X-Message-Number: 1115
Newsgroups: sci.cryonics
From:  (Micheal B. O'Neal)
Nessage-Subject: Re: Cryonics FAQ 9: Glossary
Message-ID: <>
References: <>
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 1992 19:48:17 GMT

from the cryonics FAQ 9: Glossary

>			   Words Not to Use
>cryonicist - An ambiguous term.  1. One who studies or who tries to
>improve the process of freezing people for later revival.  Use
>"cryonics researcher" instead.  2. One who is interested in cryonics.
>Use "cryonics fan" instead, or perhaps "person interested in cryonics".

I agree that "cryonicist" is an ambiguous term that we commonly use in
two distinct ways, i.e., "cryonics researcher" and "a person who has 
adopted the cryonics philosophy".  I have no problem with the phrase 
"cryonics researcher", but I feel we need a unique word (or at most a 
two word phrase) for the second concept.  This word should not apply to 
someone who is only "interested in cryonics" or a "cryonics fan" but 
instead to people who have adopted the cryonics philosophy.

I have always been uncomfortable with using the word "cryonicist" to
express this second meaning.  It sounds too much like technospeak from 
bad science fiction.  We need a word or phrase that is catchy, easy to
remember, and has positive connotations.  The word should also avoid 
the nerd factor.  

Some people (e.g. Ettinger) are partial to the term "immortalist".  This
is IMHO a major turn off to newcomers.  I must admit my first reaction to 
that term was a dismissive laugh.  I decided that cryonics was a reasonable 
kind of "life insurance" for any healthy person to have long before I bought 
into the notion that aging is a degenerative disease that will one day be 
halted and cured.

A suggestion:

cryonaut -- A person in cryonic suspension.  Also, a person who is prepared 
physically, emotionally, and financially to enter cryonic suspension upon
legal death.

This word is sometimes already used in the place of "patient" when referring 
to someone in suspension.  The word is easy to pronounce, spell, and 
understand.  It reminds one of the word astronaut and brings to mind an 
explorer or adventurer.

Two arguments against the term are that it doesn't really apply to people
who haven't been suspended yet and it has a science fiction ring to it.  As 
far as the first argument goes, NASA routinely refers to members of the 
astronaut corps as astronauts -- even if they have not flown in space.  So 
borrowing this idea from NASA a cryonaut could also mean a person prepared 
to enter suspension at the time of legal death.  As far as the science 
fictionesq sound of the word, I plead guilty.

Another suggestion:

Define a term unrelated to the process (i.e., cold temperature preservation) 
but directly related to the philosophy that motivates its application.  I 
believe that is what Ettinger was trying to do with "immortalist".  

How about:

traveler -- A person whose life philosophy includes the notion of living 
far into the future through scientific means, usually including cryonics.

I think we can all agree that the proposed definition fits all cryonicists
(there's that word again) be they uploaders, downloaders, extropians, 
venturists, neuros or whole body.  It provides a common base but allows
plenty of room for many different points of view.

The term "traveler" is easy to remember and has positive connotations.  
It is not already heavily used in common speech.  It also sounds intriguing, 
not technical.  But does the word fit the proposed definition?  I would 
argue yes.  One quality that seems to be shared by all travelers is that
they have an intense interest in traveling to and seeing the future. 
Cryonics offers a kind of (forward) time travel.

A final suggestion is that we could basically punt and refer to ourselves
as "cryonics activists".  

I am not completely satisfied with any of these, but we do need a term 
that doesn't sound hokey or weird, but does identify us as a group.  Any 

Micheal B. O'Neal                           Louisiana Tech University
                        Department of Computer Science
                                            Ruston, Louisiana   71272

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