Day 139: Bleed here [so you can be cloned later].Posted: May 19, 2011
I have no desire to be cloned.
A clone of me would not be me, any more than identical twins are the same person. If there was (is?) already a clone of me out there – one that I didn’t know about, for some reason – and we met on the street, we would be total strangers. Strangers who looked extremely similar, yes, but still strangers. Doppelgängers. It would probably be an unpleasant meeting…
What do I gain by being cloned at some future point, after I’m dead? Nothing. I don’t lose anything, either: it’s happening after I’m dead, and the clone is – not to beat a dead horse – a totally different person. A clone of me a few hundred years hence will mean nothing more to me – and I nothing more to him – than my great-great-great-grandchildren will: to wit, nothing.
If someone clones me while I’m alive, that might be an issue: what if my clone tries to kill me and take over my life? Or: What if I’m the clone, and I’ve killed myself and taken over my life? OR: What if I’m merely one in an endless sequence of clones? What if none of this is real? Any of these scenarios is less than ideal. On the other hand, if my clone just wanted to be his own dude, and have his own life and job and name and car and et cetera, that would be totally fine. It might even be cool to have a beer with myself occasionally, under those circumstances.
People who want to be cloned after death are seeking some odd sort of vicarious immortality: they’re living forever, somehow, because their genetic material has been reconstituted and is walking around and talking and eating and shitting and doing whatever people will be doing for entertainment in the future.
There’s a better and more efficient way to have your genetic material walking around hundreds of years in the future: have children, and lots of them. Of course, this is only more efficient if you don’t raise the children yourself – because actually raising them is a lot more labor-intensive than just producing them, especially for the father – and so this strategy really only works for men (sorry, ladies). For men, though, it’s just a matter of impregnating as many women as possible – and in these days of paternity tests and child support and whatnot, as anonymously as possible – scattering children across the country (or the world?), in order to ensure that a reasonable number of one’s ‘illegitimate’ offspring survive to reproduce as well, thus propagating your genetic material downstream in the gene, uh, pool.
It’s what your genes want, after all.