A.C. Clarke and Cryonics

Rick Knight (rknight@platinum.com)
Tue, 05 Aug 97 10:44:01 CST

I have made the assertion that I presently have no interest in
cryonics and it has nothing to do with fear.

Max More asks:

What does it have to do with? Do you think it won't work? Or do you
have faith in an afterlife?

Rick responds:

Upon analysis, there may be residual cultural programming that holds
to a "belief" in afterlife. However, one of my favorite sayings in my
more informed years is "belief is a choice" kind of like "I like
vanilla". Why? Because I do. (Actually, my spiritual beliefs were
augmented very much by sexual orientation issues I contended with).
My psychedelic experiences probably provide more compelling "personal"
evidence of something buzzing beyond the physical realm.

Do I think it won't work? Yes, I'd have to say that I think freezing
one's head in the hopes of reanimating it and picking up where one
left off to have just about as much stock as the energy that makes me
who I am has a separate existence apart from my physicality. I do
think it's possible to reanimate a human being if properly preserved.
Who will occupy that reanimated physical space is not clear. I go
back to my question about a person who experiences profound brain
trauma that results in irrecoverable amnesia. The physical body is
there but the self who people once knew is not. Likewise, the person
in that physical body has no recollection of many facets of their
previous life (although they do hold onto to other learned concepts
like the language they were raised with).

Once one reaches a point where death is inevitable, there is certainly
no fear to contend with. Buried or frozen, you are out of the picture
(and I guess with cryonics, that means "for a while").

I guess for me it may boil down to trust in humans. I have trust
issues and contracts and pre-procedural assurances aside, IF the me
that I knew did re-emerge, I may not at all be so thrilled with the
outcome. When I compare this to my choice to believe that my
consciousness is a self-contained energy field that may have sentience
beyond physical mortality, I have, curiously, much less mistrust. It
may be because humans are such predictable assholes; etherial
creatures on the other hand, I don't have as much experience with <G>.