Andy Weir, the author of The Martian (soon to become a movie), also wrote a delightful short story about Open Individualist resurrection. Highly recommended.
The Martian is a science fiction novel by Andy Weir, which follows an American astronaut stranded on Mars. The novel was first self-published in digital format and then published in print by Crown in February 2014. A film based on the novel, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, will be released in October.
After reading the first reviews I wasn’t too inclined to read The Martian because I tend to find a mere trip to Mars too pedestrian – I want to read about advanced aliens roaming the stars as uploads on a computronium substrate, superintelligent AIs maybe just a bit evil, intelligent life at the Omega Point and that sort of things.
But when I started reading I couldn’t put the book down – it’s a real page turner. Astronaut Mark Watney is thought dead in a sandstorm and marooned on Mars by his crew-mates, and must find ways to survive years until the next mission comes. The story alternates between the points of view of Mark, his fellow crew members still en-route to Earth, and the NASA scientists and admins back on Earth. The other main character of the story is Murphy’s Law, which strikes whenever it gets a chance.
Searching for Weir I found a very short, delightful story about resurrection from an Open Individualist perspective.
In his book “I Am You: The Metaphysical Foundations for Global Ethics,” Daniel Kolak proposes the metaphysics (and practical philosophy) of Open Individualism: every consciousness is fundamentally the same, and we are all the same person. For more on Open Individualism read my essay “You Am Us” on The Transfigurist, the shorter version here, and of course Kolak’s book .
Andy Weir’s short story is titled “The Egg.” The story is so short that a summary would be longer than the story, so please just read it here. The page has links to translations in many languages, provided by enthusiastic volunteers.
Open Individualism is a way of thinking that grows on you, and after some practice you may find that it’s trivially true. Open Individualism as a practical philosophy can make an important positive difference in our lives. If you think that other people are you, you will not harm them, because you would be harming yourself. On the contrary, you will be kind and compassionate to them – to all other instances of you. God says that, in Weir’s story.
Since I started to practice Open Individualist thinking I find Martine Rothblatt’s ideas on “soft uploading” via mindfiles more plausible.
According to Martine Rothblatt and William Sims Bainbridge, we can build a “mindfile” with diaries, blogs, pictures, videos, answers to personality tests, etc. in such a way as to create over the years a large database of personal information, hoping that future “mindware” technology may be able to bring the information in the database to life as a valid continuation (from both objective and subjective points of view) of the original person.
My main objection used to be that building a mindfile sufficiently rich to capture a human personality, memories, thoughts, feelings, dreams, hopes, fears etc. would take more than a lifetime.
Then I realized that incomplete mindfiles can be completed with information available in the cloud.
Now I realize that, if Kolak is right (and I find it almost difficult to see how he could be wrong), everyone is a parallel you and every future person will be a future you, so that a future AI / soft upload powered by your mindfile will be a future version of you (everyone is) able to recall your memories, and that is a totally acceptable form of personal resurrection.
Image from Pixabay.