extropians: The Promise of Cryonics (was Re: ethical problem?)

The Promise of Cryonics (was Re: ethical problem?)

Jeff Davis (jdavis@socketscience.com)
Wed, 21 Apr 1999 01:38:39 -0700

Mike and spike exchanged comments thusly:

>> Michael S. Lorrey wrote: Failing to do [cryonics] is insuring that
>> you WILL have a funeral, which is kind of a morbid type of laziness.
>> Now, making up invitations to your own suspension celebration ahead of
>> time I think indicates you may need to talk to someone...
>Why is that, Mike? In some cases, the person might know the date of
suspension, such as
>sufferers of cancer or especially emphysema. That might be a cool thing:
invite all the local
>extropians and cryonicists in for a last big party, then get on with the
old LN2 bath. spike

Mike says, "...you may need to talk to someone..." implying... well, just as HE leaves it to you, I'll do the same. Then spike says, "...a last big party,..." meaning, well, a LAST party.

           Cryonics is one of my two (at the moment) great passions.  

           Humanity is in transition.  Looking back, We seem to be in the
final chapter in the mortalist paradigm, and looking forward, the preface to post-humanity. We among all the humans that ever lived, or ever will live, enjoy the singular opportunity to personally experience BOTH ways of life. Life within the context of the mortalist paradigm,... AND transhumanity, with its eagerly anticipated (speaking personally ) enhancements, among them an indefinitely extended youthful and healthy life. Those who went before have passed into oblivion, and those who come later, can only know of life before the great change, as a chapter in history. Only WE get to experience fully both of these. Thus, of all transhumans, we will be unique. We will be "the old ones."

Right now, as we near the end of the old way, our thinking (our memetic inventory) is dominated by old-paradigm concepts: wealth, poverty, ruthless competition, war, disease, aging, and death. How could it be otherwise? So, permit me offer you a memetic parable for the new paradigm.

Call this "The NEXT party"


	You say you don't want to die.
	To which I reply, "Then stop planning to die, and start planning to live.
And if you aren't willing to do that, then don't tell me that you don't want to die."

Science is going to conquer death. But if you're so hooked on death, or tradition, or whatever..., so in love with the out-of-date ideas in your brain that you don't want to consider how things might be changing, then go get yourself a shovel, dig a hole in the ground, and prepare for your new career as worm food. There are plenty of people in the world with the intellectual flexibility to deal with change, and a desire for more of the good things of life. You don't have to be one of them. Really, you don't. We're not going to plead with you, and we're not going to cry for you. Simple truth. We don't REALLY care all that much whether you live or die. If you're going to live, then YOU'RE going to have to be the one who cares. YOU'RE going to have to be the one to figure it out. YOU'RE going to have to be the one to do something about it. Bottom line, WE don't need you.

Do YOU need you?

Here's how it works.

At seventy-five, give or take ten years, you decide that the character-building value of "maturity" has passed over into chronic inconvenience. It's time. You call the clinic and rent the main ballroom. Make the arrangements, send out the invites, hire the band. The day arrives. You go to "the club". Everyone's there--dressed in silk, and leather, and sequins. It's a blowout. They play your favorite music, loud. You dance close and slow with all the perfumed sirens. You dissipate shamelessly. Then, as the music softens to a gentle caress, you slide into a plush Corinthian-leather vibro-massage Barca-lounger. Your friends all gather round. They prep you. You lie back and turn on the vibro. The technician finds a vein on the back of your gnarled hand. He's says "We can start any time." You say, "Do it." The technician positions the mike close to you and says, to the crowd and to you, "Count backwards from one hundred." As they chant, your voice is heard from the sound system, " One hundred, ninety-ni…unh."

There's a momentary pause, and then you hear a voice inquire, "Mr._____?" You open your eyes. Your lids are a little sticky, and the light dazzles. You squint, turn your head to the side, and raise your hand to shield your eyes. But your hand comes toward your face rather more suddenly than you expect and, startled, you take in a sudden gasp of air. At that moment you notice two things. First, that the air rushes into your lungs in a powerful torrent, and then, studying it, that the hand in front of your face is as youthful and perfect as if it had been sculpted--living marble right off of Michaelangelo's David.

And you remember.

As you look past your hand, searching for answers, you find that your vision is eagle sharp and crystal clear. You notice how you feel. You feel…MORE! Much more. Your body is singing to you silently, your skin tastes the liquid coolness of the air, your eyes dance to the diamond sparkle of the sunlight, a breeze more fragrant than any you have ever known, down from the mountains, across fields of roses, past the silk curtains at the window, pours into your lungs. Awestruck by the clarity of your senses, and by the power within, you move in slow motion, absorbing every detail. You sit up. Stretch. Breathe deep. And look around. It's a different room. The crowd, the band, the technician and all his gear, are gone. You rub the back of your hand. No needle or bandage. You look around the sunlit room, past the one neatly-dressed man standing calmly by your bed. You throw back the sheet to reveal the perfect symmetry of an athlete's body.

"All this. In the blink of an eye. Just as they said."

Still a bit disoriented, you look up at the man. "How long?"

Recognizing a familiar question, he responds, "You mean, how long has it been?"


"It's been eighty-six years."

You stand and flex your magnificent new body, confirming a miracle beyond belief, yet indisputably true. Then, of course, the realization overwhelms you. Naked and triumphant in the middle of the room, you give yourself over to rapturous motion. Leaping and whirling, singing, dancing and laughing uncontrollably, until, at last, winding down and sinking to your knees, you look up at the heavens with your arms spread wide and tears streaming down your face, and declare, "Oh yes, baby, yes, baby, hot damn, I love you God mama, yes, I love you, oh, yes, baby, YES!"

Thus, with some small preliminary sense of release, and with a huge sigh, you rise to your feet, wipe the tears from your face with the corner of the bed sheet, look over at your audience, and with a wryly disingenuous air of calm, inquire of him, "What's next?"

Without missing a beat he replies, "Well, you are of course, a free man, and can do as you please. But,... we recommend that you allow us to assist you in making..." he pauses briefly, savoring the phrase, "...the adjustment. The world, as you might imagine, has changed somewhat since you last saw it." Gesturing towards a dressing alcove, he continues, "You'll find a set of clothes in there. Join me in the next room when you've finished, and, if you like, we can begin the orientation immediately." He steps into the next room, leaving you with your thoughts.

You move to the alcove, and slip effortlessly into perfectly tailored casual elegance. You stand there feeling, for the first time in fifty years, the delicious vitality of youth coursing through your body. And you hum to yourself your favorite tune, the same tune you were listening too only a moment before, as you lay back in the Barca-lounger:

May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true.
May you always do for others,
And have others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung.

And may you be

Forever young.

Best, Jeff Davis

	   "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
					Ray Charles