X-Message-Number: 11384
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 19:01:09 EST
Subject: Kubrick kaput

Film director Stanley Kubrick has died at age 70--a mere stripling. I guess he
never grew up. Recent comers to cryonics--those within the last 25 years or
so--may be mildly amused or bemused by the following reminiscences.

In the mid Sixties, when THE PROSPECT OF IMMORTALITY was getting some press,
Kubrick was impressed by it and gave away dozens of copies to his friends.
Also interested was a fellow named Ben Schloss. Ben was a biochemist, Ph.D.,
but mainly a wannabee entrepreneur. He learned of Kubrick's interest, and
arranged a meeting in New York among Kubrick, some of Kubrick's rich friends,
some physicians and cryobiologists, Schloss, and myself. The idea was to try
to arouse some practical support for cryonics, although in Schloss' mind the
idea was mainly to mine a little gold.

The meeting produced nothing noticeable at the time. I didn't ask for anything
specific (a mistake, perhaps)--just tried to motivate them to save their
keesters. The physicians and cryobiologists said it wouldn't work and even if
it did it was a bad idea and it shouldn't be tried until first a lot of people
had died and been revived and lived forever. Schloss didn't say a whole lot at
the time, but later, as it transpired, he was successful in putting a small
hit on Kubrick for seed money for a company promoting cryonics or/and other
life extension ideas.

As I understand it, the money disappeared into Schloss' pocket and Kubrick was
annoyed. Schloss hung around for a while on the fringes of cryonics and
antisenescence, trying to sell biological age evaluation systems, then up and
died. Kubrick decided it was more fun to play with films and disappeared into
the wilds of England. 

The only specific reservation about cryonics that Kubrick ever made to me was
the problem in getting prompt attention in an emergency. "You can't even get a
plumber when you need him." But obviously the main problem was the same one as
with other people, and celebrities in particular--too much trouble, too
unpleasant, too likely to make your friends look at you funny, too hard to get
institutional support, and too many other things to do that seem more pressing
and more enjoyable.

He made his choice, but now he won't have to live with it.

However, the adults among us are beginning to realize that maybe there really
will be a tomorrow, and maybe it really will be different and better, and
sometimes if you want something you have to do a little work and make some
decisions that actually require thought.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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