting to come around to Draconaes's position somewhat.

This crystal would appear either be able to reverse entropy or reverse time; One would hope that applying trillions of years of human ingenuity we would be able to reverse engineer it and avert the heat-death of the universe.

However, we still face the twin problems of the short term - what do we do about the fact the human population is going to explode over the next century - and the ultra-long term - as outlined by ucim above.

What I would say is that, though happiness/satisfaction through normal, external means will likely become impossible (we will have had all possible experiences a million times before eternity is through, as ucim says), there may be artificial ways to achieve it. One way would be if humans could perfectly forget their prior experiences, so they could have repeat experiences with every time as if it were the first. The other way would just be some uber drug or direct neural stimulation to the pleasure centres of the brain for ever. In both cases though, growth beyond a certain point is impossible, reducing what little meaning there is to life to begin with.

I think I would still hold off from breaking the crystal, just because we need more information first. Is someone who is in excruciating pain and moments away from death going to be respawning in that state endlessly?

Here's a related question perhaps; Upon dying, God appears and offers you a choice:
- Choice A: Your consciousness expires, never to return
- Choice B:
-> There is a probability x you'll go to heaven - whatever that means - but let's assume it's experiencing happiness and satisfaction that grows without limit, and never experiencing pain involuntarily
-> There is a probability 1-x you'll go to hell - whatever that means - but let's assume it's experiencing pain and suffering that grows without limit

What value would x have to exceed before you'd choose B over A? For example, I assume noone would gamble on a 50/50 chance... Personally it'd have to be pretty astronomical to risk it...

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby ucim » Sat Jun 27, 2015 10:58 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Upon dying, God appears and offers you a choice:
I think that depends on what I think of God. If he's going to roll dice, I pick A in all cases. If he's going to make the classic Santa choice ("Were you good? were you bad?") then I'd have to factor in what I think this particular God would think of me, which depends on what I think of this particular God.

And if its one of the Gods people worship nowadays, I'd pick A, 'cause I don't think much of him.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jun 28, 2015 12:43 am UTC

ucim wrote:Also, I think people are (or should be) afraid of eternity.
There is no eternity.
elasto wrote:God appears
It was only a matter of time.
Cradarc wrote:There is a logical argument that can be made for both sides, which is why I made the thread.
There is no logic. Magic and logic do not play well together. The minute you start pulling rabbits out of hats, anything is possible, God, me being rich, and other foolish notions.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby ucim » Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:01 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:There is no eternity.
Well, by the premise of the OP, there is (and that's the premise I was going by). But even dequibbling that, and having the magic crystal let you force you to live for five million years, even that would be too much, at least not without other significant changes.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby Cradarc » Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:27 am UTC

Some more elaboration on respawn, for those simply can't respond without details
Let's assume the respawn returns them to perfect health in the same location. Perhaps like Wolverine's regeneration, except at light speed.
For example, if someone gets cancer and "dies" on the bed, they respawn instantly back, without any cancer cells. However, if someone gets impaled by a large metal spike (ugh!), they will respawn with the spike still in the same location. This will most likely cause them to "die" again. Until someone moves the spike, the process will continue indefinitely. If the spike is only partially moved, the person may end up mortally injured, but doesn't die instantly. Another person can then shoot them in the head* to end their misery and have them respawn back to full health.

Ucim,
If death isn't the problem, there are many ways to simulate death without having to deal with dying. People who want to "die" can be shot into the sun or something. They will exist in a continuous state of respawn and will never be conscious long enough to experience pain.
Here's a question for you:
Suppose you were born into such a world. Would you find your life miserable? Would you long for the ability to die?

elasto wrote:I think I would still hold off from breaking the crystal, just because we need more information first. Is someone who is in excruciating pain and moments away from death going to be respawning in that state endlessly?

I think it's fair to say you can hold off on the crystal. However, it's a dystopian future and the human population isn't very large (think small breeding population). Also keep in mind there are people who are calling for you to break the crystal.
At what point would you break the crystal?

morriswalters wrote:The minute you start pulling rabbits out of hats, anything is possible, God, me being rich, and other foolish notions.

