How much of yourself and your identity would you be willing to change to stay alive?- The Gregorian Syndrome scenario

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    Oct 20, 2012 2:42 PM GMT
    Greetings:

    I am Rudrod64 and thank you for joining this forum. Below is a scenario I would like you to read followed by some discussion questions. Please do not concern yourself with how realistic or scientifically feasible the scenario is and instead focus on the ethical and moral issues it is seeking to raise.

    The Gregorian Syndrome Scenario:

    Imagine that you have been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Gregorian Syndrome. This condition deteriorates your nervous system until it eventually shuts down and you die. Your doctor gives you one month to live. However some new genetic treatments have proven to extend the lives of people with this condition. Each treatment has unique permanent side effects that the doctor has discussed with you so you can make an informed decision about your treatment. You may choose not to undergo any treatment and instead live the rest of your life and put your affairs in order. Each treatment option that you choose will add an additional five years to your life expectancy and you can undergo as many of these treatments as you want. The following is a list of the treatment options and their respective side effects.

    *Treatment option 1: Your body’s physical features and skin color will change and you will appear like someone from a totally different ethnicity/race.

    *Treatment option 2: Your sex chromosomes will shift and your biological sex will change . If you are a male, you will become female or vice versa.

    *Treatment option 3: Your sexual orientation will shift. If you are gay/homosexual you will become straight/heterosexual or vice versa.

    *Treatment option 4: Your personality traits will drastically change. Your hobbies, interests, type of people you like to socialize with, life goals, values, etc., will shift entirely. You still will retain memory of your past life’s personality. For all intents and purposes, you would become an entirely different person and your friends and family will not recognize you.

    *Treatment option 5: You will have a decrease or loss of physical abilities (walking, standing, eyesight, hearing, etc.), and you may need to live in an assisted living housing program.

    *Treatment option 6: You will have a decrease or loss of cognitive or intellectual abilities (decrease in IQ, memory, decision-making abilities, etc.) and may need to live in an assisted living housing program.

    Discussion questions:

    1) Which treatment option(s) would you choose and why?
    2) Would you choose the treatment option(s) in a particular order and why? In what order would you choose them from most preferred to least preferred?
    3) What personal values were important to you when you made the choices you made and why?
    4) If you chose not to undergo any treatment, what would you do during your last month of life and why?
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    Oct 20, 2012 9:14 PM GMT
    I would consider myself to be very adaptable. So I would alter whatever I had to. I think I would try to change myself naturally without undergoing various surgeries.
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    Oct 20, 2012 10:01 PM GMT
    I love these type of philosophical and hypothetical scenarios that exercise and reveal our rationale!!

    O.K., in my response:

    1) I would choose options 1; 2; and 3 only.

    2) The order in which I would choose said options is: 1; 3; 2.

    3) The value of importance to me I used to make my decision: to hold on to the core of what I hold dearest about my life/person, and sacrifice other traits that have a lesser, more expendable, personal value and lesser significance to the most prized and important features of my identity.

    HOWEVER, I feel somewhat jipped that the options only have a 5 year life extension provision, yet, I'm, personally, only just shy of 25 years old, and therefore even if I took all of the options, that would mean my maximum life expectancy would be 55 years old- still a very curtailed and prematurely ended life.

    I feel that in cases such as mine, where the subject is still in their twenties, each option should be worth 10 years life extension as we have lived significantly less than the average middle aged person who might also answer this same question, giving them a default advantage simply as they have lived much longer at the point of exchanging life expectancy for identity traits.

    The age of the respondent in relation to how many years life expectancy each option holds could certainly, and very likely, affect how one would answer the question, and what they would be willing to sacrifice at that stage in their life. This would skew reliable results.

    For example, if the options were still only worth 5 years for somebody of my age, I may be tempted to also choose option 4 too, despite not being comfortable with this at all, as I'd want to live past the age of 40. Yet, a 50 year old won't have as much to loose, as they have already clocked up half a century of life at the same point of answering this question.

    Still, I enjoyed the exercise!

