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Silvachief

Would You Sacrifice Yourself For Another You?

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Hey there everyone. I'm working on a series of posts for my blog that ask some philosophical questions that i'd like to share with you all. They all revolve around the concept of how you would react to finding out another version of yourself exists that needs your help, though that help comes in the form of your own sacrifice.

 

This person, despite being you, is more or less a stranger. Do you owe them anything? What if they were an earlier version of you and you had the opportunity to make their life better, even if your own life would cease to exist because of it? Is their happiness worth your sacrifice?

 

I'm posting this here because i'm genuinely interested in what you all have to say, but I would also like to post some of your responses on my blog as well, so it would be awesome if you could indicate whether or not you want your thoughts to be included. Post as much or as little as you like; I want to collect as many opinions as possible.

 

To focus discussion i've written a short scenario for you. There'll be more involving other situations in the future if you guys enjoy this first one. Also, if you guys think another dimension should be added to this scenario for when I actually post it, please let me know!

 

Scenario A

 

Waking up in an unfamiliar room, you survey the scene around you. You’re not entirely sure how you got there, nor where you even are or what your name is. A man in a white coat enters and suddenly it hits you: this is a hospital. You discover that you’ve taken a blow to your head and have lost your memory. The doctor goes on to explain that your case of amnesia is a special one and that they have a new treatment that will allow you to regain your memory instantly; all you have to do is sign the consent form.

“But wait,” You ask, ‘What will happen to the me that I am now? Will I forget? Will I just disappear?”

 The doctor can’t, or perhaps won’t, answer your question.

 

Do you sign?

Or do you take this life for yourself?

 

Sensing your distress, the doctor folds up the consent form and places it in your shirt pocket.

“Take some time to think about it,” He says, “In the meantime your…or rather, his family is here to see you.”

 As the doctor finishes speaking a young girl enters the room, tears in her eyes as she dashes toward you.

“I was so worried!” She says, her voice hoarse. “I didn’t know what I was gonna do if something really terrible had happened! With Mom and Dad gone…you’re the only one I have left…”

She goes to bury her face in your chest, looking hurt when you jump back in surprise. You’ve never met this girl before, yet you seem to be very important to her.

 

Does the form in your pocket feel heavy?

Does the fact that whether this girl loses her last remaining family member lies entirely within your hands weigh it down?

 

It’s been an entire year now since you woke up. Your first birthday, as it were. Somehow you’ve managed to insert yourself into your body’s previous owner’s life. People attribute any differences to the shock of your head injury; it takes a long time to recover from these things, they tell themselves. As you leave your room and head for the shower, careful not to wake his sister in the next room over, the phone rings. It’s the doctor.

“While you might not believe me when I say this, we’ve developed a new treatment which will return your old memories while retaining your new ones. I know you hesitated the first time round, but now we can get you back to normal without any side effects!”

You’ve kept that consent form with you ever since that day as a constant reminder of the life you’re borrowing. Wait…borrowing? Is that really how you feel about it?

 

How do you feel now? Is that form burning a hole in your pocket or are you just about ready to throw it away? The opportunity has arisen for the creation of a third version of yourself. Is it the best of both worlds, or yet another stranger with a claim to your body?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Scenario B

 

December 20th, 2013. Having just returned home after a long day out, you sit down in front of the computer to check your emails. Before you’ve had a chance to read anything, though, your screen turns black. You curse as you begin to search for what’s gone wrong, before flinching back in surprise as your screen flares to life with a crackle of electricity. Squinting, you are surprised to see that your familiar desktop isn’t what’s on display. What’s even more surprising however, is that a strangely familiar-looking figure features centre-screen. And what’s more, your distinctly 2D monitor has begun to display brilliant 3D images. The figure in front of your screen speaks.

“Listen, I know you must be surprised right now, but we haven’t got much time.”

The figure goes on to explain that they are you from the future. Their comprehensive knowledge of every embarrassing moment you’ve ever experienced convinces you.

“There’s something I need you to do for me.” They continue. “X is at stake. You’re the only one that can Y and fix things. I’ve taken too long – it’s in your hands now.”

Sparks fly from your monitor as the figure winks out of existence, smoke soon following. You weren’t able to ask any of the questions you wanted to, though you’re sure that what just happened is real.