^That claim is illogical because you made it in the context of magic.
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jun 28, 2015 2:40 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:^That claim is illogical because you made it in the context of magic.
Do tell? Are you inventing magic mass? With no magic mass you couldn't produce children very long. Humans are largely water. It takes mass to make babies. Earth's mass is about 5.97219e24 Kg. But you can't just eat rocks and crap babies. It takes biomass produced in a ecosystem. Which is using those self same resources. The environment is pushed pretty hard now at 7 billion. Soon or later you run out of things to eat, water to drink. And end up in a constant state of starvation.

But wait, have you have created magic mass? When you kill yourself does your body remake itself from the matter that it consists of? Or do you create new matter? If new matter, the have yourself for dinner. Tasty. However I don't think so. Because all those bodies you wanted to dump into the sun would increase the mass of the sun and God only knows what that would do. Is that logical?

And even if you started off with fewer people you would end up at exactly the same place, on an overpopulated planet, starving. If you die of starvation that you respawn dying of starvation. Because you can't create new mass. I'll pass.

What exactly is the point of this? The fact that language allows you to create this scenario doesn't make it profound or give it the ability to give you any insight.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby ucim » Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:56 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:Ucim,
If death isn't the problem, there are many ways to simulate death without having to deal with dying. People who want to "die" can be shot into the sun or something. They will exist in a continuous state of respawn and will never be conscious long enough to experience pain.
Here's a question for you:
Suppose you were born into such a world. Would you find your life miserable? Would you long for the ability to die?
No, being shot into the sun does not simulate death. Remember.... forever. At some point, the sun will be not quite enough to kill you instantly.

Are you interested in this stupid scenario, or are you interested in the underlying questions you alluded to? If the former, I'm done. If the latter, then modify your scenario. Quite a bit.

As to your question, I (under nondegenerate circumstances) would probably find my life fine and enjoyable for a while. That "while" might even extend into the several hundred years. After ten times that amount, I'd probably get bored. After that, it's forever.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby Cradarc » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:13 am UTC

morriswalters,
What I think you're saying is that life is not worth preserving unless we are sure nothing worse can happen in the future. It is better to have everyone die off than to risk overpopulation in the future. Can you not conceive of a future in which population is successfully managed? Can you not imagine a future where immortality has conditioned humans to live more peacefully?

Ucim,
You have no idea what death is. My death simulation is a way to cure your "boredom". I also gave you a question which clearly indicates it's not the scenario that's important. The scenario just offers ways to highlight different aspects of the issue of life's value.
Suppose you were born into such a world. Would you find your life miserable? Would you long for the ability to die?


Your premise is that life's value comes from new experiences. I'm wondering if that belief is due to your experience in a mortal world. Don't perspectives play a role?
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby krogoth » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:23 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
elasto wrote:God appears
It was only a matter of time.


Is this a many worlds interpretation of the universe statement? I could abstractly see that. Even from a "sentient beings become all powerful and immortal and can travel though dimensions and act as god's in the dimensions they go to" sort of way, Well that could be a resolution to the heat death of the universe, jump to a new one, now we just need to work out how.
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:39 am UTC

No it is much more prosaic. In any thread with magic sooner or later God will get mentioned.
Cradarc wrote:What I think you're saying is that life is not worth preserving unless we are sure nothing worse can happen in the future.
No, I saying that life has value because it has limits.
Cradarc wrote:Can you not conceive of a future in which population is successfully managed?
You don't need immortality to achieve that goal.
Cradarc wrote:Can you not imagine a future where immortality has conditioned humans to live more peacefully?
I can imagine it without the need to think about immortality. If we learn how to govern ourselves and learn to live within our limits, we will have removed most of the causes of conflict. And if children become rare, they then become precious, rather than a throw away that they are in too many cases today. The idea of immortality is the idea of removing limits, refusing to accept that the world has them and that we have them

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby ucim » Sun Jun 28, 2015 2:33 pm UTC

@Cradarc:

I do know what death is. I see it all the time. The complex biological unit ceases to function, and reverts to dissociated elemental compounds over time. Death is not what is at issue, but rather, the "soul", if you will. That (if there is such a thing) which distinguishes us from zombies. That which creates the distinction between the first person and the third person. That with which you experience your "you"-ness.

It is that which nobody knows about, and is the subject of religious mysticism.