    =]

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    Oct 20, 2012 10:25 PM GMT
    I would only choose option #4:
    *Treatment option 4: Your personality traits will drastically change. Your hobbies, interests, type of people you like to socialize with, life goals, values, etc., will shift entirely. You still will retain memory of your past life’s personality. For all intents and purposes, you would become an entirely different person and your friends and family will not recognize you.

    That would gain me another 5 yrs and take me out of my comfort zone.
    But that would be it. None of the other options would work. Would rather then to let nature take its course.

    Tristan
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    Oct 20, 2012 10:36 PM GMT
    musclefetish1 saidI would only choose option #4:
    *Treatment option 4: Your personality traits will drastically change. Your hobbies, interests, type of people you like to socialize with, life goals, values, etc., will shift entirely. You still will retain memory of your past life’s personality. For all intents and purposes, you would become an entirely different person and your friends and family will not recognize you.

    That would gain me another 5 yrs and take me out of my comfort zone.
    But that would be it. None of the other options would work. Would rather then to let nature take its course.

    Tristan


    You'd swap your brain/'soul', just to prolong the body for 5 years? icon_eek.gif
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    Oct 20, 2012 10:39 PM GMT
    _SAGE_ said
    musclefetish1 saidI would only choose option #4:
    *Treatment option 4: Your personality traits will drastically change. Your hobbies, interests, type of people you like to socialize with, life goals, values, etc., will shift entirely. You still will retain memory of your past life’s personality. For all intents and purposes, you would become an entirely different person and your friends and family will not recognize you.

    That would gain me another 5 yrs and take me out of my comfort zone.
    But that would be it. None of the other options would work. Would rather then to let nature take its course.

    Tristan


    You'd swap your brain/'soul', just to prolong the body for 5 years? icon_eek.gif


    Soul? No such thing.
    But for 5 more years of "life?" Absolutely.

    Tristan
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    Oct 20, 2012 10:40 PM GMT
    it's funny to read this, I already got death threats etc unless I changed my identity and I already refused face to face- so I'd have to say zero (:
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    Oct 20, 2012 10:43 PM GMT
    musclefetish1 said

    Soul? No such thing.
    But for 5 more years of "life?" Absolutely.

    Tristan


    According to your beliefs, only. It's not been disproved. It has not even been properly defined.

    But, in regards to swapping your brain: WOW.

    What if you had a horrible car accident and your body parts had to be replaced by that of a donor. Would you still be 'you'? What would be the continuity?
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    Oct 20, 2012 10:49 PM GMT
    _SAGE_ said
    musclefetish1 said

    Soul? No such thing.
    But for 5 more years of "life?" Absolutely.

    Tristan


    According to your beliefs, only. It's not been disproved. It has not even been properly defined.

    But, in regards to swapping your brain: WOW.

    What if you had a horrible car accident and your body parts had to be replaced by that of a donor. Would you still be 'you'? What would be the continuity?


    Pls don't bog me down in some what if scenario involving bullshit religion/god/soul, etc.

    I chose # 4 because you retain your memories and past life scenarios. But it might be good for me to experience different ways of life during that last 5 yr period. So not really swapping your brain.
    It would allow me to meet people and cultures that I would normally not be bothered with.

    Tristan
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    Oct 20, 2012 11:06 PM GMT
    musclefetish1 said
    _SAGE_ said
    musclefetish1 said

    Soul? No such thing.
    But for 5 more years of "life?" Absolutely.

    Tristan


    According to your beliefs, only. It's not been disproved. It has not even been properly defined.

    But, in regards to swapping your brain: WOW.

    What if you had a horrible car accident and your body parts had to be replaced by that of a donor. Would you still be 'you'? What would be the continuity?


    Pls don't bog me down in some what if scenario involving bullshit religion/god/soul, etc.

    I chose # 4 because you retain your memories and past life scenarios. But it might be good for me to experience different ways of life during that last 5 yr period. So not really swapping your brain.
    It would allow me to meet people and cultures that I would normally not be bothered with.