 

Do you trust this person, this you from the future? Would exactly how far in the future they were from make a difference to this?

If you did trust them, would you comply with what they wanted?

 

If affected your personal life? A stranger you hadn’t met yet? Your friends and/or family? The world?

 

If Y was simple but time-consuming? If it required you to stop working/studying to devote your full attention to it? If it required you to harm another person or group of people? If it required you to harm yourself?

 

While the other you was in a hurry, you still have time to think about all of this and have continued with your normal life. In the middle of the day as you walk down the street, pondering this new development, you hear someone calling your name. Looking up, you notice someone waving at you from a nearby café. As you approach you realise it’s a distinctly older version of the person that contacted you the other day. After the initial amazement of really meeting oneself wears off, the future you explains that, many years after contacting you the first time, they managed to develop real time travel, and so here they are. They realise that what they asked you to do may have been hard to accept, so they’re here to complete the job personally. They thought it was only fair that they warn you, though they also stress that they will not tolerate you getting in their way.

 

Thinking back to what future you requested, does meeting yourself in the flesh change how you feel about it?

If you agree with what must be done, do you help them?

If you disagree, do you stop them, even if it means ending their life?

 

For this scenario you need to pick your own X and Y. They can be one of the examples i've provided or something of your own concoction. Also, feel free to choose as many examples as you want!

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Scenario C

 

You gasp as you jerk awake, sitting bolt upright in bed. But since when was your bed this…wet? Water falls from the ceiling, or is it the sky?

“Ugh…not again…” Is all you can think as your sleepy brain finally kicks into gear. You’re outside and it’s raining, with mud running down your back from where you were lying in the grass. Looking around, peering through the darkness, you realize you’re not too far from your home and begin to trudge toward the warm bed waiting for you there. You’re used to this, though, as it’s been happening ever since you were very young. As you approach the house, a voice rings out from one of the front windows.

“Hey! Hold on! Don’t get any closer!” Your Dad screams, pointing his trusty revolver at you. “Which one are you now?!”

Sighing, but without missing a beat, you reply that it’s you, of course.

“Oh, thank goodness.” Replies your Father, the relief evident on his face. “One moment though. How can I be sure you’re telling the truth?”

By now you’ve become completely soaked. Shivering out in the rain, you relay the code you’ve been assigned, slightly annoyed that he can’t tell by now.

 

You have a condition known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. For the purposes of this scenario this means that you have multiple completely separate personalities/individuals residing in the same body. You are the dominant personality, spending most of the time in control. Note: The other personalities can be of either gender. This is not affected by whether you are male or female.

How do you feel about this? This is a situation in which your body also belongs to another individual. As the dominant personality, do you have greater rights than they do? Exactly how important are these extra personalities to you, assuming for the moment that they are nice people?

 

As your Father opens the door you can immediately see why he was on guard. The entranceway behind him is splattered with blood and notches have been carved out of the wall. Unfortunately, this has happened some many times now that you are not surprised.

“Mum’s down at the hospital. Your brother took her.” Your Dad relays, wiping his face with his hand. “Look, son, we need to have a talk about this. We wanted you to have as normal a life as possible but we can’t just keep sweeping his actions under the rug. It’s time to get you some help; we just don’t feel safe anymore.”

You’ve heard enough. Mumbling a noncommittal reply, you make your way to your room. As expected, the door has been torn off its hinges, with all five locks smashed to pieces. You find yourself growing even more terrified of what he might do next.

You’ve prepared for this day, though. It was surprisingly easy to buy cyanide capsules on the internet and you’ve had them lying in the bottom of your drawer for a while now. It would only take one pill.

 

You’ve been lucky that he hasn’t harmed anyone outside your family yet or you would have been imprisoned for sure, but how long will that last? Your family is at the breaking point. Their love for their son and brother have kept them silent so far, but they’ve been dangerously injured multiple times now and this other you doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Do you take the pills and save your family the trouble of your existence?

 

WHAM!! As you sit there, stupefied, staring at the space that had been occupied by the pills until just a moment ago, your Father pulls back the hand he’s just slapped you with.

“Don’t be stupid!” He yells, his face red with anger. “You know we’d never want you to resort to that!”

He looks down and wipes his eye. You think he looks ten years older than normal.

“There’s…there’s another way.”

