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Cryonics April 5, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Magick & Mystery, Mindfulness, Nature, Spirit & Ego.
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300px-MortTim Urban (Wait But Why) wrote a terrific post about Cryonics ~ Why Cryonics Makes Sense.

After explaining what Cryonics is (and isn’t), Tim counters many of the moral, religious, and scientific objections people have raised to the experimental practice.

If you’re even remotely interested in the topic, his well-researched post is worth reading.

If you want to read it right now, go ahead.  Death waits for no man!

OK . . . let’s continue.

220px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_27

By the end of the article, it’s clear that Tim sees no downside to pressing the “pause” button on death . . .

His conclusion doesn’t seem “silly, gullible, or selfish” to me . . . given his current beliefs about life and death.

But I don’t share his beliefs.

And I do see two downsides to Cryonics that he didn’t explore:

(1) Tim starts the post with an Either/Or scenario ~ Either stay on the plane and go down in flames OR grab the experimental parachute and cross your fingers that you land in a better place.

If those are only two options, grabbing the parachute might seem like a no brainer.

And, for an atheist, like Tim, those may be the only two options to consider.

250px-Astronaut-EVATim sees death as The End.

As a result, he’s satisfied that “being alive is a lot more interesting than being dead.”

But what if he’s wrong?
What if death is not The End?

What if being dead is a lot more interesting than being alive?

What if Cryonics means you’re pressing the pause button on what might be an amazing “after life” experience?

Cryonics means hanging around in suspended animation in a tub of liquid nitrogen for “eons” waiting for technology to advance far enough so that science can un-pause you so you can rejoin the living.

As amazing as that experience might be (assuming all goes as planned), maybe we don’t have to wait.

Maybe death is an immediate transition to something better.

Do you still want to grab that parachute?

vanarsdel7

(2) Cryonics is about preserving and resurrecting the brain ~ based on the assumption that “who we are” is encapsulated there.

But what if that’s not where “we” are?

What if the preservation and resurrection of the brain is not synonymous with the continuation of “me”?

I’m convinced that we are not the thoughts that we think, the emotions that we feel, or the memories that we cherish.

I’m satisfied that there is more to “me” than that.

What if that “something more” (spirit) doesn’t cooperate when we press pause? What if our inner essence flies the coop before we land in the Cryonics tank?

What if “me” is M.I.A. once my brain is “brought back to life”?

What if I grab the experimental parachute, jump into the tank, hang around in suspended animation (with Tim) for eons waiting for the future to arrive, only to find that I’ve landed in a strange landscape with no friends, no money, no home, no job, no bank account, and no . . . “me”?

Donald-Duck-DivingEven though I don’t view Tim as being “silly, gullible, or selfish” in his decision to jump into the Cryonics pool, joining him in the vat just doesn’t appeal to “me.”

Then again, if “me” flees and flies off into the light to enjoy an amazing life after life experience . . . what do “I” have to lose?

Aah . . . that’s better!

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Comments»

1. Under the Oaks - April 5, 2016

Nope. Not going to do Cryonics.
Good Morning, Nancy.

nrhatch - April 5, 2016

If I were 30 years old, facing a fatal illness, with only six months left to live, I might be interested in signing up. Me at 30 was more adventurous than me now.

And, apparently, the cost can be covered by buying an inexpensive (when you’re young) life insurance policy.

So, if I had not lived a “full life” yet . . . I might give it a go.

2. Jill Weatherholt - April 5, 2016

I’m with Pix…I’ll pass! 🙂

nrhatch - April 5, 2016

The younger we are, the less life we’ve lived, the more likely we’d feel like “extending” it if it were “cut short.”

Tim includes a Step 12 ~> dying again for the first time. He realizes that even if Cryonics successfully re-animates someone, that someone won’t want to live forever. As he put it: at some point “you’ll have lived the complete life you want to live.”

For me, I’m likely to reach that point without the aid of Cryonics.

3. L. Marie - April 5, 2016

And I agree with Pix and Jill! A big no to cryonics!

nrhatch - April 5, 2016

One of Tim’s thoughts is that we’d come back and live a virtual life:

It could be even crazier if you wake up in a virtual world after having had your vitrified brain data uploaded to a computer. You wouldn’t feel like you were in a computer—you’d feel every bit as real as you did when you were a human, except now everything is amazing and magical and you can spend almost all your time fulfilling my lifelong dream of sliding down rainbows like this care bear.18

I picture you as an animated Hello Kitty!

4. Rainee - April 5, 2016

I like the way you have dealt with this topic Nancy – putting your case but with a touch of lighthearted humour 🙂

nrhatch - April 5, 2016

Thanks, Rainee. Tim’s article (like “all” of his posts) is well written and comprehensive. Before reading his article, I thought Cryonics might make sense for someone “in their prime” when they die (e.g.,still 37 with a smoking hot bod), but I couldn’t imagine coming back to life in an “old, tired, worn out” body.

Tim thinks that, by the time science knows how to “un-pause” us, they will be able to revive us into a supercharged 20-year-old body.

The future-y stuff might be cool and fun beyond your comprehension. You might have previously been 84 and aching everywhere and forgetful, and suddenly you have the body of a perfectly fit 20-year-old, or maybe something even better, like a super-charged synthetic body that doesn’t feel pain or exhaustion and can’t get sick. Your old, forgetful brain could be repaired and full of vitality you haven’t experienced in 50 years. And best, you might be surrounded by friends and family who were also cryopreserved and are unbelievably excited to see you. It could be rad.

Cool!

