Add new comment

"Do you strive for immortality?"


"What does life after death look like for you? "


"How do you honor the past (people, actions, projects), and how do you want to be remembered?"

No! But I only contest the "honor" part. I remember people and things, fondly or not, I mourn losses. People will remember me however they do, I'm not concerned with that.

"How do we carry the past into the future in a way that liberates rather than dominates our sense of what's possible?"

The notion of linear time, causality and determinism, and conventional physics would imply that the future is always dominated or predetermined by the origin, the past cannot be retroactively altered by the future.

Memory (at least the squishy type of memory that happens in brains) carries the past into the future in a way, but it's imperfect, it degrades, it can be modified, erased, "refreshed".

Precedents can inform, but also box-in imagination.
The uses of memory can vary depending on priorities and criteria.
If the person values novelty, they can look at precedents in order to make iterations that differ from the precedents, so the sense of what's possible could be anything that hasn't been tried yet.
If the person is looking at precedents to evaluate the effectiveness of certain means towards certain ends, they will keep what worked and still works (if it ain't broke, don't fix it) and try to change what didn't and doesn't. So their sense of what's possible is expanded by increased capacity to do this or that (even if it's more of the same, or faster, etc), rather than by novelty. By development along a certain path of evolution, instead of a branching out into a different path.

Ignorance of precedents or history, lack of memory, means you don't base your choices on knowledge of the past, but you might still unknowingly repeat it. If a person seeks novelty, and they only have their personal immediate experience, then a lot of things will be new, vs someone with a long memory who has studied many precedents and experienced many. But is the "naive" person "freer" from prejudice? Is the learned person's sense of what's possible more dominated by the past, than the person who is ignorant of precedents or has no memory?

Seeing breadth of things that exist and have existed can sometimes provide with a greater variety of things than what someone could imagine (could a person imagine all the variety of organisms and landscapes that exist if they were raised and kept in a bare room all their lives?). But at the same time, what are the things that limit imagination, and what are the things that stimulate it?
Exercising imagination makes it strong, if all questions are answered by looking at precedents, then imagination atrophies, even if may it could be disputed that a given backlog, library, or database is more expansive than a person's particular imagination. A computer can also make many more iterations in quicker time.

So it's no wonder that people who are fans of information technology and technology in general find transhumanism and singularity with an A.I. appealing like a way to achieve "secular" immortality and omnipotence. Its opponents would argue against it as a form of domination and would argue towards no external memory keeping artifacts, no writing, no libraries, no graveyards.

"We act with the hope of inspiring someone in the future with communiques. We dissect projects and organizations that have left this world and actions that have had their moment, memorializing them with the hope of educating future rebels. We tell stories about those who have left us and break windows in their names in the hope they won’t be forgotten, and perhaps hope our friends, children, and strangers we inspire will do the same for us."

This speaks of transference of information: cultural, programmatic, genetic. If the law of conservation is true, none of the material components are lost, but all of the stories are.