RE: Many Pasts? Not according to QM...

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2005 09:20:55 -0700 (PDT)

Stathis Papaioannou writes:
> I don't see how this follows. I can't even imagine what it might mean to get
> "higher benefit" from higher measure days. What I assumed Hal meant was that
> on even days his total measure was higher, so that double the usual number
> of versions of Hal were generated in other branches of the multiverse, who
> would go on to have separate and distinct lives. Aiming for more good
> experiences on even days would then be an altruistic thing for Hal to do,
> since it would result in greater happiness in the multiverse as a whole. If,
> instead, it was more like my example, where a copy of Hal's mind is run on a
> computer in lockstep with his biological mind on even days, and the computer
> switched off on odd days, then what possible difference could it make to Hal
> or anyone else, given what we have just said about the definition of an OM?

To clarify, I did indeed mean the equivalent of this latter case,
where by some means on even numbered days I had more measure, and
on odd numbered days my measure was then reduced to a lower amount.
This might be done as you say by running a computer in lockstep with my
mind on even days and shutting it off on odd days, if you accept that
doing so will increase the measure of the even days.

My message is at .

The argument is fundamentally that creating a bunch of good experiences is
better than creating a bunch of bad ones. Shutting the computer down doesn't
matter. That just means that the good experiences won't be remembered. But
they were still real, they were still experienced.

After all, many people believe our own lives are finite in extent and
that after we die we will have no more memories of our lives. But they
(mostly) don't conclude from that that it is irrelevant whether people
suffer or experience pleasure. Even finite lives deserve to be as happy
as possible. This is true whether they last for one day or 100 years.

And worse, almost all of the moments of our lives are forgotten within
days if not minutes. Most moments make essentially no impact on our
memories. We can't remember what it felt like to brush our teeth on
February 9. Yet, even knowing this, we still try to make our lives as
pleasant and comfortable as we can. Even though we would have known
(had we thought about it) as we were brushing our teeth that day, that we
would not remember that moment, that it would soon be forgotten as surely
as if we had never lived it, we would still try to make the experience
as pleasant and non-painful as possible.

All these examples are meant to show that we act as though we care about
giving good experiences even though we know they will be forgotten and
not have lasting impact. If we extend that principle more generally,
I think it follows that we should try to have good experiences on days
when we have high measure.

Hal Finney
(Note that there are two Hals on this list)
Received on Thu Jun 02 2005 - 13:15:21 PDT

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