Re: CRYO: "Ischemia" vs. "Reversibly dead"

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 23:32:26 MDT


_If_ this is happening--if people are indeed using "ischemia" to include the state of interrupted flow of nutrients and
oxygen to, and waste products from, patients in suspension--the I agree that it is inappropriate.*

*I* was always under the impression that "ischemia" in the context of cryonics referred to the period of interrupted
flow between cessation of vital signs and either (1) initiation of perfusion, or (2) stabilization at suspension
temperature. Arguably, patients coming out of storage could be called "ischemic", too.

Patients at storage temperatures aren't "ischemic", they're frozen--or glassed.

I don't think the "dead" word needs as much emphasis as Eliezer says. "Declared dead, in stasis" is good enough for me,
if anyone asks.

*If this has been happening, I have missed it.

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> I have to say that I think <ischemia> is one of the less effective memes
> I've run across lately. Cryonics patients are DEAD. Adapting to the
> future consists of recognizing that death is not necessarily
> irreversible. The euphemisms are not fooling anyone and I think it sounds
> darn stupid, like wearing a sign that says "Hi, I'm in denial" or "Hi,
> this is a cult". I know that this is exactly the same (false) accusation
> made about a great many pieces of new terminology, including, say,
> "Singularity" - I just happen to think that "ischemia", out of all the
> terms in the transhumanist glossary, happens to actually *be* that lousy.
> I would suggest calling them "reversibly dead" patients, which
> simultaneously conveys that you have indeed emotionally accepted how much
> damage has occurred, while carrying the future shock of the belief that
> even *that* much damage is still reversible.
> Saying that Alcor has sixty (or whatever) "reversibly dead patients" is,
> in itself, a powerful sign that cryonics is not cultish or denial or an
> Egyptian mummification sham. Religions insist that mummies et cetera are
> not "dead" in order to avoid the emotional fallout of accepting the fact
> of death. Saying that Alcor has sixty people in "ischemic coma" or
> "temporal transport" sounds like the service Alcor is providing is the
> ability for grieving relatives to deny that death has occurred, not
> actually saving lives. Again, I think that adequate neural information is
> preserved even without the new vitrification protocols, and that a lot of
> cryonics patients are quite possibly coming back post-Singularity, but I
> still have a tremendously bad impression of most current cryonics
> literature.
> No religion would ever call its mummies "reversibly dead". The term
> carries with it a visceral shock that instantly sets cryonics apart from
> the known human fallacy of denying death. "Ischemia" and similar terms
> are instantly, and correctly, processed as bureaucratese at the least and
> religious dogma at the worst. I strongly recommend that you drop
> "ischemia" and "temporal transport" in favor of "cryonic suspension" or,
> better yet, "reversibly dead".
> -- -- -- -- --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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