While I do not believe in a soul (or any of the religious trappings around it), consciousness is certainly a thing, but not a tangible thing. It is what allows us to experience our experiences, and the discussion makes no sense without it.

Your death simulation fails because "forever". At some point in time, the situation will change and you will revive. Rather than concoct a "death simulation", alter the scenario so that people could simply die if they wanted to. Then ask under what circumstances they would/would not want to. You could make it even more direct and simply posit a fountain of youth. You've discovered the magic behind the elixer, and (to save humanity) you could publish it on the internet, allowing anybody to make it easily and for free. The Misogyny Kool-Aid keeps you alive and healthy, the blue pill is the antidote to The Misogyny Kool-Aid.

In fact, your entire scenario fails to address the points you want to address, because "forever". If you want to illuminate certain philosophical questions by changing a real-life scenario, you should change it as little as possible so that other effects do not creep in. "Forever" is a much bigger change than needed, and other effects dominate over the philosophical questions you are asking.

By your responses, you seem to be missing that, and distill what people are saying into very simplistic terms ("Your premise is that life's value comes from new experiences." for example). No, that is not my premise, it is an ingredient. And all parts of everyone's beliefs are from experiences as a mortal in a moral world. That's not an interesting statement.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:50 pm UTC

Cradarc wrote:My death simulation is a way to cure your "boredom".
No, it isn't.

It's a way to postpone boredom for a few billion years, but not for a few trillion or a few quadrillion.
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:31 pm UTC

In any thread with magic sooner or later God will get mentioned

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby elasto » Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:00 pm UTC

Haha!

Ok, fine. It was obviously a mistake to mention the G word, but I thought it was clear from the context that the choice was the area of interest, not the means of the choice.

Fine. Here's the reformulation of my question:

You are handed a magic crystal.
If you don't break it, when you die, your consciousness will fade into oblivion as expected.
If you do break it, with probability x you'll pass to a new universe where your happiness and satisfaction will grow without bounds: You'll never run out of new things to experience and learn, and your powers over the physical world will grow endlessly, to the point you can create new universes - filled with conscious, sentient beings if you so wish - and interact with them at will.
But with probability 1-x you'll pass to a new universe where your pain and suffering will grow without bounds.

Is there any probability high enough that you'd break the crystal? I'm not sure there is for me... It'd have to be darn high... But, given that I could eventually create perfect universes for countless sentient beings to inhabit, wouldn't there be a moral imperative for me to risk it?

And, follow-up question, would your answer change if neither outcome from breaking the crystal lasted forever, but instead a prescribed period of time?

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby ucim » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:09 pm UTC

With no information about how the choice is made for me, I'd decline to break the crystal. And no, there's no moral imperative based on speculation (or even certainty) of the ability to create more universes, perfect or not.

There's a word for growth without limit. "Cancer". There is no moral imperative to become a cancer.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby Cradarc » Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:42 am UTC

Ucim and Gmalivuk,
I think your argument is that the only stable state is endless torture as time approaches infinity. Since there's no way you can be certain our current scientific knowledge of the far far distant future is accurate, that just seems like a pessimistic perspective of the future. It could just as well be that the endless future reaches a stable state of happiness for the consciousness.

I think you are also making some assumptions about death. You assume death is oblivion, joyless yet painless, like a deep, endless, dreamless sleep. For all you know, the consciousness may experience far greater anguish in death than in whatever happens in the immortal future. All that is accomplished by not breaking the crystal would be to skip the eons in between to the supposed end of the universe (as we know it).

Also keep in mind that time and physical pain is relative. What seems horrifying now may not be once the time finally comes. Your skepticism about the future is like a muon being skeptical about human life.

morriswalters wrote:No, I saying that life has value because it has limits.

Oh, interesting. At what point do the limits become too strict that it no longer offers life value? If a person is stuck in a burning building, have they reached their limit? If a person is gravely ill, have they reached their limit?
Limits are discovered, not self-imposed. Humans push the universe's limits, hence the struggle to survive and excel. If we are given an opportunity, why not take it?
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:27 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:
morriswalters wrote:No, I saying that life has value because it has limits.

Oh, interesting. At what point do the limits become too strict that it no longer offers life value? If a person is stuck in a burning building, have they reached their limit? If a person is gravely ill, have they reached their limit?
Limits are discovered, not self-imposed. Humans push the universe's limits, hence the struggle to survive and excel. If we are given an opportunity, why not take it?

