A disembodied mind could be an immortal mind.
I want to have my mind uploaded before dementia sets in. Then all that data to be downloaded into a computer. I would be happy to be without a body. Would actually prefer for my mind to be disembodied. I could live inside a computer. People could download an App if they want to access me, interact with me. I could have an online blog/website where I continue to post my thoughts and whatnot. I could have instant access to all the information on the Net. Could download it instantly into my hard drive—me. Wow. I am getting excited just thinking about the possibilities.
One benefit to being disembodied, would be the absence of physical pain. And, I'd argue, psychic pain as well. Because, how much suffering that occurs in the mind, is necessitated by having a body? Doesn't depression start as an organic process inside the brain? What about schizophrenia? Aren't these diseases of the physical brain structure itself? Surely it is not due to faulty thinking by a mind with free will. Brain misfirings limit free will, causing irrational thinking, delusions, anxiety, and depression. A brain without organic matter, such as one that acts like a program inside a computer, would be free of these misfirings. Psychic suffering could be rendered non-existent as well. Even grief would no longer have to exist, because loss would not have to manifest. If my loved ones' minds were immortal as well, then no relationship would have to end—unless by choice. Suffering could become a thing of the past. Even animals would be relieved of suffering. They would not be used by humans—for anything. Would animals then become irrelevant to human life? Would we still want them around? Maybe for aesthetic reasons alone? Who would take care of the earth if we all lived in computers? And who would take care of us? Would a group of mortal humans need to stick around to keep us running smoothly—in tip top shape? Maybe we'd all start out as embodied caretakers of other minds. Then we'd become disembodied—immortalized once we reach a certain age. Perhaps some of us would produce caretakers—our caretakers—before we become disembodied. Overpopulation would not be an issue, as life as a computer program would not require much space or resources—no food, water, transportation, clothing, or personal shelter needed.
What about pleasure? Would we have to give that up?
Would we then be unable to feel pleasure? Would pleasure even be missed in the absence of pain? How does a brain without a body feel pleasure? Do I feel pleasure when I learn new information because endorphins are released in my brain—bathing it in serotonin and dopamine? Or is something else going on? Why am I excited, happy, and high when a quest for information materializes? Are endorphins being released, making the payoff feel good? Knowledge seems intrinsically valuable—to the mind. I don't seem to need a reward for learning something new? The reward is learning itself, right? Or is it? Is this just an illusion?Are some brains rewarded by feel-good endorphins which cause pleasurable sensations in the brain—making them feel that they are craving knowledge? Are information junkies really endorphin junkies? Would an inorganic brain without endorphins still be motivated to learn? Or is it a system of punishment and reward? Could a brain be made to crave information without an organic reward? Is having information and knowledge what makes a mind so wonderful? Or is it the drive for knowledge, that is the real beauty of it? Are the ends (knowledge) irrelevant? And the means (drive), where the wonder, magic, and value reside? What is a beautiful mind, anyhow? Its ability and desire to learn, or the information it contains? Or both? I say both.
What motivates us?
Why are some people so driven to learn, while others are not? An example might be a skilled athlete who is driven to master his athleticism—push his abilities to their limits, extremes—but has little interest in reading, writing, or discussing ideas. Perhaps only an intellectual could entertain the notion of, and desire for, their mind to be housed in a computer for all eternity—to be disembodied—where it could learn at rapid speed and acquire an endless supply of information and knowledge. Is this something that is utterly undesirable to an athlete, whose body itself is the vehicle—the means to the end— to pleasure? What if there were no pleasure endorphins at all? Would a mind want to think? A body want to move? Maybe technology would render pleasure possible in a disembodied mind—even one which was 100% inorganic. Electrical impulses, perhaps?
What about you?
Are you an intellectual? Do you place thinking at a premium? Ever refer to yourself as an information junkie? Would you rather learn than eat, make love, or take a walk? Do you want to live inside a computer too? Email me. I think we could be great friends.
Companion piece: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste
From 2005: Mind Transferring
Ray Kurzweil — Immortality by 2045
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