Re: Cryonics Thoughts

Hal Finney (
Wed, 2 Dec 1998 10:20:24 -0800

Keith M. Elis, <>, writes:
> Hmm. Some have said that nanotech is inevitable, Feynman for one. (Or at
> least Feynman said something along those lines in /There's Plenty of
> Room.../.) If so, I wonder if a true cryonicist, if that is the term,
> believing that nanotech is inevitable, would consider the option of
> having himself frozen *while still alive*.

Even if you believed that nanotech was inevitable, it would not guarantee that the cryonics organization would be successful in keeping you frozen until revival was possible. To use a very topical example, if Y2K causes a major economic collapse, liquid nitrogen could stop being available and all cryonics patients would be destroyed. You have much less control over your life while frozen than you do while alive, so in most cases even "true cryonicists" would probably not elect premature freezing.

There was a court case in the 1980s in which Thomas Donaldson, who was suffering from a brain tumor, sued to establish his right to have himself frozen before death. The concern was that if he waited until the tumor killed him, his brain would be destroyed and there would be nothing of value to freeze. Donaldson lost his case, and there is no legal right to have yourself frozen before death in the United States, as far as I know. Fortunately Donaldson's health has remained good, and the tumor is apparently under control for now.