X-Message-Number: 1083
Date: 31 Jul 92 02:38:36 EDT
From: "Steven B. Harris" <>
Subject: Man With Seven Frozen Wives...

Charles Platt writes:

>>I have yet another question for people on the net. Suppose 
that a man's wife is placed in suspension at a relatively 
early age--say, 40. Suppose that he is a cryonicist himself, 
and he believes that she is not dead in the usual sense. He 
looks forward to a time when the two of them will emerge from 
suspension and enjoy a new life in the future together. ...
The man in my example must now feel ambivalent about ever 
remarrying. If he does, and his new wife signs up to be 
frozen, he risks a situation where he, and she, and his first 
wife will all be revived together. In that case, his first 
wife might feel horribly betrayed.<<

   Ahem.  The standard answer that we Enlightened Cryonicists
usually give to modern Sadducees who ask such deliberately vexing
questions to challenge our belief in the resurrection of the
body, is that "ye do err, not knowing the future, nor the power
of nanotechnology.  For in the resurrection they neither marry,
nor are given in marriage, but are as angels."   Angels in an
utterly different kind of life.  Perhaps in space.  Perhaps in
other kinds of bodies.  Perhaps uploaded as virtual beings.  The
social structure is going to be all changed, you see, even as the
social structure of today (the new "family") has been drastically
changed by the advent of welfare, the pill, abortion, and the
shift in mores.  Monogamy is getting rarer even as we speak, and
in the world to come it is going to be rarer still.

   Now, what to tell people to get them to accept this pos-
sibility of future drastic social change now?   Well, I don't
think it's really that much of a problem, because most aren't
going to worry about it.  It seems at first that many second
spouses would see dead first spouses as much more likely to be
rivals, if frozen; and one would think that such a situation of
potential future conflict would powerfully influence the accep-
tance of cryonics.  I might think so too, had I not had much ex-
perience with the real life subculture of Mormonism, in which
exactly this problem occurs.  Modern Mormons believe that men are
literally allowed many wives (polygamy, or more exactly, poly-
gyny) in the life to come.  Thus, good Mormon wives of men who
have a dead wife may expect in their faith to be wife number two
(at the very least) in the afterlife.  Would many such women
nowadays put up with this in _real_ life?  Not on your life, in
Utah as anywhere else.  Utah Mormon women did in the 19th
century, to be sure (with much grumbling and complaining), but
the number who will today is limited to a few offshoot apostates. 
So--- does this possibility bother conservative Republican
sexually uptight Mormon wives today?  Answer: not much, because
they don't have to deal with it.  A wife who is permanently
offstage for the foreseeable future, so to speak, doesn't count

   So-- in short, my answer is that the increased possibility of
such spousal rivalry which cryonics brings is not realistically
going to affect how many people behave now, humans being built
emotionally the way they are.  And in the future when all these
possibilities actually arrive, I really don't think it's going to
be a problem.  Or, rather, other things will outweigh it.  Don't
worry about how many spouses you once had after they revive you--
 worry about whether or not you have the new software.  It isn't
so much that without that new software people won't want to talk
to you, it's that (as Mike Darwin reminds us) without that new
software people WON'T BE ABLE TO TALK TO YOU.  Etc, etc. 
Your marriage is the least of your problems.


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