The limit in question is the limit of personal awareness of existence. Otherwise known as death. If life is endless, it becomes meaningless, being a steady state of the universe. That there is a limited amount of time in which to experience things gives them value. If I can expect an infinite amount of time to experience, eventually, everything, then the experience itself loses meaning. Or, as the bowl of petunias thought, "oh no, not again."
Experience has value as it shapes our lives. To go back to the basics of philosophic thought, if you lived in perfect happiness, would you know you were happy? Only in darkness, the light, only in silence the word.
The level of deliberate idiocy presented in these threads posing as deep thought has become insulting. If you want to discuss what may give human experiential existence meaning, do so. Stop with the fantasies and the shifting objectives and the general bullshit already, please.
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby PeteP » Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:38 am UTC

That I don't agree with. While I would find eternal inescapable life an unattractive proposition (see the rest of the thread) it's not because of death giving life meaning. I have see that statement before but I haven't seen any good arguments for it.

Say somebody lives for a hundred years now you either add eternity after that or let them die right then. I don't think the hundred years lose or gain any meaning by adding something to the end. If they do why? (There might be some behaviour differences if you know you are immortal though.)

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:48 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:Oh, interesting. At what point do the limits become too strict that it no longer offers life value? If a person is stuck in a burning building, have they reached their limit? If a person is gravely ill, have they reached their limit?
Limits are discovered, not self-imposed. Humans push the universe's limits, hence the struggle to survive and excel. If we are given an opportunity, why not take it?
Horseshit. Immortality is stasis. Unchanging tedium. Your conceit is that it is all about humans. Life on this planet is what, 3.5 billion years old? To all intents and purposes it is effectively immortal, in so much as that concept makes sense where entropy exists. And because it can adapt and change it has survived asteroid strikes and ice ages, as well as turning the place where it arose into some place worth living on. That ability to change created humans. What your posing assumes is that we are the reason, rather than a cog in a very large wheel.
PeteP wrote:That I don't agree with. While I would find eternal inescapable life an unattractive proposition (see the rest of the thread) it's not because of death giving life meaning. I have see that statement before but I haven't seen any good arguments for it.
Let me throw you out of an airplane without the benefit of a parachute. Your limbic system will answer the question that your intellect can't. And that is as good as it gets in terms of meaning.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby Yakk » Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:22 am UTC

Yes, one cannot be certain. There could be invisible pink unicorns.

If we want to take things seriously, we should take what we now know as fiven, add the "what if", and we shouldn't fo on about invisible pink unicorns. They could exist, but the set of such unicorns and their various properties are boundless regardless of the what if. I mean, "what if an invisible pink unicorn of infinite power will punish one decision, but not the other". Hey look, I made either decision the right or wrong one! That kind of balderdash isn't informative.

Start with what we pretry much know. Add the what if. Extrapolate.

In the OP's case, into horror.

A side question: if it takes a handful of nanoseconds before you die and respawn healthy, couldn't you stitch together conciousness between respawns, and experience the pain of being crushed and burned in a nuclear furnace over eons? I would advise experimentation prior to sun diving. (and yes jumping into a sun will only delay immortality in the best case: the sun will evaporate by the black hole era almost certainly, and by heat death will be gone. If you are truely immortal, you get to respawn then in the fullness of time, in an empty universe. Anyone else who sundived would also be there to start. Entropy would apply to human flesh stars/planets on macroscopic scales I suspect, and over endless eons they would also decay into human infinite death particles floating in the frozen timeless void, disconnected casually from everything else in the universe.)
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby Chen » Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:52 am UTC

This latest respawning scenario provides infinite energy simply through infinite human tissue. If you respawn whole and anything that was missing prior to your death stays around (like blood) you have an unlimited amount of mass to work with. Seems like you could use this to get around that whole heat death problem.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby PeteP » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:09 pm UTC

How about we modify the scenario that you can't die for 10k or 100k years. Still long enough that it can be unpleasant to have no escape for so long but it doesn't come with the baggage of eternity. Your body regenerates from everything and while you have no body your mind still works but it gets no sensory data without sensory organs. Disconnecting the mind from the body avoids brain damage scenarios and the option to simulate dead by repeated destruction. (Which might actually work when the time is limited.) And we can still discuss whether you can force others into this.

