RE: Cryonics & psychopharmacology (Was: Our friend Sasha Chislenko is dead)

From: The Great Cthulhu (
Date: Fri May 12 2000 - 09:31:42 MDT

Hear, hear...It helps to have strong transhumanist beliefs, though
not always. In the end it's all about chemical (dis)balances, and
mental illness can smash even the most rational belief system
to bits. Fortunately, most of us can rely on good old cowardice
to keep us from suicide. Apparently Sasha was no coward...

The crux of the matter is that the human brain is a complex electrochemical
system, and though it may sound overly mechanistic, it can break down. We,
as humans, may hope that we are beyond mere systemic failure, but to date
we are not. Some systemic failures are less upsetting (say, a heart-
attack) because they do not effect the part of the body we hold to be the
strongest and most supernatural: the brain.

There is no rational reason for Sasha to have killed himself, it in an act
which is everything that Sasha was NOT: foolish, selfish, pointless, and
without any future. He would not have died at that time if he had rational
control of his mental facilities. Sasha was no coward, but suicide is not
really a brave act, either. Suicide is the result of a particular systemic
failure in the nervous system, not a rational choice. A suicide is,
ultimately, not much more of a choice than a heart-attack. Once can try to
live a healthier life (as Sasha tried, with his penchant for eating healthy
foods and taking vitamins, etc. and by trying to learn and think about
world-changing things rather than dwelling on depression), or one can clog
arteries and mind with junk, but sometimes the junkies outlive the healthies
the simple reason that there is randomness in the universe and sometimes a
or a mind or any other system, no matter how well cared-for, can just fail.
Sasha did push the envelope in many ways, asking difficult questions and
all night long, etc. - demanding a lot of his mind and body - but I had not
him to deliberately try to destroy himself, just to try to drive himself to
better and stronger. Maybe this was too much stress on his system, despite
the care he took to maintain his system otherwise.

Sasha was not a quitter, he was a fighter, and he had struggled through a
of hard time in his life. Sasha had strong transhumanist beliefs, good
a loving son, and tried to take care of his mind and body as best he could
still being Sasha. Sasha's beliefs, friends, family, etc. didn't let him
down -
his electrochemical nervous system did.
Unfortunately, even a strong mind and body like Sasha's can sometimes
and more unfortunately, sometimes with fatal consequences.

People who cared about Sasha will be sad, and angry, and aghast with
that this could have happened... but, ultimately, we will miss him and try
honor all the many, many good things he brought to people's lives before he

Live Long + Prosper,

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