RE: why is death painful?

From: Higgo James <>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999 10:02:28 +0100

Nicely clarified Hal. But we CAN increase our genes' measure, both by taking
steps to avoid death, AND by procreating furiosly - i.e. by doing precisely
what our genes urge us to do.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 1999 7:25 AM
> To:;
> Subject: Re: why is death painful?
> Wei Dai, <>, writes:
> > Evolution must have had two "choices" when it programmed our brains to
> > make decisions as they relate to death. It could have made death or
> > circumstances leading to death painful and made us avoid actions that
> lead
> > to the subjective experience of pain, or it could have made us consider
> > the effect of each of our potential actions on our measure and avoid
> > actions that lead to a decrease in measure. Apparently it chose the
> > former, presumably because it's easier for evolution to accomplish. But
> > because of this our genes are now in trouble because we have found ways
> to
> > kill ourselves painlessly.
> It might make more sense to consider evolution working on genes rather
> than individuals. Genes are not only evolved to keep their measure
> from decreasing, but they evolve to increase their measure if possible
> (considering a gene as an information pattern which is instantiated in
> each organism which carries it).
> > So what does this mean for us? Since subjective decision making is a
> > legacy of our evolutionary past, and can be shown to be less general
> than
> > objective decision making, it should no longer be used. Therefore, QS
> > advocates will have to come up with a new justification for ignoring
> one's
> > measure. I don't think there is one. That doesn't mean one should care
> > about one's measure, just that there is no reason why one shouldn't.
> Over time, if we switch from genes to minds as the units of evolution,
> then we would expect minds which attempt to increase their measure (and
> prevent its decrease) would become more prevalent. Those which are
> convinced by quantum suicide arguments are like genes which have given
> up trying to reproduce; quickly removed from the pool. (Of course in
> an everything universe there are still some survivors off in a corner
> somewhere.)
> If we're not going to ignore our measure, then we seem to have an
> obligation to increase it rather than just keep it from decreasing.
> Presently there is not much we can do about it (especially if the units
> are observer-moments); perhaps recording our thoughts in great detail so
> that future technology can resurrect and replay them would be partially
> effective. Alternatively, working to advance technologies for reading
> brain states and emulating them on computers might be our best bet to
> increase our measure.
> If we don't spend our time doing such things, isn't this almost as bad
> as accepting quantum suicide?
> Hal
Received on Tue Jun 08 1999 - 01:59:11 PDT

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