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The resurrection problem


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#1 OP2040

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 03:26 PM

Hi all,

I often contemplate a lot of the issues that would come up if we actually did defeat aging, mainly because I think we definitely will at some point.  I also like to have all my bases covered, which is why I've contemplated the idea of resurrection, given that I probably will age and die. 


It doesn't really matter what resurrection means for this thought experiment, but I suppose most people here would view it through cryogenics.


Anyway, here is the dilemma.  Most of us want to defeat aging because it involves so much suffering and loss.   Personally, I am fine with death, as in the after-death state.  Like many people, I view it as a welcome relief from the many problems of life. 


So therein lies the problem.  Why would a rational person with my beliefs go all the way through the aging process, experience death, and then be resurrected.  At this point, I've already confronted and gone through the worst part, so why bother? 


This actually has practical implications for people who may be contemplating cryogenics.  Thoughts?  Different perspective?

#2 Xenthide

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Posted 26 April 2018 - 05:08 PM

Is this really a dilemma? I surmise from your post that the idea of being resurrected just does not interest you very much, so the answer to your question of why you would, or should, bother, is that there is no reason, and you presumably wouldn't.


I don't think anyone interested in life extension technology, or, indeed, technological resurrection believes it should be compulsory. The ideal outcome of this technology would be that death would become a choice rather than an involuntary and sometimes (but not always) unwelcome but inevitable event. Some people will no doubt choose to live out a normal range of 100 years or so, and then die happy, while others will want to keep going for longer. Either option is surely OK and people will have different reasons for doing both, but this should be a personal choice.


I would also disagree somewhat with a a few or your assumptions. Firstly, efforts to slow or stop ageing are not the same as efforts to defeat death, although the latter can be reasonably assumed to be the endpoint outcome of successes made in pursuit of the first goal. Ageing, whether or not the aged person eventually dies, typically is a process with many of it's own challenges, so the fact that you (or anyone, for example) is OK with death does not necessarily mean that they will be OK with the gradual decay of their biological body, in whatever way this happens - and, often, even despite the best efforts of the ageing person, their body's own particular method of decay will be largely predetermined by genetic factors, and will throw up some unwelcome surprises no matter how healthy they thought they were while they were young.


As far as defeating death itself - while it may be true that some people don't want to die because of a fear of death, and even, it may be arguable that at some level this is the only reason to try not to die, whether technologically or otherwise - there are other more positive reasons, either sheer curiosity at what the future holds, a desire to keep indulging in the pleasures of life as long as possible, or even altruistic reasons if you believe you can contribute more to the lives of others and to the world if you live longer. Additionally, I do not really think that any mature anti-ageing, anti-death technologies of the future really need to be considered in a separate light to the medicines we have today. In essence, it is surely the goal of all medicine to prolong life, and any future technologies towards this end fall under the same umbrella.


You ask why someone would choose to be resurrected, but presumably, if you had a heart attack or drowned in a freak accident and were clinically dead, you would want any medical professionals who were able to attempt to revive you as long as there was a possibility you might survive. Equally, in a hypothetical future society where life-extension technology is commonplace, you would probably not refuse treatment if a routine medical examination flagged an early warning sign for a serious and progressive degenerative disease...

Or perhaps you would! The human species are a hugely varied bunch and even today people refuse modern medical treatment for conditions that they will not otherwise recover from, for a whole host of reasons. Some of these reasons, arguably are conditions which may be treatable themselves, but others may be quite valid and considered, even if they don't make sense to anyone else. However again, I don't think anyone would argue that humans should not have the right to die... only that we should have the right to choose, when, how and eventually even IF we die.

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#3 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 03:01 PM

Consider this...


Assuming the worst case scenario for those of us who do want to live a very very long time, but unfortunately don't make it for any particular reason (accident, life extension tech not advancing quickly enough, etc) - Once the AI singularity allows us to understand "all" of time/space/consciousness we can go back to any point in time/space/multi-verse and simply ask you if you want to go on.  Those who do are "whisked away" to the future...whatever that means in this scenario.


Hell, for all we know that is happening now in such a manner that we don't see it - it may be that in the future we simply laugh at people in the past (us now) freezing their heads.  "Those simpletons! don't they realize we just grab their minds at the moment of death in the past and transfer them to a new brain?"


Think about that for a moment!

Edited by SteampunkScientist, 10 January 2019 - 03:01 PM.

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