Kajta is right; cryonics is very far:
Cryonics is about what will happen in a *long time* when you *die* to give you a *small chance* of waking up in a *socially distant* society in the *far future*, assuming you *widen your concept* of yourself to any *abstract pattern* like the one manifested in your biological brain and also that technology and social institutions *continue their current trends* and you don’t mind losing *peripheral features* such as your body (not to mention cryonics is *cold* and seen to be the preserve of *rich* *weirdos*).
You’re not meant to be selfish in far mode! Freeze a fair princess you are truly in love with or something. Far mode livens our passion for moral causes and abstract values. If Robin is right, this is because it’s safe to be ethical about things that won’t affect you yet it still sends signals to those around you about your personality. It’s a truly mean person who won’t even claim someone else a long way away should have been nice fifty years ago.
But I disagree with what Katja says here:
If this theory is correct, does it mean cryonics is unfairly slighted because of a silly quirk of psychology? No. Your desire to be ethical about far away things is not obviously less real or legitimate than your desire to be selfish about near things, assuming you act on it. If psychological distance really is morally relevant to people, it’s consistent to think cryonics too selfish and most other expenditures not. If you don’t want psychological distance to be morally relevant then you have an inconsistency to resolve, but how you should resolve it isn’t immediately obvious.
I say psychological distance is less morally relevant than people take it to be:
- We think of actions as near or far depending on how they are described to us, and where/when we are when we think about them. But the morality of an act should not depend on how that act is framed or who thinks of it when/where, if it is the act (not the thought about the act) that is moral or not.
- If doing right is just making good (i.e., consequentialism), then the morality of acts shouldn’t depend much on who exactly does them when/where; what should matter is how the act changes the universe.
- The tendency of far thought to be more hypocritical and less influential to our important actions does weigh somewhat against it.