X-Message-Number: 1128
Newsgroups: sci.cryonics
From:  (Micheal B. O'Neal)
Subject: Re:  Cryonics FAQ 9: Glossary
Message-ID: <>

References: <> <>
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1992 04:27:01 GMT

Kevin Brown writes:
>cryonics fan - person who likes to talk about cryonics,
>    but is not signed up for suspension (one who "talks the talk")
>suspension member - person signed up for suspension (one who "walks the walk")
>cryonaut - person in suspension (suspension member after launching).
>    (Even though NASA calls the entire astronaut corps "astronauts",
>    most people's vision of an astronaut is someone out in space, not
>    just a well-trained wannabe.)
>traveler - too ambiguous, almost everyone thinks that "traveler" denotes
>    moving around in space, not time

Kevin rightly points out that "suspension member" is currently used
to refer to someone who is signed up.  I also liked his definition of
"cryonics fan".  We should adopt this term.  

My original point, however, was not so much how we currently refer to 
ourselves, but instead how we SHOULD refer to ourselves.  Toward this 
end, I agree that "cryonaut" and "traveler" were rather weak suggestions. 
But, that doesn't solve our problem.  There doesn't seem to be a generally 
agreed upon word or phrase that describes us.  For example, how do you 
explain to someone what your world view is?  I usually begin by asking 
"Do you know what cryonics is?"  If the person I am speaking to answers 
"yes",  I say something like "Well, I'm signed up for cryonic suspension."  
It seems like this situation would be less awkward if we had a unique 
identifying term.  We could then say something like "I'm an X."  Sure, 
at first, people will respond with "What's an X?" and we will have to 
explain.  But eventually, the general public will learn what an X is.

Please don't get me wrong, I am not one of those people who think we 
should rename everything with politically correct terms.  In my opinion,
referring to people with learning disabilities as "exceptional" is silly.  
But this is not the same kind of situation.  We don't yet have a title, 
negative or otherwise.  The key word in the preceding sentence is YET.  
As cryonics grows, its members will acquire a label.  I simply think that 
we should be the ones who come up with that label, rather than being stuck 
with something catchy but unflattering.

Tim Freeman writes:

>I like "cryonicist", "cryonics practitioner", "cryonics fan", and
>"suspension member" as defined by kqb and E. A. Murphy.  I don't like
>"cryonaut" though.
>I am concerned that if we use jargon that feeds the self-esteem of
>naive people, then we'll attract naive people and repel more
>knowlegable people who assume that we deliberately want to attract the
>naive people.  I can imagine some six year old saying "Gee, ma, I
>wanna be a cryonaut when I grow up!".  Therefore I suggest we
>eliminate "cryonaut".

[many things I agree with deleted]

>How about "suspendee"?  It's a slightly ugly neologism, but at least
>it doesn't feed the self-esteem and it has only unarguably true
>connotations, assuming that one has accepted the word "suspend".

Well, when I was six, I was known to say things like "I want to be an
astronaut when I grow up!" :-)  And now that I am a "serious" adult, I 
certainly don't think astronauts are a joke.

But, I do believe I understand Tim's concern: being labeled with a term he 
considers inappropriate, silly, or demeaning.  One that will dispose serious 
people to dismiss cryonics.  I agree.  This is, in fact, why I am arguing 
that we need to work out a label for ourselves.  

One problem I do have with what Tim seems to be saying is that we shouldn't 
have a label that is too inviting to the masses.  Certainly we don't want 
to turn off "knowledgeable people", but at the same time we shouldn't be 
elitest.  My personal opinion is that death is a bad idea and no one should 
have to die.  Obviously, I am not for forcing life on anyone, but I am for 
making cryonics as attractive as possible to the greatest number of people.
In my opinion, this could and should include defining for ourselves an
appealing label.  The trick is to define a term that is BOTH appealing 
to the masses AND acceptable to knowledgeable people.



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

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