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

From: Jim Fehlinger (
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 19:06:12 MDT

Samantha Atkins wrote:
> Lee Corbin wrote:
> >
> > I made the paradoxical confession:
> >
> > > ...the belief that one's own personality is important enough
> > > to take extreme measures to preserve from nonexistence strikes
> > > me as -- unseemly, somehow...
> >
> > and yet [he] would, if faced with conventional death, take as
> > many extreme measures as the rest of us would. I've heard
> > this meme before---"my personality isn't important enough",
> > and can only conclude that it's because the cost of cryonics
> > is still high.
> My personality of the moment truly isn't all that important.
> The time and opportunity to change it many times, to grow
> and learn without particular limit *is* that important.
> I am not limited to my personality...
> If I thought I was stuck with me just as I am now, warts
> and all, for an indefinite period extending away into
> infinity, then I would not find that very appealing. It is
> not death so much that I seek to avoid but the end of becoming
> and being.

"Maria was close to despair. He was her one link to the old
world; without him, her memories would lose all meaning...

He shook his head sadly. 'Maria, I'm sorry -- I can't follow
you... All my certainties have evaporated. Do you know
how that feels?'

Maria met his eyes and tried to understand, tried to gauge the
depth of his weariness... Maybe the time came, for everyone,
when there was no way forward, no other choice but death...

Maria turned on him angrily. 'Do I know how it feels? **However
you want it to feel.** Isn't that what you told me? You
have the power to choose exactly **who you are**. The old
human shackles are gone... If you really want to die, I can't
stop you -- but don't tell me that **you have no choice**...'

He said gently, 'You really do need someone, don't you, who
knows the old world?'

'Yes.' Maria blinked back tears...

He said 'I'll come with you...'

He beamed at her, like an idiot, like a child. 'I just made
a few adjustments to my mental state. And I accept your
invitation. **Onward and upward**...'

Maria stopped dead. If he'd rebuilt himself, reinvented
himself . . . **then how much of the man she'd known remained**?
Had he granted himself transhuman resilience, and healed himself
of his terminal despair . . . or had he died in silence,
beyond her sight, and given birth to a companion for her,
a software child who'd merely inherited its father's memories?

**Where was the line**? Between self-transformation so great
as to turn a longing for death into childlike wonder . . . and
death itself, and the handing on of the joys and burdens he
could no longer shoulder to someone new?...

She said, 'You must tell me what you did. I need to

Durham promised her, 'I will. In the next life.'"

-- Greg Egan, _Permutation City_

Jim F.

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