X-Message-Number: 10444
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 1998 11:35:14 +0100
From:  (John de Rivaz)
Subject: Re: selling cryonics

In "Selling Cryonics" Jeff Davis worte

> Disguise the idea and sneak it in (fable or folk tale or TV series). 

This is already happening, spontaneously as far as I can see. There are many 
books, films, tv series which are centred on cryonics or even feature it as 
a background to the plot.  In fact I think if there was an opinion poll 
which asked people.

Do you believe that it is possible to freeze people and revive them in good 

An appreciable portion of the world's population would say "yes".

	Cryonics is not for everyone.  Establish entry requirements. Make 
candidates pass an exam. (Yes, it's a trick, but you have to help them get
past their own defenses.) Cryonics is not for everyone.  Exclude murderers,
rapists, child-molesters, armaments manufacturers, politicians, tobacco
company execs.  Cryonics is not for everyone.  Only the: elite, fortunate,
hip, worthy, just, wise. etc. get into cryonics.  Only the "right" people
will be smart enough to recognize that "Once-in-a-Lifetime" opportunity,
and gutsy enough to go for it.  Head down in a dewar of liquid nitrogen,
everybody is special.

This might have worked in the early years of the 20th century, but now it is 
fraught with difficulties. It is a ghastly idea, ghastly in the context that 
it is openly elitist and selective and smacks of socialism, national 
socialism, communism and so on. Blatant elitism is not "politically correct" 
and is not acceptable by much of the public at large.

> Now, you CAN take it with you. 

No. Most people cannot see five years into the future. Few indeed are 
willing to look more than a few months into the future. 

> (re pet suspensions)

I think that all of the established organisations will do these for their 
suspension members, but not for others. They have a legitimate worry that 
people may make such arrangements in time of grief, and later see the 
situation as an opportunity for legal adventuring. [Some lawyer may suggest 
to them that they can get rich quick by suing the cryonics organisation on 
the grounds that it has raised unreasonable expectations at a time of 

Pet cloning is an isolated operation that may or may not succeed. To me I 
think it is just as legitimate as breeding thoroughbreds. It could be argued 
that breeding thoroughbreds is a sort of cloning. If you like a particular 
breed of dog, for example, when the one you have dies you can get a very 
similar pet back by buying another of the breed and training it in a similar 
manner. Call it by the same name, and you can even forget that your original 
pet has perished.

Nevertheless, opportunists may find that they can get fee income by 
attacking cloning operations as they do with anything new. This is, 
unfortunately a side effect of society today. Pet cloning may or may not 
survive this. My guess is that it will appear in non-litigious lightly 
regulated countries first even if it is stamped out in the developed world. 
Remember the sex change operations in some African city - Casablanca wasn't 

The main point of this is that a backlash against indiscriminate pet 
cryopreservation could damage the existing human cryonics movement and those 
suspended, because of the opportunity it would provide to legalist 

The Society for the Preservation of Cultural Treasures.  
	What is a Frank Sinatra worth? A George Burns? A Barbra Streisand?  
Pablo Casals? A Lauren Bacall?  An Oprah Winfrey?  A Michael Jordan?  An
Albert Einstein?  These people, and others like them are (or were) loved by
MILLIONS.  Millions who would readily pay to "save" them.

An interesting idea, but I would somewhat doubt that it would work. It could 
be possible to recruit a million people contributing $1 nett of expenses 
each (gross contribution say $10 to allow for making the club totally legal 
and conformist). What would be difficult is persuading the close family of 
the idolised deceased individual to allow this money to be used in 
cryopreserving that individual. Bear in mind also that it would be difficult 
to collect the money until the time of emotion of the death, and at that 
time it would be virtually impossible to get "the remains" for 

I suppose that one could start with clubs for famous people who have been 
reported to have expressed a vague interest. I think Alcor has had some 
celebrities reported to have visited them. Also, even if the celebrity is 
not cryopreserved due to actions of relatives, the constitution of the club 
could provide for the money going to a second choice or even just to fund 

I'll be interested to see if there are any other comments. The Internet 
could be a good recruiting ground if such a venture is considered sensible. 
Personally I have great doubt though whether this is a good idea.

  Every day, in oncology clinics around the world,
people are being given a death sentence.  The doctor describes two options:
we can make you comfortable, or we can experiment on you.  Most people are
aware of a third option--the Kevorkian option--but few know of the cryonics
option. In light of the staggering numbers, the terror and tragedy, the
pain and suffering and expense, if cryonics had no more to offer than
bouyant hopefulness it would be a blessing on that basis alone!  But it has
SO MUCH MORE to offer!

I couldn't agree more, cryonics does have so much more to offer. Pre-mortem 
suspension should, logically, be offered in very hospital and doctor's 
offices throughout the world.  But again the legal system and general 
attitude makes the risk of legal and ethical attack too dangerous. We live 
in a world where money is king, and this is probably the most efficient way 
of running the world. But there is an unfortunate side effect in that making 
money by legal opportunism is a highly effective way of doing it. The 
success to risk and work ratio is much better than trying to make money by 
creating something useful. This side effect is responsible for terminally 
sick people being tortured to death (heroic and experimental surgery) as 
opposed to being treated humanely by cryopreservation.

Look at it this way, though - if we lived in a world where everything was 
decided by a government committee, cryonics would never have even been 
suggested, let alone got to the state where it is today. (Neither would many 
other things we now take for granted - we'd still be in the age of the horse 
and cart. All advances were once the territory of crackpots. For example, it 
was Marconi's ignorance of contemporary ideas amongst professional 
scientists about radio that enabled him to advance the subject.) I hate the 
lawyer mentality, but unless we can find a cure for this side effect of 
capitalism it is better to live it as best we can rather than want decision 
by central committee. 

Dr Kevorkian's self imposed task is trivial compared with trying to get 
pre-mortem cryonics accepted. It is much easier to destroy as opposed to 
repair or build. Once someone is dead there is nothing any law court can do 
about it, but if someone is cryopreserved, a law court can kill them very 
easily, and what is more use the opportunity to kill everyone else who is 
cryopreserved. That is the difference.

I am sorry most of what I have said is negative. But I do thank Mr Davis for 
his thought provoking article and I hope that it generates much fruitful 

Sincerely,     * Longevity Report:  http://www.longevb.demon.co.uk/lr.htm
John de Rivaz  * Fractal Report:    http://www.longevb.demon.co.uk/fr.htm
**************** Homepage:http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/JohndeR
    In the information age, sharing can increase world wealth enormously,
        because giving information does not decrease your information.

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