A first time hello from Alaska!

john grigg (starman125@hotmail.com)
Fri, 09 Apr 1999 00:30:42 PDT


I just wanted to say hello. Recently I have been reading all I can on the net about cryonics, transhumanism, extropianism, nanotech, and future forecasting. And I have learned about the notable people in the movements such as Drexler, Sandberg, Ettinger, Merkle, Platt, and More. I find it all very thrilling! The width and breadth of Ander's Transhuman website is incredible. The concepts you espouse are truly mind boggling. I have read "The Engines of Creation" and
"The Prospects for Immortality" so far, and look forward to reading
"Create/Uncreate" by Natasha-Vita More.

I am only thirty-one, but do not feel I have gotten my "money's worth" out of my youth due to physical and psychosocial problems that I have. I am not goodlooking (not ugly either, and I am tall, 6'1 but only 145 lbs.!), and grew up poor so woman largely ignore me compared to the physically attractive and $$$ endowed males. I want my chance, and by the time I have a degree, decent job and money for cosmetic surgery my youth will be gone.

I had a cool phone conversation with Charles Platt several years ago. At the time I had no idea who he actually was. I recently emailed him and got back a warm reply, he actually remembered who I was. He has certainly been busy with Cryocare. I was very impressed by his contest held in Omni; a better person could not have been found to give the prize of a cryonics membership.

The caliber, and intellect of those committed to extropianism and cryonics impresses me. The scientific discussions I encounter in the extropian digest sometimes go over my head but I am learning a lot. Though the arguements about gun control and air crashes do drag on just a little!

If I were not a financially strapped student I would love to attend Extro 4! It would be very cool to meet all the people that I have been reading about on the net. And the lectures must all be excellent. One day I will make it, if not this time. One problem about living in Alaska is that you can't just hop in a car or bus and a few hours later be in another state! But you understand that being in England, but then you must have your own conferences.

I live in Anchorage and attend the University of Alaska Anchorage as a sophomore. My major is history at this point, though I have thought of going into human services. I sadly did not get the math/science gene some of my relatives have! I still don't even have a driver's licene, I took driver's ed but did not do to well. Not having a license has made my life in terms of career and romance very frustrating. When I tried to learn the martial arts I frustrated my instructors because my sensory-motor memory and processing is so bad! So I can't even learn how to defend myself well. Generally I am a slower then normal learner. I wound up withdrawing from a college math class because I was getting lost. In a world where the ability to learn is of the highest importance I am in a bad position.

The film "Lawnmower Man" made a huge impression on me. It is still one of my all time favorite movies. Being that I am seriously learning disabled the idea of transcending oneself like that utterly grabbed me. I wanted to jump into the film and take one of the treatments myself.

I suffer from serious clinical depression which runs in my family. The depression makes me feel very weighed down' I just don't feel like doing anything. I have tried various antidepressants but not found one to stick to yet. Part of this is my fault because I tend to quit them when side effects show up or when I run out of money. Right now I am on Effexor time release and plan to stick it out. I have read the book, "Listening to Prozac" and hope to undergo the same type of transformation that his patients did in the book.

A major difficulty is that I don't have a burning passion. I do like studying history with the hope of becoming a teacher, but I am not on fire for it. I am afraid of committing myself to the wrong career path. But maybe as my depression clears I will find it.

Though Alaska is great in the summer, the long dark winters really get me down. I think down the road I may move out of state to improve my life. This is a city where you need a car because of a lousy bus system, snowy, icy, cold climate, and how everything is spread out.

To top things off a.d.d. afflicts me. It is only really apparent to me I think. I have a hard time focusing, especially in classes with long lectures. But I also have a problem focusing on a task, while instead I find myself pacing. I think that part of my problem is self-discipline to do the things I need to, but at the same time my other problems make it very hard to make progress. I asked my doctor for ritalin but he balked because of possible negative government oversight of such things. I have limited funds but I think it might help me.

I always sensed that I had problems. But recently I was tested by a neuropsychologist who verified my beliefs completely. He felt that the depression was the worst problem for me. Despite this professional diagnosis I still have friends who don't believe any of it.

These problems were greatly compounded by my father who walked out on my family. While I grew up in a poor home needing him, he worked at a job as a resort critic traveling the globe. For him the major goal in life was to have fun and sleep with as many women as he could. With his good looks that I did not inherit he carried out that goal very well. Despite all this I hired a company to track him down for me. To my surprise they found him so I made contact. Cheap, powerful computing made it possible for me to inexpensively find him. he was thrilled to hear from me; old age and retirement had humbled him somewhat. We are friends now, with him in the big apple and me in Anchorage. He never apologized, but where would he start?