Holding up another bottle of pills, he hesitates for a moment before placing them on the table next to your bed. He leaves without another word. You examine the pills. It appears that they can suppress your violent personality permanently, but as with all good things they come with a cost. Every single other individual residing within you would also be erased completely and forever. At first the answer seems obvious: take the pills and live a normal life. Before you fully make up your mind, however, the book lying on your desk catches your eye.

 

It’s your diary. The one way you can communicate with the people you share this body with. He never wrote in it, of course. Flipping through its pages, you pore over its contents. Sometimes you smile at what you read and sometimes it makes your chest tighten. These are people you’ve spent your life communicating with.

 

Do you take the pills? You would have your body all to yourself and never have to worry about suddenly becoming another person. You would never harm anyone without knowing it ever again. However, you would effectively end the lives of the other people you share your body with. Is the benefit worth the cost? Would the number of personalities make a difference? Would you hesitate if you had never communicated with them; if the diary didn’t exist?

What if the other personalities weren’t violent and you had been given these pills as a normal treatment for DID?

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Scenario A:

 

 


 

Waking up in an unfamiliar room, you survey the scene around you. You’re not entirely sure how you got there, nor where you even are or what your name is. A man in a white coat enters and suddenly it hits you: this is a hospital. You discover that you’ve taken a blow to your head and have lost your memory. The doctor goes on to explain that your case of amnesia is a special one and that they have a new treatment that will allow you to regain your memory instantly; all you have to do is sign the consent form.

“But wait,” You ask, ‘What will happen to the me that I am now? Will I forget? Will I just disappear?”

 The doctor can’t, or perhaps won’t, answer your question.

 

Do you sign?

Or do you take this life for yourself?

 

I'm assuming we're to play this straight and not really factor in any sort of doubt or disbelief at the bizarre scenario and treatment.

 

I'd sign, no question. I don't know why someone wouldn't otherwise, barring any skepitcism over the situation. Identity is very important. It helps us interpret the world and colors how we respond to things. It's where we start when we look to create meaning in the things around us. Memories are a pretty big part of identity.

 

 


 

Sensing your distress, the doctor folds up the consent form and places it in your shirt pocket.

“Take some time to think about it,” He says, “In the meantime your…or rather, his family is here to see you.”

 As the doctor finishes speaking a young girl enters the room, tears in her eyes as she dashes toward you.

“I was so worried!” She says, her voice hoarse. “I didn’t know what I was gonna do if something really terrible had happened! With Mom and Dad gone…you’re the only one I have left…”

She goes to bury her face in your chest, looking hurt when you jump back in surprise. You’ve never met this girl before, yet you seem to be very important to her.

 

Does the form in your pocket feel heavy?

Does the fact that whether this girl loses her last remaining family member lies entirely within your hands weigh it down?

What if it was instead his girlfriend, eyes cast down as she tries to think of what she might have done wrong?

 

It'd be further motivation to sign the consent form. However, even if you didn't undergo the procedure I wouldn't say she's lost you. You wouldn't cease to exist to her, it would be weird to think you'd just disappear from her life or she from yours.  As for the gf thing, doesn't really affect the motivation to sign I think.

 

 

It’s been an entire year now since you woke up. Your first birthday, as it were. Somehow you’ve managed to insert yourself into your body’s previous owner’s life. People attribute any differences to the shock of your head injury; it takes a long time to recover from these things, they tell themselves. As you leave your room and head for the shower, careful not to wake his sister in the next room over, the phone rings. It’s the doctor.

“While you might not believe me when I say this, we’ve developed a new treatment which will return your old memories while retaining your new ones. I know you hesitated the first time round, but now we can get you back to normal without any side effects!”

You’ve kept that consent form with you ever since that day as a constant reminder of the life you’re borrowing. Wait…borrowing? Is that really how you feel about it?

 

How do you feel now? Is that form burning a hole in your pocket or are you just about ready to throw it away? The opportunity has arisen for the creation of a third version of yourself. Is it the best of both worlds, or yet another stranger with a claim to your body?

 

I might have lost the plot a bit. I think I understand what you're going for with the questions, but I don't get why I'd hesitate in the first place to regain our memories. If you woke up a blank slate, you really wouldn't have anything to lose by undergoing the procedure. You have no memories or sense of identity to lose by regaining your old ones.

