X-Message-Number: 10448
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 00:09:56 -0400
From: "Stephen W. Bridge" <>
Subject: More Selling Cryonics

To CryoNet
From Steve Bridge, Chairman
Alcor Life Extension Foundation
September 20, 1998
Further thoughts on "Selling Cryonics":
Those who read my irritated rant in yesterday's CryoNet may have thought,
"Where's THAT come from?  He did all that publicity, yet it almost sounds
like Steve doesn't want people to sign up for cryonic suspension."  When I
re-read it myself today, I realized it included some background
assumptions that I hadn't written or even consciously thought about for
There are SOME people I do NOT want to sign up for suspension.  In my
four years at Alcor (and my years were not unique in this regard), we
dealt with many people who were insane or mentally challenged in some
way.  Some sent us money a few dollars at a time to "hold for them" in
case they needed to be frozen someday.  (We returned the money, of
course.)  Some thought that we could freeze their recently dead relatives
for 30 days and then have them awakened with their disease and "death"
cured.  Others thought that we were some powerful organization that could
dig up buried relatives or friends from months or years previous and
freeze them to save their lives.  The list goes on and on.
Don't these people have the "right" to have cryonic suspension, too?  Of
course not.  "Cryonics" is not a right; it is merely a choice.  To
persuade these people to buy life insurance and give it to Alcor, to allow
them to sign Alcor paperwork of any kind, even to accept their attempted
donations of funds, would have been fraud.  They could not understand the
decision they were making.
But this philosophy goes deeper than that.  I also don't want anyone in
the general public to sign up for cryonics if they do not understand that
*this might not work.*
When Mike Darwin and I started the Institute for Advanced Biological
Studies, Inc. (IABS) in Indianapolis back in 1977, we consciously and
explicitly set up our paperwork and publicity to avoid fraud -- to avoid
lying to the public or potential members about what we could offer and
what we could accomplish.  (Our attorney strongly encouraged us in this
approach.)  I am sure that part of our reasoning behind this was due to
the influence of our parents -- both Mike's and mine were and are deeply
honest people; but I know that part of this approach also came from Mike's
watching the problems Curtis Henderson had running CryoSpan (the original
New York cryonic services company to use this name).
Mike's approach (and Curtis may have come up with this first) was :  *Once
you've attracted someone to the idea of cryonics, the next step is for you
to try and talk him out of it.*
That's right.  You tell him all the things already wrong or that could go
wrong in the future (the organizations are too small; there are no
guarantees; the damage is severe; the legal difficulties are immense and
murky; there isn't much research going on, etc.)  Then if he STILL wants
to join, you have someone who:
a.  has a clear understanding of cryonics as an emergency, last-ditch
medical technology that might not work, not as a miracle nor as way to
take a cold vacation for a few decades, and
b.  is motivated to help CHANGE the way things are.
Has this approach kept cryonics from growing?  Possibly.  Has this
approach been precisely the only one possible to attract many of YOU to
cryonics?  I think so.  I don't apologize at all for this attitude.
Cryonics is not yet mainstream and is not READY to pursue a campaign of
mass appeal.
The publicity I have done for Alcor ever since I joined it in 1982 has
been done for four primary reasons:
1.  To show government authorities, business people, and the citizenry at
large that Alcor is not a threat to the community, so they should be
willing to let us operate and, in the case of businesses, work with Alcor
as a customer.
2.  To plant seeds in the minds of millions of people, especially the
young, that cryonics WILL someday be the way to bet; so that when the
technology is ready, there will be a large market for it.
3.  To find the occasional individual who DOES understand the ideas
involved and who wants to be part of it.
4.  To help set the stage for a future campaign to raise money for
cryonics research from the general public and from charitable foundations,
just as is done for research in cancer, heart disease, and so forth, by
stressing the idea that cryonics is good for the community at large.
I truly believe that in ten years you'll be able to look back and say,
"Boy, I'm glad we didn't let cryonics grow too fast by appealing to the
wrong people.  Now we're REALLY ready to go to the public and show them
what we have."
Steve Bridge

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