(Though adding new energy though respawning is an interesting scenario but it's probably more a fantasy science than a SB discussion)

morriswalters wrote:
PeteP wrote:That I don't agree with. While I would find eternal inescapable life an unattractive proposition (see the rest of the thread) it's not because of death giving life meaning. I have see that statement before but I haven't seen any good arguments for it.


Let me throw you out of an airplane without the benefit of a parachute. Your limbic system will answer the question that your intellect can't. And that is as good as it gets in terms of meaning.

No, fear of death doesn't give it any meaning except if you have an argument why it would. People feel fear when in danger, maybe with time immortals would unlearn that (though they would probably still feel fear because the scenarios would still make them feel pain), so what? (And please just don't answer this if you don't intend to do it with an actual argument/explanation.)

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:26 pm UTC

The supposition that the only thing that makes life worth living is that life is finite is your anthropocentrism showing. We need more data, and so far all we have is a control group.
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:43 pm UTC

Cradarc wrote:Ucim and Gmalivuk,
I think your argument is that the only stable state is endless torture as time approaches infinity. Since there's no way you can be certain our current scientific knowledge of the far far distant future is accurate, that just seems like a pessimistic perspective of the future. It could just as well be that the endless future reaches a stable state of happiness for the consciousness.
The scientific consensus on the distant future is only pessimistic when you force eternal, eternally suffering humans into it. Without people continuously respawning and then suffocating, the prediction is completely neutral.

And if you're going to posit that maybe the afterlife is even worse, then I posit that maybe the afterlife is eternity in heaven for everyone, in which case the rational choice would be for everyone to kill themselves now.
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:06 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The supposition that the only thing that makes life worth living is that life is finite is your anthropocentrism showing. We need more data, and so far all we have is a control group.
You of course realize that you are talking out of both sides of your mouth don't you? :lol: The central conceit of this silliness is anthropocentrism. I mean human immortality, seriously? To meet the criteria for immortality we have pretty much tossed out the conservation of mass and energy, flushed entropy down the crapper, and opened the door to life after death. And PeteP wants me to put forth a coherent argument about drawing meaning from death? Really? :roll:

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby ucim » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:20 pm UTC

@Cradarc: (re: this)
I make no arguments about a "stable state". If you want to be simplistic (which it seems you do), I value joy slightly less than I abhor pain. In the present world, at least for me, joy exceeds pain. This is good. I like that. I want to live here.

In a world where the reverse is true, I suspect I would not want to live there.

Maximum intensity pain seems to exceed maximum intensity joy however. So it's really good that there are more instances of joy than pain.

Joy has diminishing returns after a point, since part of joy is novelty (as evidenced by the existance of boredom). That point is beyond one lifetime, so I would like longer life, in the short term. However, that point is not beyond many lifetimes. So, after some finite number, there will be a crossover.

Forever is after every finite number. All of them. Think of the biggest number you can. Now think of a bigger one. Double it. Ackerman-function it. BusyBeaver it. Double it again. You're still not even close to forever.

And yes, I assume death is oblivion. That's the basic premise of the OP. None of this "For all you know..." because then the question could be replaced by:

"I have a magic crystal. If you break it, something will happen to you forever. If you don't break it something else will happen to you forever. Do you break it?"

And no, I don't think death is what gives life value. Again, to be simplistic, life has value[to whom?] because in this world, joy > pain.

It seems to me that this question is a troll. It is certainly being developed as one, and not as a serious question in philosophy.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby Cradarc » Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:01 am UTC

Ucim,
You can't dismiss someone as a troll simply because they challenge the premise of your arguments.
I know full well what infinity is, so you don't have to explain it to me for the 100th time. I know full well that you value joy over pain. What I want to know is why you are so convinced that immortality will lead to more pain than joy while death will lead to oblivion.
Those two assumptions were definitely [ul]not[/ul] stated in the OP.
To me, life as an immortal is as unknown and uncertain as consciousness after death. This is because I do not have any experience with either of them. What I do know is that immortality will give me some more time to remain in control of my consciousness. It's quite possible that there will come a day where the world falls apart, but until that day, I will be able to do many things. In contrast, death is a relinquish of control over the state of my consciousness. Once I die, I have no influence over my joy/pain.