 

I wouldn't think it'd feel like you're borrowing a life, but rather simply getting back what was yours in the first place. So, going back to the very first part of the prompt, it again seems like a no-brainer to sign.

 

Individuals aren't individuals solely because of their memories. If that was that was the case, you might say we're a new person every second or that the things we forget are killing us. :P

 

I don't think in the scenario you proposed that I'd think of it as killing my old/new self or creating an entirely new 3rd person.

 

Sorry if my thoughts are a bit disconjointed, pretty late here and I was just writing my thoughts as they came.

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Those are all very fair points. I guess what I was going for was the idea that this person without all of his memories might see himself as a separate being to who he was before the memory loss. By accepting the original treatment he loses himself and allows the original him to live again. Memories don't make up all of who we are, but I would be willing to argue that two people who are identical except for their memories are still very different.

 

In my opinion the reason we aren't becoming new people every time we gain new memories is because we still have a connection to the person we were before the new experience. The blank slate still has all of the knowledge and subconscious life experience of the original individual but has no subjective connection to who that person was.

 

I might take the girlfriend part out. Looking back at it I agree that it doesn't really add anything. As for the sister, while her sibling still exists they wouldn't remember any of the experiences they had shared together. There would (arguably) be no feeling of bonding or caring by the new individual. She hasn't literally lost her sibling but she is no longer able to interact normally with the person she once new.

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Waking up in an unfamiliar room, you survey the scene around you. You’re not entirely sure how you got there, nor where you even are or what your name is. A man in a white coat enters and suddenly it hits you: this is a hospital. You discover that you’ve taken a blow to your head and have lost your memory. The doctor goes on to explain that your case of amnesia is a special one and that they have a new treatment that will allow you to regain your memory instantly; all you have to do is sign the consent form.

“But wait,” You ask, ‘What will happen to the me that I am now? Will I forget? Will I just disappear?”

 The doctor can’t, or perhaps won’t, answer your question.

Do you sign?

Or do you take this life for yourself?

 

It's mine. I don't care what happened before to the old "me" but I don't want nor need to take it back. I don't care about having no strong identity for a while- I can just form that along the path I'll walk. To begin with, I wouldn't sign.

 

 

Sensing your distress, the doctor folds up the consent form and places it in your shirt pocket.

“Take some time to think about it,” He says, “In the meantime your…or rather, his family is here to see you.”

 As the doctor finishes speaking a young girl enters the room, tears in her eyes as she dashes toward you.

“I was so worried!” She says, her voice hoarse. “I didn’t know what I was gonna do if something really terrible had happened! With Mom and Dad gone…you’re the only one I have left…”

She goes to bury her face in your chest, looking hurt when you jump back in surprise. You’ve never met this girl before, yet you seem to be very important to her.

 

Does the form in your pocket feel heavy?

Does the fact that whether this girl loses her last remaining family member lies entirely within your hands weigh it down?

What if it was instead his girlfriend, eyes cast down as she tries to think of what she might have done wrong?

 

There is no need to go back to before. I feel a bit sorry for the girl, but, I've been granted a chance at life. A chance that came from the life of other person,  who just so happened to leave this wonderful present to me. I'd  rather keep on living as myself, thank you.

 

 

It’s been an entire year now since you woke up. Your first birthday, as it were. Somehow you’ve managed to insert yourself into your body’s previous owner’s life. People attribute any differences to the shock of your head injury; it takes a long time to recover from these things, they tell themselves. As you leave your room and head for the shower, careful not to wake his sister in the next room over, the phone rings. It’s the doctor.

“While you might not believe me when I say this, we’ve developed a new treatment which will return your old memories while retaining your new ones. I know you hesitated the first time round, but now we can get you back to normal without any side effects!”

You’ve kept that consent form with you ever since that day as a constant reminder of the life you’re borrowing. Wait…borrowing? Is that really how you feel about it?

 

How do you feel now? Is that form burning a hole in your pocket or are you just about ready to throw it away? The opportunity has arisen for the creation of a third version of yourself. Is it the best of both worlds, or yet another stranger with a claim to your body?

 

One year? Enough time passed. Any previous doubts I may have had are gone. This body, this head, this heart, they all belong to a new me who was fortunate enough to be born. I'm leaving behind my useless weight called "bonds" and "memories" to go and  form new ones, more suitable to me.