    Tristan


    The 'what if' scenario has nothing to do with the point about 'souls'. Let's try not to be prejudiced. Neuroscience is still a very young and fledgling discipline.


    Re the scenario: you'd retain memories, but they'd be alien to your current mind, like the memories of another person available to you but of no emotional significance in the same was as knowing the complete biography of somebody you had watched a documentary on. You'd have access to it, but it wouldn't be something inherently and intrinsically 'of you', in your altered state- the memory of all you knew before would be objective and once removed, your ties to anything and everyone prior would be artificial and once removed to your consciousness.

    Still, horses for courses! =]
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    Oct 20, 2012 11:22 PM GMT
    Very interesting experiment indeed.
    I would be interested in only 2 of this options:
    Firstly treatment n 1 because I don't think that a change in my physical appearances would have such a great impact in my life.
    And I might be interested in treatment n 3, providing I'm not in love with someone that loves me back.
    Treatment n 2 would have a too big impact in my social relationships with my friends and family et cetera.
    Treatments n 5 and 6 would definitively be unbearable and not worth prolonging my life for. Bear in mind that this does not mean that the life of people with such disabilities are not worth living for(I respect everyone's choice and can't make up my mind about euthanasia yet). What I mean is that given the choice in advance, I'd rather die by natural causes, than willingly put myself through that kind of pain.

    If I didn't choose any treatment, which is still one option, I would try to be as honest as I can to all the people close to me, enjoy my last few days travelling with my best friends(haven't been to the States and Japan yet) and come to terms with my condition.
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    Oct 25, 2012 8:17 PM GMT
    I'd all depend on how much respect the old self would have for my new self, say, but i'm cool with most people so I'd go for a random point in personality space. its a big change, but its perhaps on par with say, moving to a different country and assimilating into the culture completely - and besides, everybody has a bit of everybody else in them anyway, physically or otherwise, so its just a matter of some part already in just manifesting.

    If there's a systematic bias to becoming a bitter man/woman, though, then i'll probably just choose to die. Oh, and of course, options 5 and 6 are dominated completely by 1 2 3 and 4 so they are out of the question
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    Oct 25, 2012 8:35 PM GMT
    5 & 6 are the last options, in that order.
    1-4 actually kind of seem interesting. I've had to recreate myself more than cell phone technology over my lifetime, in a myriad of ways.

    The values I would place on this for myself are in line with what I would choose for my child (if I had one) and those would all revolve around quality of life which can be very high in options 1-4.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If I choose to not undergo treatment I would set aside time to say goodbye to all my friends in San Francisco individually and I would move home to be surrounded by my family.

    I would want to be surrounded by love and comfort. I would to tell my nieces and nephews all the stories of our family so they will know where they're from and the amazing stuff we're made of.

    I would spend every day reminding myself and my family how lucky I was to have had a life with them *and away from them*. And I would tell my parents and my sister *everything* so when I died they were not saying goodbye to a stranger and so they would realize they've always known me and nothing has changed.

    I would spend every last thought trying to teach the people I love how to die with dignity and peace... and pray every night that if there was nothing after my breath left me, that I made the most of my time but be hopeful that I would be on the other side to greet the people I love when they joined me.
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    Oct 25, 2012 8:50 PM GMT
    I'd take 1 maybe 4 too. Anymore than that and I'm not the same person. I'd take quality of life over quantity any day. Its as simple as that to me.
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    Oct 25, 2012 8:52 PM GMT
    Wouldn't Treatments 1, 2, & 3 make me a gay girl?

    Either way, I would go with 1, 2, and since I'm already a new gender, why not become a new person (still on the fence about this one) but maybe 4?

    Depending on the increase of longevity that all of this will produce, will be my ultimate deciding factor of if I want to undergo treatment.

    If I am correct, i would be a straight new woman with different race/skin color and personality; so just my exact opposite.

    5,6 seems like the lifestyle of someone who is already on their way of passing (i.e of old age) so it wouldn't it defeat the purpose?

    icon_eek.gif Good discussion though.