Under your argument, a person who believes their future will hold more pain than joy should commit suicide. If this claim is invalid, please tell me why.

Gmalivuk,
I think you misunderstood my point about pessimism. Science isn't pessimistic, but science also offers no conclusions. It just presents the best of idea of what we know now. The conclusions you drew from modern scientific predictions indicates pessimism.
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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby PeteP » Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:12 am UTC

Ucim already answered the oblivion part by stating that they don't believe in a soul. (No working brain=>no conciousness=>oblivion.)

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby ucim » Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:24 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:I know full well what infinity is...
You don't post like you do.

Cradarc wrote:What I want to know is why you are so convinced that immortality will lead to more pain than joy while death will lead to oblivion.
I already explained several times why I think immortality will lead to more pain than joy. And death===oblivion, unless you believe in God, souls, and the like, and there's no credible evidence for this. Consciousness after death is just... well... silly. I give it no credence whatsoever.

Cradarc wrote:Under your argument, a person who believes their future will hold more pain than joy should commit suicide.
Certainly trapped in a burning building and given the choice of dying in a fire and shooting myself, I'd pick the latter. Given a less clear-cut scenario, I'd temper it with my own uncertainty about my beliefs (and advise others given my own experiences). I've been through much pain and much joy, and during the pain it's often hard to make rational choices, because the joy is not appropriately perceived and valued. But in any case, the pain is finite, though it doesn't seem so when you're in it (a limitation of us finite beings).

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:50 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:Ucim,
You can't dismiss someone as a troll simply because they challenge the premise of your arguments.
I know full well what infinity is, so you don't have to explain it to me for the 100th time. I know full well that you value joy over pain. What I want to know is why you are so convinced that immortality will lead to more pain than joy while death will lead to oblivion.
Those two assumptions were definitely [ul]not[/ul] stated in the OP.

To me, life as an immortal is as unknown and uncertain as consciousness after death. This is because I do not have any experience with either of them. What I do know is that immortality will give me some more time to remain in control of my consciousness. It's quite possible that there will come a day where the world falls apart, but until that day, I will be able to do many things. In contrast, death is a relinquish of control over the state of my consciousness. Once I die, I have no influence over my joy/pain.


I would rather think that the whole point of raising this question in the first place is that it is at least possible, in principle, to extrapolate on what problems might arise from immortality given what we currently know about ourselves and about the universe as a whole. That's the whole point of entertaining the hypothetical. If you believe that it is impossible to be able to extrapolate in any sensible way what problems or advantages might arise from immortality, then it isn't clear to me why you bothered to propose the hypothetical in the first place.

ucim wrote:Joy has diminishing returns after a point, since part of joy is novelty (as evidenced by the existance of boredom). That point is beyond one lifetime, so I would like longer life, in the short term. However, that point is not beyond many lifetimes. So, after some finite number, there will be a crossover.


I think that the novelty problem here can be circumvented, as was noted earlier, by the fact that the hypothetical does not postulate that our memories are able to expand infinitely to retain all of these experiences. Given the fact that our brains can only hold a finite amount of information at any particular time, it rather follows that you will inevitably forget everything you have experienced an infinite number of times. You would also, presumably, slowly evolve through a similarly infinite number of personalities based on whatever memories that you happen to have had within the recent history of any particular moment in time. You would have the same body, but you wouldn't really be the same "person" in any particularly useful sense of the term.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jun 30, 2015 3:10 pm UTC

Cradarc wrote:What I want to know is why you are so convinced that immortality will lead to more pain than joy while death will lead to oblivion.
The opposite of joy is despair, not pain. The opposite to pain is pleasure. One moves you away from harm, the other moves you to things that you need. Eating gives you pleasure, not because eating is "good", but because you need to eat to live. Mary Poppins stated it well, "A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down". :lol: Given that you can't die neither would have much meaning. Pleasure and pain are defined by death, absent death they are just reminders of another life.