 

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Those are all very fair points. I guess what I was going for was the idea that this person without all of his memories might see himself as a separate being to who he was before the memory loss. By accepting the original treatment he loses himself and allows the original him to live again. Memories don't make up all of who we are, but I would be willing to argue that two people who are identical except for their memories are still very different.

 

In my opinion the reason we aren't becoming new people every time we gain new memories is because we still have a connection to the person we were before the new experience. The blank slate still has all of the knowledge and subconscious life experience of the original individual but has no subjective connection to who that person was.

 

 

I think what a lot of it is going to come down to is semantics and personal interpretations of vague things like 'I' an what makes 'you you'. Personally speaking, I feel a very large disconnect between 23-year old me and 15-year old me. So much so that I'd even say that that the person I was during my adolescence is like a stranger or entirely different person. Depending on how you look at it, you could say a lot of individuals are born through a single person's life.  Maybe 15-year old me is dead and I'm just borrowing the life experiences from him and learning from them, like reading a book written by someone else.

 

This is a fun exercise to play with, though. I'd be interested to see any other scenarios you come up with.

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I love these kinds of questions, it brings me back to philosophy classes where we discussed these all the time. Very interesting challenge you put here.

Scenario A

 

Waking up in an unfamiliar room, you survey the scene around you. You’re not entirely sure how you got there, nor where you even are or what your name is. A man in a white coat enters and suddenly it hits you: this is a hospital. You discover that you’ve taken a blow to your head and have lost your memory. The doctor goes on to explain that your case of amnesia is a special one and that they have a new treatment that will allow you to regain your memory instantly; all you have to do is sign the consent form.

“But wait,” You ask, ‘What will happen to the me that I am now? Will I forget? Will I just disappear?”

 The doctor can’t, or perhaps won’t, answer your question.

 

Do you sign?

Or do you take this life for yourself?

Considering my own personality and this scenario, I would not sign it. The reason, simply because my understanding of it would be that I would cease existing, death, nothingness, these are things humans fear naturally, consciously or subconsciously, I could not consciously erase myself from existence, even aknowledging my other sellf could have an amazing life with an amazing family and friends, I would not be part of it, I would kill myself for strangers, people I don't know who, if I don't sign, might actually get to know and get used to it, they can share memories with me and make new memories with me and I can grow out of the amnesia state without having to kill myself. The other existence I previously had is no longer here, they are dead, the dead don't rise from their grave and this is a fact, therefore in my opinion it is only natural that I don't sign it and sacrifice my existence for something that means nothing to me at the time. I'd prefer that nothing to grow into something and lead a happy life with time rather than throw it all away.

 

 

Sensing your distress, the doctor folds up the consent form and places it in your shirt pocket.

“Take some time to think about it,” He says, “In the meantime your…or rather, his family is here to see you.”

 As the doctor finishes speaking a young girl enters the room, tears in her eyes as she dashes toward you.

“I was so worried!” She says, her voice hoarse. “I didn’t know what I was gonna do if something really terrible had happened! With Mom and Dad gone…you’re the only one I have left…”

She goes to bury her face in your chest, looking hurt when you jump back in surprise. You’ve never met this girl before, yet you seem to be very important to her.

 

Does the form in your pocket feel heavy?

Does the fact that whether this girl loses her last remaining family member lies entirely within your hands weigh it down?

Using the previous argument, as a follow up, no it wouldn't feel heavy. There's no reason for it to feel heavy as that girl can get to know me, to them I'm still the previous being and they aknowledge me as so and I'm sure with time I would aknowledge them as something important as well. As far as her losing her remaining family member I have no reason to feel guilty, I was granted a life and in this life I do not know her so internally it does not affect me in any way, shape or form. So no the contract would not weight down on my consciousness.

 

It’s been an entire year now since you woke up. Your first birthday, as it were. Somehow you’ve managed to insert yourself into your body’s previous owner’s life. People attribute any differences to the shock of your head injury; it takes a long time to recover from these things, they tell themselves. As you leave your room and head for the shower, careful not to wake his sister in the next room over, the phone rings. It’s the doctor.

“While you might not believe me when I say this, we’ve developed a new treatment which will return your old memories while retaining your new ones. I know you hesitated the first time round, but now we can get you back to normal without any side effects!”