I have learned painfully about rejection from women who would date me, but not take me seriously because of my lack of worldly success. This has caused me some of the greatest emotional pain of my life. But then I have read books on sociobiology in regards to human behavior. The human courtship ritual with its social currencies in the balance can be cruel. I just don't have enough social currency dollars to make a purchase. So many times I have felt so enraged and frustrated over my genetic failings. To think I have relatives who are engineers.

I feel that with my thorns in the flesh I have been cheated out of the potential I should have had. I have a great deal of frustration over all my wasted years. Most men my age have a degree, good job, and car at this point in their life with which to enjoy life, and attract a mate.

To me cryonics offers a chance to experience life like I should have in the first place. I wish for the doctors of the future to wipe away my genetic imperfections. I feel anger and God and life for being like this, though I experience guilt over that sometimes. I am told that in the everything will be remedied, which I believe, but I want my chance in this world. Most of the very people who tell me things will work out are ones who have no l.d., a.d.d., and depression to hold them back from their goals. They drive, have degrees and good jobs, make love, and have general satisfaction in their lives.

I believe in God but I feel like I have a lack of faith to want to be suspended. If the fundamentalist view of prophecy is true then my frozen body may will be destroyed in the geological and social turmoil of the last days before the second coming of Christ. Then I will wind up facing God in judgement having cowardly tried to avoid him by suspended. The test of my faith for him would be to let nature take it's course and cause me to die naturally. When I read about the life and example of Jesus I feel touched and believe that there must be a literal truth to it. I feel that either dismiss your beliefs or my own would be a mistake.

I find comfort in the belief of a loving God who has this life as sort of a "boot camp" experience for us to be prepared for the next. Though not always pleasant, we are here to learn and grow. Part of the trial of life is that things at least right now are so unfair. But I believe that for those who try to live God's way his spirit will be given to them to comfort and strengthen them.

I am not evangelical but mormon. Our belief that men and women in the next life become gods borders on the extropian. For this belief we have been vilified by some evangelicals. We also believe that men and women are the literal children of God, and that in a "premortal life" we lived with him and learned and grew there. We believe that the talents that people sometimes just naturally seem to have were first developed there and so in this life to a certain extent we are rediscovering them. And we have the belief in marriage having the chance to last for all time and eternity when the bond is sealed in one of our temples and the couple live God's way. To me this is a very powerful and romantic notion.

I almost look at cryonic suspension like I do the exhortation of my church leaders to have a two years supply of food and supplies for times of emergency. I just have a hard time imagining how I would explain to a future wife why a cryonics firm and not she and the kids are the beneficiary of my life insurance policy.

The human lifespan is just too short!! I want to be able to "look over the horizon" in the coming century. Even if I lived to be ninety that would not be long enough to have a solid feel for who really had

the truth, and where the world was headed.  This world is so unfair in 
parcelling out beauty, wealth, and talent.  I want to live in an age 
where the playing field is much more  out.

I am thinking seriously of transferring to a mormon college, Brigham Young-Hawaii campus. Maybe I will find a woman there who will take a chance on me. But before I do that I need to get my grades up and finances in order.

Due to an F grade and two incompletes over two semesters it looks like I may lose
my student loans, and so no more school. I have really shot myself in the foot. My whole is only about 2.3 right now. I know I should have done much better. Part of the problem is my disorganization, l.d., a.d.d., and depression. I must force myself to put forth much more self-discipline, and manage my time and resources well.

Originally I wanted to wanted to start college by taking an intensive remedial program to bone up on the academic basics. But I tested high so they strongly recommended that I go into deeper waters. I think back on it and think I would have had a smoother ride if I had insisted to stay in the program.

I remember being a young man reading a children's Bible. I read the passage about how before the flood humans lived for many centuries! I brought it up to my mother's attention that I wished people still did, and she agreed with me. That moment planted a seed somehow.

I am very impressed with Cryocare and Biopreservation. The efforts and results of Mike Darwin and his colleagues to improve suspension techniques are of the highest caliber. I was taken by how in his writings he is open about the damage that happens to the brain by conventional suspension methods. I would not want to be one of those people already suspended. Fortunately I have hopefully three or four more decades ahead of me for the technology to mature. By the time I'm ready, the technology should be ready. The research being done by 21st Century Medicine will revolutionize how suspensions are done!

Cryocare people claim Alcor is not the equal of Biopreservation in suspension technology. I just hope Alcor and the other groups adopt all the new methods for suspension used by Biopreservation. The decentralized structure of Cryocare should make it less vulnerable to institutional entropy. At least though Alcor and CI is outside of California, so when and if the big one hits you will not be a cryonic casualty. I would like Cryocare to manage me, Biopreservation to suspend, and Alcor or CI to store. I plan to ask for neuropreservation if it is true that to optimize brain suspension you should remove the head from the body. Though if inflation totally devalues my indexed life insurance policy over time I may wind up having to go with CI!