Joy and despair are emotions, reflecting how you feel about individual moments in you life. But joy and despair are measured against the extremes of your life, moments of success and failure, which are only special because they are limited by the time to achieve either. Given that you can't die and have unlimited time to achieve anything, it reduces the joy of achievement and the despair of failure. How could it be otherwise?
Cradarc wrote:In contrast, death is a relinquish of control over the state of my consciousness.
Once you die it no longer matters, if you don't believe in the afterlife. And if you do, then immortality strips you of the ability to achieve it. And you can understand oblivion. Edgar Allen Poe described sleep as,
“those little slices of death — how I loathe them.”

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby ucim » Tue Jun 30, 2015 3:26 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:The opposite of joy is despair, not pain. The opposite to pain is pleasure.
True enough. However that doesn't really matter to my point, because
morriswalters wrote: Pleasure and pain are defined by death
Pain hurts just as much whether death is in your future or not. The "meaning" of pain is irrelevant, the point is that pain hurts, and pleasure feels good.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:53 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Cradarc wrote:What I want to know is why you are so convinced that immortality will lead to more pain than joy while death will lead to oblivion.
The opposite of joy is despair, not pain. The opposite to pain is pleasure. One moves you away from harm, the other moves you to things that you need. Eating gives you pleasure, not because eating is "good", but because you need to eat to live. Mary Poppins stated it well, "A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down". :lol: Given that you can't die neither would have much meaning. Pleasure and pain are defined by death, absent death they are just reminders of another life.


Nonsense. My joy does not retroactively cease to be joyful because I do not later die. Causality moves one direction through time. And of course, both are measureable physiological responses, observable even in those who are very young, and do not yet really even understand death.

Defeating death does not defeat life.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:30 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Pain hurts just as much whether death is in your future or not.
Sure, but as I suggested earlier, if you respawn, and you can't be killed then why not have play gunfights where you really die. Or cut off peoples heads and hide around the corner and watch them sputter as they respawn. Want to get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Jump and respawn at the bottom. The point here is that pain is transient, and you never remember it the way it was, you only remember that it hurt.

PeteP asked me to explain to him how death defines your life. Death marks everything you do. You work first so you can eat and not starve to death, You have a place to live to shelter you against the elements that can kill you. You save in life so you can face your death with dignity. And pay doctors and quacks looking for cures that don't exist, and go broke trying to hold death off to the last possible moment. Even more amusing is that his question, given the point of this particular topic, is loaded with irony. :lol:

Tyndmyr wrote:Nonsense. My joy does not retroactively cease to be joyful because I do not later die.
morriswalters wrote:it reduces the joy of achievement and the despair of failure.
Respond to what I wrote, not what you think I wrote. I'm aware all the emotions would still exist. But what is joy when life goes on forever?

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby elasto » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:06 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I'm aware all the emotions would still exist. But what is joy when life goes on forever?

Speaking personally, happiness/satisfaction/joy comes from personal growth and achievement. So if I'm growing and achieving as an immortal being I will still be experiencing those emotions - because there are alternate infinite histories where I failed to grow or achieve the same things, and I will be aware of that possibility.

The issue comes if there is a limit to how much I can grow or achieve; Then boredom (or worse) will set in. But it may be possible for growth and achievement to increase without bounds, assuming the heat death of the universe can be avoided etc.

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Re: Should humans be allowed to live forever?

Postby Draconaes » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:05 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:PeteP asked me to explain to him how death defines your life. Death marks everything you do. You work first so you can eat and not starve to death, You have a place to live to shelter you against the elements that can kill you. You save in life so you can face your death with dignity. And pay doctors and quacks looking for cures that don't exist, and go broke trying to hold death off to the last possible moment. Even more amusing is that his question, given the point of this particular topic, is loaded with irony. :lol:


I don't think it's hard to replace death with pain in those examples and get pretty much the same end result in terms of human action and motivation. You work first so you can eat and not suffer the pain of starving. You have a place to live to shelter you against the elements that can cause pain to you. You pay doctors and quacks looking for cures to painful maladies. You said that any pain would be transitory, but it already is anyway. There's plenty of non-destructive, minimal-risk yet painful activities that many people still work hard to avoid. Life without death might not look so different in many senses.

That aside, perhaps you could argue that death gives life meaning or value under our current culture(s), but I don't think is is some objective valuation. Immortal humans might very well - and probably would - be quite alien to us culturally, but their lives might not have less meaning or value to themselves.


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