That gave me “cause for pause.” Because I would love to know what I know now . . . housed a 20-year-old body!

5. Ally Bean - April 5, 2016

Not for me, either. Scary to think that I’m only my brain. My heart’s a much better me than my brain.

nrhatch - April 5, 2016

The Body-Mind connection may be stronger than those who have only had their heads preserved realize ~ waking up with just a brain might make them feel a bit like the Wizard of Odd!

6. Kate Crimmins - April 5, 2016

What? If I can’t have my friends, my favorite restaurants (read pizza here) and my favorite music, what’s the point of coming back? I’m following everyone through the light.

nrhatch - April 5, 2016

1. Sign up with your 3 closest friends so you can share a vat with people you know.

2. Bury a time capsule with money and your favorite music, magazines, and snacks where NO ONE will disturb it.

3. Once you and your friends are revitalized, you can dig up your stash and head for the closest Starbucks . . . unless, of course, coffee is no more. In which case, see Tim’s Step 12.

Val Boyko - April 6, 2016

Now you’re talking!! 😋

nrhatch - April 6, 2016

Signing up with a few “besties” would make the whole experience more better.

7. suzicate - April 5, 2016

No thanks to Cryonics! I prefer to take my chances as those before me have…and I don’t think death is the end by any means. No matter what we believe is in store for us I think we’ll all be quite surprised when it happens.

nrhatch - April 5, 2016

We might be surprised . . . or we might feel like we’re back HOME where we started.

8. anotherday2paradise - April 5, 2016

I’ve never even considered Cryonics as an option. I’ll take my chances with the afterlife or not. If I was in a plane going down in flames though, I’d definitely grab the experimental parachute. 😀

nrhatch - April 5, 2016

Tim sees “reaching for the experimental parachute” as the equivalent of jumping into the Cryonics Pool.

Not sure I see it quite the same way . . . unless the parachute is going to take years and years and years to reach terra firma.

anotherday2paradise - April 5, 2016

I agree with you Nancy.

nrhatch - April 5, 2016

Geronimo!

9. Carol Ferenc - April 5, 2016

Umm . . . no, thank you. Interesting debate, though. “Maybe death is an immediate transition to something better.” Now, that’s an idea I love, Nancy!

nrhatch - April 5, 2016

Tim’s article is terrific. He and I didn’t reach the same conclusion about Cryonics, but that may be a product of our relative ages as well as differing perspectives on what life after life may be like. He sees it as a VOID. I see it as teeming with possibilities. Like time travel!

Even if I can’t prove it, I don’t believe that “this” is all there is.

Carol Ferenc - April 6, 2016

Well said! I couldn’t agree more, Nancy.

nrhatch - April 7, 2016

Time will tell . . .

10. Val Boyko - April 6, 2016

Nancy, I love how you stated your position here and countered Tim’s perspective. 💛
I’m fascinated how people get so wrapped up in things that they don’t know the answer to, but believe in so strongly…. as if only they have the answer.
To each his own. Its only our beliefs after all.
xo

nrhatch - April 6, 2016

That’s what I love about Tim’s writing in general and this article in particular. He started out with this assumption:

Cryonics, or cryogenics, is the morbid process of freezing rich, dead people who can’t accept the concept of death, in the hopes that people from the future will be able to bring them back to life, and the community of hard-core cryonics people might also be a Scientology-like cult.

Instead of rejecting it out of hand, he investigated. Dug deeper.
Examined each aspect of the process.

And ended up with this well-researched and well-reasoned position:

Cryonics is the process of pausing people in critical condition in the hopes that people from the future will be able to save them.

At that point he had enough information to decide whether he wanted to sign up.

Val Boyko - April 6, 2016

I am a sucker for detached analysis and clear thinking too!

nrhatch - April 7, 2016

Sometimes we just know ~ we are instilled with the knowledge we need. That’s my favorite way of accessing information.

When intuition doesn’t provide what I need, I turn to logic. Once I reach a decision, I “swallow it” to see if my gut agrees.

11. Debra - April 6, 2016

You raise some very interesting counterpoints in wondering where the real “me” resides. I really don’t like the idea of being suspended anywhere, to be honest. And to “come back” without my family and friends holds no appeal to me. But it is indeed a fascinating conversation and I do wonder where science is going to continue to take us. I think the conversation I have with myself and wonder about is more directed towards what is life going to look like if we add 30 or more years to the lifespan? Will we welcome that or see it as a burden? Very interesting, Nancy!

nrhatch - April 7, 2016

Not long ago, I saw a segment on the news featuring a birthday party for a centenarian. The reporter did her best to squeeze some small drop of excitement or joy out of the celebrant . . . to no avail.

Living for 100 years was at least one year too many for the guest of honor ~> life was now a burden, not a blessing.

I expect I would feel the same.

12. BunKaryudo - April 7, 2016

Like most people, I’d like to live a long, happy and healthy life. I can’t imagine living forever, though. Even just living for 10,000 years would mean having to come up with topics for 521,428 weekly posts.

nrhatch - April 7, 2016

Wow! That would be some Archive to scroll through!

BunKaryudo - April 7, 2016

Wouldn’t it just? 🙂

nrhatch - April 7, 2016

A ponderous pile of posts!

13. Patricia - April 11, 2016

Interesting but I am not personally interested. I have the same thoughts as you and will take my chances when the time comes to go.

nrhatch - April 12, 2016

I expect the idea will hold less and less appeal with each advancing decade.

I’ve lived a good life. Not sure I need or want an “encore.”


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