Edgar of all trades

Master of all

Lunch time at work is such a weird time for me. Weird in the sense that the kinds of conversations we end up having, the coworkers and I, tend to be strange. One particular coworker remarked once “I wonder what it feels like to be shot.” He then went on to try and expand that and add scenarios of how to safely do it, and where on the body would be best to both feel the “full impact” and safest too. Myself and some of the others tried to get him to explain why the fascination and I even tried getting him to at least downgrade to a knife.

Later he said he had said it because we were quiet for 5 seconds too long and he did not like awkward silences. I guess he prefers awkward conversations over silence.

This leads me to today. Lunch time. I don’t know why it was said or asked, one train of though or another lead another coworker to pose an interesting question, which I answered right away and he then debated to no end.

He asked, “If you could create a genetic clone of yourself, then imprint it with an exact digital copy of your mind, then you died, did you really die?” to which I responded, “Yes.” without hesitation. “But he is you in every way.”

His question was about eternal life. The ability to preserve the mind digitally and perfectly.

I’m sorry, but death is death. For me, if you could physically move my brain onto another body, or stop entropy, THEN we can talk. He went on to use the perspective defense… say we have Edgar and cloneEdgar. Edgar dies but no one knows about it. For anyone else who experiences cloneEdgar, I haven’t died yet. But wait, I did die. Just because someone doesn’t know about it doesn’t make it not true!

YES, a tree DOES make a sound if it falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it!!!! What are you STUPID!?!?!?

I’ve suddenly delved into the existentialism realm. Drank its clear tasty Kool-Aid. Swam in the tenderness of its caress. For what is death really? “the permanent end of all life functions in an organism or part of an organism;” or “Death is the termination of the biological functions that define a living organism. It will eventually afflict all living things. Death refers both to a particular event and to the condition that results thereby.” but when there is, in essence, a new instance of me out there, for all purposes is me and can basically be indistinguishable from me aside from the cellular life-table (I made this word up) since it was just recently created while I was born and grew up, but still… if I die, while another me is around, do I really die?

Yes. Yes I die. See, for when if there ARE two of me and the other me is next to me, we’re not even breathing the exact same air. This means that his experiences are already different from mine and that means that he is not me. My head’s about to explode.

My thinking is that even though both me’s have within them the exact same experiences and are genetically identical, our thought will not be exactly the same. We’ll think alike and get to the same conclusions, but things will be different for the both of us. Our own interactions will make our experiences unequal and ultimately change us drastically enough that we’d be two different people.

This tells me that if I died but clone me was around to continue the me for everyone else, my death still matters. This me would cease to exist. He would be alive and kicking and have all my memories and experiences but is he really me? Kinda. But no.

Does anyone else have any thoughts about this? I hope so. Write it up below.

Short URL: http://is.gd/WhatIsDeath

Posted in Blog | 3 Comments »

3 Responses

  1. Remy Says:

    Hmm pretty sure I’ve had that shooting conversation before. And yes, I was the one wondering what being shot would feel like.

    Your clone would only be you if it was grown brain-free, for your brain to be moved into upon your death. Which I would totally have done if it was possible. But then you’d have people getting more and more paranoid about dying accidentally when they have no clone to move into, and brain diseases. Not to mention the ethical debate involve. I reckon it would ultimately cause the collapse of society. Maybe.

    I also don’t believe that it would be at all possible for your clone to have identical thought patterns to you – inevitably he would make a different choice, which then pans out to an infinite number of other different choices.

    I do have this weird idea that everytime I get into a situation in which I could possibly die (way too often), an alternate reality branches off wherein I DO die, but I don’t know it…so perhaps we actually never die from our own perspective. Okay, I guess that’s just REALLY wishful thinking (or the ramblings of a crazy person).

    Homm, now I’m going to be thinking about this all day at work, dammit.

  2. lindaj Says:

    I teach in a middle school so we talk about farting and pooping. at lunch.

  3. Chris Feyrer Says:

    Wow Edgar, in this post you’ve actually captured the plot of a great novel I’ve read, “Mindscan”, by Robert J Sawyer, an author I follow, who created the book “Flash Forward”, on which the television series was based. You will definitely want to check it out!
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/580196.Mindscan

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