RE: Amoeba croaks -

From: Higgo James <>
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 12:08:28 -0000

Hi, Bruno.

Many thanks for your detailed reply. Of course you are right that it is
trivial to say that we will not experience death. But I think we need to be
clear that classical probability is merely the way we perceive the
relationship between universes in MWI. I am grasping at an idea that the
very definition of consciousness is such that to be conscious now means that
your consciousness is unbounded in time... but it will take more time for my
consciousness to formulate that idea coherently.

I like your idea about genes losing to memes. It will be one hell of a
battle. Once you are downloaded onto a more robust platform - presumably
the mechanism by which consciousness is immortal - you will not be striving
to replicate yourself. However the remaining gene machines will be doing so
with tooth and claw.

The thesis is impressive and the images came out perfectly. My French is
lousy but is C.2.3 not Max's experiment? Did you think of it first,
simultaneously, or later? I look forward, anxiously, to the English version.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Marchal []
> Sent: 13 January 1999 10:49
> To: Higgo James
> Cc: ''
> Subject: RE: Amoeba croaks -
> Hi James,
> >But surely, then, Bruno, you also wonder about the issue of whether we
> will
> >ever experience death.
> Well ... I do thing that nobody experience (absolute, first person)
> death. Because either we survive clinical (3d person) death, in which
> case we do not experience death, or we don't survive clinical death, in
> which case we do not experience death because to make an experience you
> must survive it ! (Disappointing answer I guess, it doesn't depend on MWI
> or Mechanism). Topologically, time-life is open, we cannot experience the
> border of life.
> > I reiterate what I discussed with Max above: no
> >matter how 'dirty the tunnel', there will always be subsequent branches
> in
> >which your brain regenerates fully. Can you shed any light on this issue?
> OK James, I can try. As Hal Finney put it, it is a question of
> (conditionnal) measure. Suppose you jump out of the window which is just
> 5 meter high. In that case, the probability you will survive is rather
> high. The probability you will be wounded will be rather high too.
> Nevertheless, the probability you will recover is not very high. I mean
> it is just a classical probability.
> The problem with the "dirty tunnel" is the fact that you survive in bad
> shape. And once you have survived, probabilities are classical. And,
> although you are right in saying that there will be subsequent branching
> in which you will recover fully, you cannot take that into account
> because your expectation for that personnal recovering is very low.
> ... Unless you reiterate the quantum suicide. But here, the problem is
> that you are taking the risk to find yourself in a so bad shape that you
> will not be able to reiterate the suicide. In that case, you will be
> stuck (for example paralysed) in a universe, perhaps for a very long
> time.
> For the long run you are surely (with Mechanism or with MWI) making a
> point.
> >Another point - committing suicide is always going to be against your
> >genetic program as your genes act as if they wanted their structure to
> >appear in as many universes as possible. Form their point of view it is
> >better to have you arbitrarily unhappy but existing than to have you
> >decompose.
> I think it is plausible that in most futurs the genes will lose the
> battle against other form of memes. We can hope that earth will at least
> be used as a kind of carbon-life and genes museum. But most practical
> computationnalist will explore the multiverse by exchanging their
> expensive carbon based body for radio-waves and silicon hardware. From
> OUR point of view it is better to be happy without genes than unhappy
> with genes ...
> >Bruno, please e-mail your PhD thesis ASAP! I am due to start a PhD in the
> >philosophy of quantum physics next year - developing the idea that in the
> >block universe everything possible exists, so mechanism is one valid way
> of
> >looking at things but not the only - and would be very interested to see
> >what you have written.
> I am indeed convinced that mechanism is not the only way to look at
> things. The beauty of mechanism is that with mechanism, it is even
> necessarily so. I mean mechanism entails the consistency of
> non-mechanism. A little like the fact that consistency of arithmetic
> entails the consistency of the non consistency of arithmetic ( a form of
> second Godel's theorem).
> I have put the thesis on my web page. You can load it at
> The file is pdf. I am not sure all figures will be nicely printed. The
> web pages has been created yesterday.
> Sorry but I have been obliged to write the thesis in french (with the
> "loi Toubon").
> The thesis (a new version of it) will be published by Grasset in France.
> English papers will be available on my page ASAP.
> Thanks for your interest.
> Bruno
Received on Wed Jan 13 1999 - 04:15:55 PST

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