X-Message-Number: 10330
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 1998 12:54:15 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Are we having fun yet?

I have the greatest respect for Charles Platt.  No joke.  I mean this truly.  
Yet I was 
surprised to read his response in Message #10320 on the subject of "fun":

He wrote:
>Well, I'm sorry, but cryonics is not fun. How can it be? 

By personal choice.  We can choose to look at life and living from moment to 
moment, situation 

to situation as either a tragedy or a comedy or a drama or whatever, but we do 

We are a small 
>bunch of rebels fighting a dubious battle to avert personal oblivion.

That is one view but it does cause one to view the whole of life as "us versus 
them" and also 

sounds as if the rebels feel it is a lost cause as well.  I would recommend 
limiting this view 

to alternate Tuesdays only.  The rewards of this view feed a "romantic martyr 
perspective" which 

can make us feel heroic.  I am reminded of "To dream the impossible dream", etc.
But surely we 

don't want "martyrs for immortality"?  ("I remember Che Guevarra Jr's 
magnificent stand against 

the deathists in the great battle of 2090.  We owe him so much.  He died for our
sins so 

heroically!  Why we wouldn't be immortal today if he hadn't stood up for 
immortalism at Alamo 
>Along the way, those of us who are actively involved must witness our 
>friends and acquaintances dying, first-hand. 

I would submit that this is the position of all human beings, whether into 
cryonics or not.  The 

fundamentalist Christian might have an even harder time as HE believes that when
someone he 
loves dies "unsaved", they will live forever being tortured in hell!

Moreover, we have absolutely 
>no guarantee that our efforts to preserve them are going to work. We 
>could be wasting our time. We don't think so, but we don't know, and we 
>may never know.

The effort to stave off death may be eternal even after we accomplish our goals 
of physcial 

restoration, personality uploading, etc.  Maybe the medieval belief in a big 
bang will prove 

true and we inevitable face a big crunch or universe heat death,  All could be 

Reminds me of the old story of the fellow who slipped off a cliff and catches a 
vine to discover 

that below him is a tiger waiting with open jaws and above him two mice are 
gnawing away at the 

vine.  He finds a strawberry, eats it and (laughing!) enjoys it!  The enjoyment 
remains a 

>Having said that, I will agree that with my friends in cryonics, I have 
>enjoyed some good times. 

Glad to hear it!  Suspected same!  May you do so forever!

This however tends to manifest itself in black 
>humor of the type enjoyed by paramedics. 


I remember, for instance, 
>driving a cryonics ambulance back to the facility with a friend beside me 
>and a dead person in the back, who had undergone autopsy and a day or so 
>of warm ischemia, rendering his chances of future resuscitation dubious 
>at best. We debated whether he would count as a passenger, enabling us to 
>take the High Occupancy Vehicle express lane on the freeway (minimum: 3 
>persons per vehicle). This of course was a classic case of humor (?) 
>being used as a weapon against a situation that was so damned awful, it 
>was very hard to cope with.
>I can recount many similar examples of "fun" if people would enjoy them 
>here, but someone I don't think that's what the original poster had in 
Nope.  Been there.  Done that.  

I personally assisted in autopsies on a daily basis for three years in the army 
and spent 

several years handling (and training) crisis intervention for suicides.  This 
"black humor" of 

the morgue and emergency room - it comes as a choice to defend us against 
despair and loss of 

If we see everything as tragic and hopeless, our immune system responds, our T 
cell count drops, 

we move toward death.  Gravity pulls us into the grave.  The opposite of gravity
is levity.  

"man is the animal who laughs," suggested Robert Heinlein.  When the laughter 
stops, there is 
somethig important which also drops out - humaness and meaning.

>>From my perspective, there is entirely too much "feelgood cryonics" going 
>on already--

Where?  Put me in touch!  Please!

what I sometimes think of as the Alfred E. Neuman school, 
>where the motto is, "What--me worry?" Often this is an unfortunate 
>byproduct of faith in nanotechnology to save lives under any 
>circumstances. Therefore, I would like to see more realism and less 
>denial in cryonics, which probably means LESS "fun."

Sounds reasonable.  But also reminds me of being chained to the oar in the 

>Outside of cryonics, of course, I have a great deal of fun. 

I suspected you were restricting your "black humor" to the emergency room.  
Thank you.

Indeed, my
>life has been primarily a pursuit of pleasure as opposed to drudgery, and
>I enjoy every day. Currently I have a job that requires me to work less
>than half the time, and the job itself enables me to travel and meet
>fascinating people, whom I write about in the style of my choice, for a
>magazine that values my work. Can't have much more fun than that! 

Then consider sharing this side of things to the extent you might want to 
influence others to 

expect that life is worth living.  Please tell us where we can read these 
pleasant articles!

>But I can think of many other news groups and mail lists that are better 
>suited to sharing this kind of thing. 

Yes.  As I originally posted, I did not know if this subject was entirely 
appropriate to this 
specific newgroup.  I feel it is CRITICAL to the immortalist movement, however.

Here, we're stuck with cryonics, 
>and if you think cryonics is fun, I suggest you are fooling yourself.
>--Charles Platt

Charles Platt may be entirely correct about "cryonics" not being "fun", but I am
talking about 

WHY we should (and why I personally) consider it worth the effort and money.  
The purpose of 

cryonics is to extend life.  An extended life without joy, without happiness is 

If you told me I could live forever WITHOUT HAPPINESS, I would reject it.  (This
is, by the way, 
what I feel is the case with MOST people).

I suggest an experiment if you wish to understand this resistance to living 
longer that we see 

in so many "normal" people.  On any Monday morning find a bridge over any major 
freeway and make 

a count of the number of drivers commuting to work who are smiling.  Correction.
Do it  on 

Friday AFTER WORK when these unhappy people are supposedly going to their 
weekend of leisure.  

Compare the percentages to the cryonics sign-ups.  I believe much will be 

We will not convince others to seek extended or eternal life by portraying life 
as dismal.  

Meaning is what we ADD to life.  If we treat life as war, we are at war.  If we 
treat life as 

fun, a delight, a joy, then we cultivate the habit of enjoying life.  It is a 
choice.  Happiness 
is a HABIT.

Immortality is RIGHT NOW.  You are already immortal unless proven otherwise.  If
you love life, 

you will not choose "otherwise" (as most people do on that freeway every day).

Fear is only useful as a short-term motivator.  It attacks the strength of our 
immune systems 

and makes life miserable.  Greed is a much stronger motivator.  Greed for life 
only comes if we 

want what life has to offer.  DECIDING that life is WORTH living and that 
therefore cryonics is 

DESIRABLE cannot come solely through fear of DEATH.  What lasts is desire for 

Now before I get sucked into an intellectual or deep philosophical argument 
regarding the  

meaning of life (see Montey Python's cinema treatise for this, please), let me 
cut this off.  If 

you want to be cynical, how will this help you?  If you want to be "right" and 
this doesn't make 

you happy, how will this help you?  If you could live forever and have infinite 
power and 

wealth, but you were UNHAPPY, not too many other people are going to be 
attracted to follow 

your lead?  How many people turn away from cryonics because they view life as a 
war which they 
are losing and live "lives of quiet desperation"?

If there ever was a movement which does NOT seek martyrs, if seems to me that 
cryonics must move 
to the top of that list.

Now.  Are we having fun yet?

-George Smith

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