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Thread: Would you teleport yourself?

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    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ Deckard's Avatar
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    Would you teleport yourself?

    There's a teleportation machine that deconstructs your body and reconstructs it somewhere else. Would you use it?

    If you answer "no", how do you propose that the self before a loss of consciousness (for instance, who you were before you went to sleep yesterday) is meaningfully the same as your current self?

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    Member Penguinhunter's Avatar
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    I guess we are assuming that there is no risk of a "transporter accident" and that the machine can't be used to make a bunch of clones, right?

    Actually, I think the question you pose pushes us towards a kind of rigid materialist stance one what it is to be an individual - that the body is a bunch of legos that we can disassemble and reassemble. But when we get down to the smallest legos, what is "the body" and can we actually teleport it at all? It seems to me that there are probably insurmountable quantum-level challenges. What happens when we measure the quantum state of the body's many particles before teleportation? I don't want my quantum states disrupted! And what about all the moving parts? Is there a Heisenberg compensator?

    If we can get past those quantum obstacles, I also think it's important to recognize that our practices change us. So, the question becomes not so much whether it's the same me on the other end, but rather how I change as a result of using this technology on an ongoing basis. It is definitely not like going to sleep every night!

    In conclusion: Hell yeah! Let's compensate some Heisenbergs!

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    I wouldn't. I think it would cause your death. It seems to me that if you could disassemble all your atoms and then reassemble them again, whatever made you you, will disappear in the deconstruction. How could it exist? I believe the reconstructed "you" will have exactly the same memories and everything. So it will believe it's you, and believe it is the same you as existed before. There would be no break in memories. But you've already ceased to exist.

    If a teleportation device could function by simply making a copy of you, by gathering up all the correct elements and placing them in the same configuration as exist within you, would you control both beings? I think obviously not. So why would you continue to exist in the reconstructed version of yourself?

    However, I find it interesting to consider how (I think this is true) all of the cells in our body are regularly replaced, yet we continue to exist as a continuous experience of consciousness. Are we the same entity that occupied this body two years ago, or do we just think that because we took over all the memories of having existed then. I think we probably are the same entity. I don't think it quite works for it to not be the case.

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deckard View Post
    There's a teleportation machine that deconstructs your body and reconstructs it somewhere else. Would you use it?

    If you answer "no", how do you propose that the self before a loss of consciousness (for instance, who you were before you went to sleep yesterday) is meaningfully the same as your current self?
    I wouldn't. But not for reasons of self-ness exactly. I'm comfortable with the idea that my body is ultimately a form of Theseus' ship, and that gradually all the matter in my body from one moment, will be replaced by wholly different given enough time, but I accept that continuous existence is an illusion, just as animation is an illusion of motion. The change in bodily integrity is so gradual that it all seems continuous in spite of plenty of evidence to contrary. We chalk it up to aging and maturing but we could just as readily explain these changes as the result of being different people over time.

    Consequently, I don't have too much concern about the loss of self in terms of the specific bits of matter that are currently me.

    What I do have a problem with, is the idea of feeling myself being torn to my constituent atoms. That sounds really painful. If you take your snapshot just before you begin, you can hide that by not including the memories formed by the dismantling process, but that won't mean it didn't happen and that those last few moments weren't utterly horrifying.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

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    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    I'd have to observe a few teleportations before deciding.

    Also, I'm not entirely certain that consciousness arises from matter...or why it would arise from matter...I mean, there are funky ponderings to be had there to say the least.

    ...but alas, these ponderings would be necessary in advance of any decision making...and of course, observation of the machine at work would fuel the ponderings and likely steer their course in significant ways.

    ...I like this question because it reminds me of The Prestige.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

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    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ Deckard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarydoor View Post
    Are we the same entity that occupied this body two years ago, or do we just think that because we took over all the memories of having existed then. I think we probably are the same entity. I don't think it quite works for it to not be the case.
    What doesn't quite work? The concept of self? This sounds a little like an argument from consequences:

    The Argument from Consequences (also, Outcome Bias) The major fallacy of arguing that something cannot be true because if it were the consequences or outcome would be unacceptable. (E.g., "Global climate change cannot be caused by human burning of fossil fuels, because if it were, switching to non-polluting energy sources would bankrupt American industry," or "Doctor, that's wrong! I can't have terminal cancer, because if I did that'd mean that I won't live to see my kids get married!") Not to be confused with Actions have Consequences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deckard View Post
    What doesn't quite work? The concept of self? This sounds a little like an argument from consequences:
    No, I think the idea that the consciousness I experience now, is perhaps "owned" by something different to the owner of last year's consciousness, "doesn't work" because I can't seem to reconcile how that continuity of experience could work, if my consciousness is constantly being passed on every time my atoms/whatever rearrange. This is a concept which confuses me, and I'm not quite decided upon. But it seems to be "a problem" for me to acknowledge at this moment that I exist, but then to simultaneously believe that in one year or so, I will not exist because my cells etc have rearranged. So I believe that I have a continuous experience of existing, despite the things in my body being replaced regularly.

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    a fool on a journey pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    Hell yes I would teleport myself. Even more hells to that yes if the outcome would be uncertain. I could be that guy who got turned inside out in the early days! A living legend. I bet they'd give you a full medical retirement after that, assuming you survived. And if I survived, think of the completely new experiences I might have. I don't mean living as an inside out person, I mean stuff like having my living, conscious brain duplicated in a way where I could communicate with a copy of myself. I would give my life for that experience, no question.

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    凸(ಠ_ರೃ )凸 stuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deckard View Post
    There's a teleportation machine that deconstructs your body and reconstructs it somewhere else. Would you use it?

    If you answer "no", how do you propose that the self before a loss of consciousness (for instance, who you were before you went to sleep yesterday) is meaningfully the same as your current self?
    Need more info. I'm not gonna fling myself through any random teleportation machine.

    Also, your brain is doing a lot of work in your sleep, it's not any kind of hard reset. DMT however...

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    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ Deckard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarydoor View Post
    No, I think the idea that the consciousness I experience now, is perhaps "owned" by something different to the owner of last year's consciousness, "doesn't work" because I can't seem to reconcile how that continuity of experience could work, if my consciousness is constantly being passed on every time my atoms/whatever rearrange. This is a concept which confuses me, and I'm not quite decided upon. But it seems to be "a problem" for me to acknowledge at this moment that I exist, but then to simultaneously believe that in one year or so, I will not exist because my cells etc have rearranged. So I believe that I have a continuous experience of existing, despite the things in my body being replaced regularly.
    Perhaps we can distil the concept of self down to the experience of existing. As soon as we frame it in terms of "I have the experience of existing", we introduce a distinct entity, "I", which is in some way independent from the experience of existing. I don't think this distinction is justified. So then, does it matter which set of atoms the experience of existing emerges from?

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