You’ve kept that consent form with you ever since that day as a constant reminder of the life you’re borrowing. Wait…borrowing? Is that really how you feel about it?

 

How do you feel now? Is that form burning a hole in your pocket or are you just about ready to throw it away? The opportunity has arisen for the creation of a third version of yourself. Is it the best of both worlds, or yet another stranger with a claim to your body?

 

It's been a year. My existence and all the people around me became one, I'm already happy with them and I can aknowledge myself as being part of their family. There's no reason to sign it simply for the fact I've already accepted myself, I am human, I have a consciousness, I think therefore I am, I finally came to terms with everything. If nothing is going wrong for me why should I risk getting a bunch of memories from years, maybe decades ago that most likely will only bring grief and could potentially harm my life? There is nothing wrong now, signing the contract is what could make something go wrong and for me is human nature to play it safe. Selfish or not it still results in things staying as they always have for the past year which for me are now normal and how they should be. And as I feel like that I would not sign the contract. It is not the best of both worlds, It's me putting my ordinary life at stake still, 2 existences being blended together like water and oil, it can't just work out as fine, that's why it still wouldn't weight down on me and why I still would not sign it.

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I don't understand the scenario, according to you first thing you remember is waking up in the hospital and being told you can have your memory back. Since I just woke up, there is no new me, if the story was set as you say a year after, then all this came out, that's different. What you woke though, the "new you" has no "new you" yet.

 

In response to the final part about being a year later, you'd have made that decision already to not go ahead if it was that far away.

 

In reply to those saying they'd not sign because thats how they are, in the mentioned situation, the point is you aren't you, you most likely do not have traits you had before.

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In reply to those saying they'd not sign because thats how they are, in the mentioned situation, the point is you aren't you, you most likely do not have traits you had before.

Yep, you have no traits at all. You're pretty much a blank slate.

fear would lead me to not sign it anyway. "I'm me and I'm fine right now. What if after I regain my memories I have some horrible trauma, a psychological disorder or something like that?" would be my main reasoning.

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I don't understand the scenario, according to you first thing you remember is waking up in the hospital and being told you can have your memory back. Since I just woke up, there is no new me, if the story was set as you say a year after, then all this came out, that's different. What you woke though, the "new you" has no "new you" yet.

 

In response to the final part about being a year later, you'd have made that decision already to not go ahead if it was that far away.

 

In reply to those saying they'd not sign because thats how they are, in the mentioned situation, the point is you aren't you, you most likely do not have traits you had before.

 

I think that, as Nohman mentioned earlier, it all depends on how you personally interpret the scenario. The importance of memory and how much of you remains the same without it is a concept we have no personal experience with and so it is up to the individual to determine how much of themselves - their personality and traits - they think would remain behind with the memories to back them up. I think the answers could be very different, for instance for someone believes in the existence of a soul separate to the body with the brain just being a relay and storage system versus someone who believes the brain contains everything we are as people (i'm not advocating for either side; just giving examples).

 

I'm interested to see that it's people who don't see themselves as a new being signing, while the "new individual" advocates have all gone on with their new life.

 

Just to double check: is anyone here uncomfortable with me sharing their thoughts on my blog?

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I'd sign. A person grows with their experience, you have no memory and so you have far less growth. Which means you're less of a person than you used to be, not a new person. On the other hand, if you're experiences were mainly bad, then it is possible that the growth you obtained before was not helpful to you, and starting with a clean slate may not be a bad thing. You'd still be less of a person than you were before, but you didn't want to be that person so no big deal.

 

That being said, what I'm feeling from the paragraphs above is that before the amnesia, that person wasn't living a bad life. Which means I'd want all that growth back, and thus I'd sign. If there were evil henchmen waiting in the background, eyeing you eagerly and fingering long knives, then I'd think twice.

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I would choose to regain my previous memories. Even though the "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy might seem appealing, you are responsible for whatever you did previously and owe it to the people you've met to not simply "disappear." I realize this sounds sort of idealistic, but it's honestly the path I would choose to take. On the more selfish side of things, past choices, experiences, and knowledge are parts of developing as a person, and denying yourself those memories would only stunt your growth as a person.

