Re: PHIL: Extropy, Boundaries and Suicide

den Otter (
Thu, 26 Feb 1998 01:33:40 +0100

> From: Darren Reynolds <>

> den Otter wrote:
> >From a rational ethics point of view, the choice is easy: you try to prevent
> >the permanent destruction of someone you care about, even if this person
> >doesn't want to be saved *at this time*. Freedom of choice does not apply
> >to the mentally ill, IMO, just like it doesn't apply to small children.
> The only
> >rational reason why someone would want to die is unbearable (mental or
> >physical) suffering. If this can't be cured by today's medicine, euthanasia
> >and cryonic suspension are in order. If the person in question is revived
> >at some point in the future, he will be cured of all his physical and mental
> >disorders, *and* he'll be hedonistically engineered so that satisfaction is
> >guaranteed. And on this day, he will surely thank you from saving him
> >from himself.
> Er, yes, but it's not quite that simple, is it?
Um, no, of course not. I was mainly talking philosophically...

> 1) Cryonic suspension costs $30,000 - $100,000 dollars or more.
> Do you have that kind of money lying around?
No, but I do have +- $450 a year lying around to pay for my suspension
contract and life insurance. Unfortunately, not everybody has the foresight
to do this, although a lot of people have life insurance that might be used
to pay the approx. $ 30.000 required by Cryonics Institute. Of course
their relatives would have to co-operate and all, but if you know that someone
is going to kill himself in advance, some of these matters might be settled.
Another possibility would be freezing them yourself (with the aid of local
cryonicists) and storing at least the brains in a small liquid nitrogen dewar,
or in dry ice. I don't know whether or not this is legal in England (it isn't
in Holland), but things like this can be done in relative secrecy if no other
options are available. Maybe you could work out a settlement with a cryonics
company later (raise the $30.000 over a couple of years), and have the
remains transferred to a professional facility. All very difficult, but worth a
try if you really care about someone.

> 2) Euthanasia is illegal in most countries in the world, and is
> expensive and takes a long time in places where it isn't. If
> you're suicidal for purely psychological rather than
> physiological reasons, you likely don't want to wait around
> whilst a judge signs you off.
Well, the good thing with suicide is that you don't need anyone's
permission to do it. Personally, I wouldn't bother to get the state's
blessing to kill myself if I felt like it; I'd just do it (and it wouldn't
cost a penny). Btw, euthanasia is almost legal in Holland, so come
over here, smoke a joint and than kill yourself, if you still feel like it ;-)

> In practical terms, when a real, every-day person is rational but suicidal,
> I think you either have to let them go, or lock them up. I wondered whether
> the group would favour me in imposing my will on someone else because I
> don't want them to die.
Try every available (and affordable) therapy (Prozac?), and if this fails only let
them go if there is no way you can get them into a dewar in time. Saving
someone so that he may experience perfect health (and more) in the future
can never be immoral, but then again that's just my opinion.