It does bother me how relatively few people are signed up. But in time I think there will be a major change there. To promote cryonics and has any of the leadership gone on the Art Bell radio show? I would assume by now it has been done, but if not it would be a great way to reach millions. The man's ability to sway the public is powerful.

I can't wait till the Hallmark made for t.v. movie version of "The First Immortal" comes out! Considering the quality of Hallmark productions, and the fact that the director of "Lonesome Dove" is doing the movie it should be fantastic. I think the release of this will be the huge turning point in public opinion that you are looking for. Be ready to be swamped afterwards with public interest.

Personally I wish that having lived my life and being in my early seventies I could go to my suspension provider and with the right legal documents ask them to induce clinical death so they could on the spot suspend me! I don't like the idea of waiting around to die and then finally passing away unexpectedly only to have my brain decay for several hours or even days. Mike Darwin's research made this point crystal clear. I think that I should have the right to do this, since it is not by my definition suicide, but instead a calculated risk. I realize that some disability rights organizations are militantly against right to die because they feel that down the road they may be targeted by society as the unfit that should be coerced to their deaths. But I honestly don't see this happening.

I am concerned that while the doctors of the future will reanimate us in perfected versions of our selves, that they may not to upgrade us to their level of intellect and functioning. This may be because they can't, (to be more like them may take modification at the early stage of being a zygote) or because they feel that it would be more interesting to see us try to survive in their society as limited beings for the sake of sociological study. Our hope would would have to be that in time things would
change technologically and socially. At least the reanimated would have each other for company. If suspension were available for me alone I would reject it. I want others from my time to associate with.

The Prometheus Project has really got my interest. It bothers me that they are underfunded at this point. I wonder though if they could really pull off their objective even with twenty million raised over a number of years. With all the billions wasted by governments worldwide it bothers me that the project leaders must almost go begging for such important work.

I read an interview with the
president and owner of Oracle computing, who is worth over six billion. I don't recall his name, but in the article he seemed to have the type of personality that might be intrigued by the project. But of course even getting near the man to submit a proposal would be another story. I can see why Eleizer would want to start a digest to attract the wealthy. I admit I would love to subscribe to it just to see how things progress. Unless I really felt I had something to add I would be silent. In fact you could have two levels of subscribers, those who can input, and those who can't. I would be content to be the latter.

What we should really do is have one of us meet that brilliant young boy that Bill Gates took under his wing to educate and mold. If a reporter could get to him while the bodyguard was in the bathroom maybe one of us could do the same. In a few minutes of conversation and some pamphlets with basic info and website addresses we could implant in the mind of this possible future multimillionaire the memes that could change his own future for good and our own. Think if Bill Gates had been reached as a young man by an early follower of Ettinger! Gates probably at this point is close minded about us and the possiblity of donations, but there is hope with his possible protege. Ten or fifteen years from now the reaching out of one of us to him could pay enormous dividends to a group like The Prometheus Project. I implore Max More and Natasha, along with everyone else to consider this. It is time to hatch a plan!

I especially like the Prometheus Project because I have some nagging doubts about nanotech. This began to develop after reading an article by an actual researcher in the field who wrote an article in "The Scientific American". He said the reality of the situation is that there are huge obstacles to Drexler's ideas. Making mechanisms work like we want them
to do at such small dimensions is extremely frustrating he claimed. He even called those who thought would in time transform the world believers in "cargo cult" misguided thinking. But perhaps over time and with the present impressive funding levels for research the barriers can be overcome. Isn't corporate and national rivalry just great sometimes? Can't let that untrustworthy rival get the upper hand! Now if only cryonics and longevity research could get such reactions.

I am very impressed by the three prominent women of extropianism, Natasha-Vita More(aestheticgirl!), Gina Miller(nanogirl!), and Romana Machado(leathergirl!). Even though certainly they are no longer girls but mature, and very gifted and intelligent women. I am going to have to really improve myself to be worthy of the women of the future if they resemble these ladies!

Well everyone, I just want to thank you for listening to all my ramblings. It felt good to get it all out. I hope things are going great for you all! I look forward to your replies and wish you all the best.

Maybe one day we will all get to attend that party at the edge of the galaxy they talk about or another party sometime sooner. I am really going to try to attend Extro 4 if I can manage. I realize that I am in the presence of intellects far greater then my own on the digest and I am somewhat intimidated at times, but at least I am learning and enjoying myself.


John Grigg


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