 

The idea of this other "me" disappearing might seem scary at first, but it really isn't another person at all. It's closer to a split personality than another person entirely. Although, assuming such a situation did occur, there's no telling how my sense of morality and responsibility would or wouldn't change as a result of this separate "me" forming.

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I would choose to regain my previous memories. Even though the "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy might seem appealing, you are responsible for whatever you did previously and owe it to the people you've met to not simply "disappear." I realize this sounds sort of idealistic, but it's honestly the path I would choose to take. On the more selfish side of things, past choices, experiences, and knowledge are parts of developing as a person, and denying yourself those memories would only stunt your growth as a person.

 

The idea of this other "me" disappearing might seem scary at first, but it really isn't another person at all. It's closer to a split personality than another person entirely. Although, assuming such a situation did occur, there's no telling how my sense of morality and responsibility would or wouldn't change as a result of this separate "me" forming.

 

Agreed. There's no way we can really know how we would actually feel in that situation. It's fun to think about it though =)

 

As for me...if I didn't sign immediately then the little sister would seal the deal. It's one thing to take the opportunity that has been presented to you and another entirely to knowingly deprive someone of their loved one (as they knew them, anyway). I think there's a chance I would sign straight away though...effectively ending another's life for my own gain wouldn't sit well with me.

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Does this idea come from a VN? If not, it could work well as one.

 

There wasn't any particular visual novel that got me thinking on it. I had done an editorial post of the concept of "Past and Future Selves" followed by one on various types of mind control and talking to a friend that edits my posts got me to thinking on how I could link them together, which resulted in this.

 

I have a few more scenario ideas in mind that i'll post up next week some time, but if anyone else has any ideas then PM me and i'll write something up. Or if anyone wants to try writing a similar scenario themselves that would also be cool.

 

Maybe I should start a forum game where the author of each philosophical scenario (not just related to this subject) picks a favorite response each week and that person has to write up the next week's scenario >.>

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This person, despite being you, is more or less a stranger. Do you owe them anything?

Assuming we never met before - No. I don't owe anything.

Edit: and btw being me and being stranger at the same time are contradictory facts. If he is a stranger, he is automatically not me.

Your definition is only possible with timetravel in mind.

 

What if they were an earlier version of you and you had the opportunity to make their life better, even if your own life would cease to exist because of it? Is their happiness worth your sacrifice?

It depends on how this would work.

- If we assume that timetravel within a single timeline is possible, helping to the earlier version of me would result in a paradox and it is not possible to predict an outcome. But regardless of it, that would most likely mean that the the present/future me would change as well and I don't want that.

- if we assume that time travel within a single timeline is not possible and attempts to do that create a new world (many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics) and I somehow met a person who is me but a bit earlier version - his happiness worth nothing to me.

Edit: some of the above probably can be expanded to explain why even assuming timetravel scenario the original question is meaningless, but I'm going to leave it like that.

Scenario A

Can't be answered. Without significant amount of memories that person will no longer be me, who writes this post right now and I can't predict his actions. That would probably depend on how much I can remember. But if I don't remember anything, I think there are more chances that he'll sign it. Maybe not... Edit: this question probably can answer only the one who lost his memory for real.

It’s been an entire year now since you woke up. - That person is not me. No answer can be given.

What you really want to ask/what your question really is:

If everything I describe in Scenario A will happen to a protagonist of the story X, what would you (as a viewer/reader) like to see him doing?

And pretty much everyone above answers this question, not the original one.

Edited by メルP

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In all scenarios:

Let the old me die. I will be 100% honest and say that I can now be free from all the stupid irresponsible and or evil I ever did or may have done. Now I can just let other people deal with it. I don't owe anybody anything. If they feel like I owe them to remember all of the bad stuff I did to them then they are out of luck. Selfishness all the way!

As for growth, I honestly don't think you grow that much with experiences. You may just think me a smart ass but at 17 I feel like I have the world more figured out than many and I do mean many adults. I think that growth is an innate part of what you are not who you are. I could still figure out all that I know now about people in like 1 year. I mean, just assume people are jerks unless proven otherwise and you have about 99% of what I know now. And yes this might sound immature but I find that people are pretty likely to be bad and even when they are not intentionally evil they can still pass you a bad turn. Also its not like you have to act like an ass hat to people you just met. Just don't trust them to help you when you need it. it is better to find out that people are actually nice than to depend on someone and let them let you fall.

