X-Message-Number: 10029
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 1998 14:49:52 EDT
Subject: recruitment questions

Scott Badger (#10022) asks for comments on the thesis that cryonics
recruitment will remain low, because few will join until patients have been
revived, and patients will not be revived until virtually everyone is already
immortal, because repair of freezing damage is probably harder than
elimination of senescence and other diseases.

First, Dr. Badger temporarily forgot that--with luck--we will make substantial
progress in freezing methods, maybe even suspended animation, before
senescence and other diseases are under control. In that scenario, we should
see increased recruitment, possibly a dramatic increase.

Second, as George Smith (#10024) reminds us, sales psychology and sales
personalities allow wide variation of results in any given scenario. The
difference between success and failure can be hair-thin. There were several
points in the history of cryonics where we might have blasted off, but missed
the opportunity. Saul Kent cites the failure of insurance man Irving Rand as
evidence that salesmanship can't do the trick, but that is only anecdotal
evidence of the narrowest kind. 

As I have repeated ad nauseam, the stock market can be "obviously" overvalued
or undervalued for extended periods. Then some psychological
trigger--unidentifiable even in hindsight--reverses the mood, and we have a
crash or a lift-off. Or if you want a crude physical analogy, water can
supercool but not crystallize until it is seeded or shaken, then suddenly turn
solid. In cryonics, such a trigger could be of several varieties.

Below the surface, unknown even to the individuals involved, minds are
churning and re-evaluating. Millions of people have had some exposure to
cryonics, and have had it in the backs of their minds for decades. They are
getting older. Meanwhile, every dramatic advance in technology (even if not
narrowly relevant) tends to make our thesis more credible.  

Incidentally, before I forget it, I think Mr. Smith said something about
"Don't try to sell cryonics to the Pope or a Cardinal." Actually, some years
back, we had a phone call from someone in Rome claiming to represent a dying
Cardinal. Nothing further came of it, but who knows? More to the point, in New
York many years ago a priest consecrated a cryostat, with permission from his
bishop. And just last month a priest was instrumental in convincing hospital
personnel to cooperate in the case of Natasha Matic. In any case, don't
overestimate the obedience of Catholic masses to the Vatican; look at the
birth rate in Italy and among other European Catholics. Never forget the
prevalence of double-think. People often don't mean what they say, even when
they think they mean it.

Regardless of any of this, the bottom line is that we do what we can do, old
or new. If we can dream up brilliant sales ideas, or produce break-through
research, or find more charismatic leaders, fine. If not, we keep on doing
what we KNOW produces SOME results, and remember that our tide is coming in. 

When a few of us started Cryonics Institute in 1976--being dissatisfied with
the then-existing organizations--our intention was, at minimum, to create a
stable organization to take care of us and our families. If we could recruit
others to help us and themselves, so much the better. We have long since
accomplished our minimum goal, and now have more ambitious plans to maximize
our chances and extend the opportunity to larger numbers of people. We would
prefer leaping to plodding, but we will progress in any case.

Yet again to the fence-sitters and procrastinators: Acting NOW will not only
avoid the risk of unexpected emergencies without preparation, but will also
improve your chances in indirect ways. It will help your organization (and
cryonics generally) grow sooner, rather than later, which could be crucial to
your chances. It will change your mind-set to influence you and those close to
you for the better, which in turn .you get the idea. Positive feedback!

By the way, we had more negative than positive comments on the music on our
web site, so we removed it. Personally, I think "Somewhere, My Love" is a
wonderful cryonics song (check out the words again, if you have forgotten),
but maybe that wasn't the right place for it. 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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