X-Message-Number: 10648
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 17:41:06 -0500
From: "Stephen W. Bridge" <>
Subject: Adjustments to Revival

To CryoNet
From Steve Bridge
October 27, 1998
In reply to:  Message #10636
              From:  (Tom Mazanec)
              Subject: 2 questions
              Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 13:32:18 EDT
>1.  Has anybody any information on how a person's mind might change
>over a period of centuries? For example, will the growing number of
>memories make it difficult or impossible to store new ones or access old
>Will the "maturation" of centuries make people as different from
>decades old adults as they are from years old children?
I have no answer to this question, although some "memory experts" might
have guesses.  Since no one has yet lived for several centuries, an exact
answer is impossible.  And we may well develop many ways of enhancing
brain growth and memory storage in the future, completely changing the
nature of the problem.  I suspect that, at our current state of knowledge,
this is just one of those surprises we have awaiting us in the future.
>2 Does anyone have any information on how people would emotionally
>  respond to waking up in the, say, 22nd Century? Will there be problems
>  if nobody you knew was suspended and you are the only one of your
>  society around? How about the future shock of going from our low-tech
>  culture to a high-tech one? Will learning that the 100th American
>  president is a genetically engineered raccoon bother you? :-)
We HAVE discussed this issue quite a bit in cryonics, including a number
of messages in the first year or two of CryoNet.  At first glance, it
might seem like we have no way to know this answer either, since no once
has awoken from cryonic suspension.  However, there are several common
occurrences which HAVE happened and which are analogous in some ways to
awakening in the future.
There are several occurrences of people having been in long comas or near
paralysis states for up to several decades and then recovering (usually
not 100%, though).  One interesting book, made into a movie with Robin
Williams and Robert DiNiro, is *Awakenings* by Dr. Oliver Sacks.  This
book investigated people who were given L-Dopa and awakened from decades
of a Parkinson's Disease-like state caused by a type of encephalitis.  To
overgeneralize, the more intelligent and flexible people adjusted much
better than other patients.
But there is a much better example in the backgrounds of nearly every
person in America.  The American people are a product of ancestors who
came (or were kidnapped) from many very different civilizations, with
different languages, cultural mores, even different meanings for common
facial gestures.  They often left their families behind and came to the
New World knowing no one.
The smart ones, who were also willing to work hard at whatever came along,
succeeded, some becoming rich and powerful.
This is still happening today with immigrants from all over the world.
One personal example is of a young man I met several times.  He was a
starving African orphan in West Africa who was seen on *60 Minutes* in
1985 by an Indianapolis couple.  They flew to Africa and adopted him.  At
the age of 13, he could speak parts of several languages, but had never
been to school and could not read or write any language.  In addition, he
had a club foot, malaria, tuberculosis, and a twisted spine.
In Indianapolis, he often came to visit the library I worked at, and it
was interesting to see his adjustment.  After a few months, he was a part
of the normal youth culture, and by the time he finished high school, he
was accepted on a scholarship to Georgetown University.  He just graduated
last spring and plans to enter the diplomatic service.
It is possible he is simply naturally smarter than the average human; yet
he had to overcome much more than most suspendees will have to overcome
when awoken in the future.  I anticipate that the reawoken will have
access to all kinds of accelerated learning programs, possibly integrated
into their brains.  Not to mention that they will not have malaria,
tuberculosis, etc.
If you know how to make friends today, you will be able to make friends in
the future.  If you know how to work hard now, you will be able to do
whatever is necessary to adjust to the future.  If you a loner or a lazy
bum expecting everything to be handed to you.... well, good luck.
Finding out that the American President is a genetically engineered
raccoon might be a *welcome* surprise, actually.  After all, how much
worse could a raccoon be than some of the humans we've already had?  At
least you could be sure that his hands were clean.  <grin> But actually,
that also should mean there is a wide acceptance of diversity in American
culture -- which may be darned important for the highly varied and
individualistic group of people currently signed up for the freezer.
Steve Bridge

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