I think I could figure this out pretty well when I see people try to take advantage of me because I can't remember anything.

Also I am assuming that you retain all previous skills if only because you are still able to talk and such. So say if you knew like 5 languages you still know them. Same for stuff like playing the guitar or swimming. Not that I can do any of those....

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 I think that growth is an innate part of what you are not who you are.

 

While admittedly I do disagree with a lot of what you said, I really liked this one line. Could you please elaborate a bit on it. I don't really understand the difference between, "what you are", and "who you are". I always thought they were kind of synonymous so could you explain the difference. 

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Well what you are is not a collection of anything but rather the very core of what makes up your consciousness. You cover that up with who you are. I am pretty easily attracted to people but will close off to them as soon as I think they are not friends. That is what I am. Who I am is kind of an ass. I have learned that people don't take it well when you don't like them or when you get too close too fast. So to better cope with society I have altered my behavior. Thereby covering up the what with the who. I am sure most people don't much think about it but they are never very honest to their base desires or instincts. When you first meet a person and you decide you hate them for some odd reason you still put up a charade so as not to be rude. The charade is what I call who. Adaptive behavior. 

What you are cannot be changed simply because you forgot everything. It would take a very mind destroying event to change your core. Like for example you having to murder your and or rape your own family at gun point. There is no way that you are coming out whole from that one. You are most likely broken. That is enough to alter what you are.

one other example would be something like complete isolation from society. it mushes your brain and alters how you see everything.

Sorry if my rant is crude or rude but I have a tendency to be a little to direct and open. I dislike censorship of opinions.

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Alright, I think I kind of get it. It's a pretty interesting distinction to draw. However, I would argue that everything is adaptive behavior. If as a child I was raised in a culture that believed killing other people was acceptable, then that would contribute into what I am. However, If I was raised in say a more civilized culture, than what I am would be fundamentally different. Sorry, I take a very anthropological view of people; I am pretty convinced that culture plays a more important role in development than anything else. Individual experience is second to culture in the development of people, or at least that's what I think.

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i would tend to agree with you for the most part. However! I am a deviant so that does not apply to me       \(-_-)/

My values are vastly different from the culture I lived in. I also have very different viewpoints from my parents. So I think I would be an ass no matter were or to whom I was born. Ha ha ha.

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Scenario A

 

Do you sign?

Or do you take this life for yourself?

 

In the exact scenario that you described I would sing because I just wake up,

The new me doesn't really exist, it is just an empty shell without memories, feelings.

I don't think that I would lose my new self because my new self didn't have a time to be formed.

But if after I would sing, the doctor said that that treatment needed time to be prepared and I spend some time as new self before it would be ready, then I would be  uncertain what to do and my final decision would depend on circumstances around me.

The biggest influence on my choice would probably be two things.

First the picture of my old self that I would create in my head (Like is that person who I really was do I want to be that person again)

And second would be my life that I lived before (like is that life that I want to live)

 

Does the form in your pocket feel heavy?

Does the fact that whether this girl loses her last remaining family member lies entirely within your hands weigh it down?

 

In first moment I probably wouldn't feel anything and would just try to figure things out.

So once again I would need time to figure things out,

Like who is that girl, what is our relationship,

If new me become attracted to that girl then can I make her happy as I am now.

 

 

How do you feel now? Is that form burning a hole in your pocket or are you just about ready to throw it away? The opportunity has arisen for the creation of a third version of yourself. Is it the best of both worlds, or yet another stranger with a claim to your body?

 

This once again depends on many things, what happen over that year?

In what circumstances would I find myself?

But in the end I would probably choose not to go to that therapy unless I absolutely have to remember something,

and I would try to make things work out as I am now.

 

 

Fell free to post this on your blog if you wish.

I like answering/thinking about philosophical questions so if you

have more I would be glad to give you my opinion if you want it.

But in the future you might want to describe the situation in more details for more precise informations.

I think that God Scenario B for this Question would be if you had DID.

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Dissociative Identity Disorder would indeed be an interesting one. I had some other ideas in mind but i'll add that to the pile.

 

While the lack of detail stems from my dislike of being told what i've done and how I feel when i'm meant to be the person involved in something, I may try to be a little more specific with my future scenarios. 

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