X-Message-Number: 1149
Date: 16 Aug 92 19:42:00 EDT
Subject: Alcor IN #5, Part 2.


    June 14, 1992, at the home of Margaret and Bob Schwarz:  Alcor Indiana 
Open Meeting.  Present were Steve Bridge, Angalee Shepherd, Margaret and 
Bob Schwarz, Richard Shock, Anne Shock, Ron Trout, Gary Davis, and Robyn 

    -- Mr. Bridge started with an introduction to cryonics and the 
cryonics movement for guests at the meeting.  He then proceeded with news:

       Alcor Central signed contracts with Mike Darwin's company, 
Biopreservation, to provide cryonic suspension arrangements.  A new 
contract had also been signed with Cryovita, which owns some of the 
equipment Alcor has been using for suspensions.

       A California appellate court ruled in favor of Alcor on the Alcor 
v. Mitchell case, where the California Department of Health Services 
claimed cryonics was illegal (on the principle that the law didn't provide 
for it).  Alcor had won the case preceding this appeal as well.  The 
ruling now provides a solid legal precedent for the legitimacy of cryonics 

       Alcor Central abandoned its recent overtures to purchase a new 
building in Arizona.  Other possibilities were being examined.

       Alcor member Michael Friedman, a Los Angeles lawyer, was shot and 
killed during the first week of June.  Despite desperate efforts by Alcor 
personnel, the LA Coroner's Office did not surrender Mr. Friedman's body 
until almost twenty-four hours after his death.  Mr. Friedman's suspension 
was less than optimal.  (For details, see CRYONICS, July 1992.)

       The American Cryonics Society reportedly suspended one of its 
members in June.  No details were available.

       Alcor Indiana's new Michigan Instruments Heart-Lung Resuscitator 
unit was ordered by Alcor Central, and would be delivered some time in the 
next few months.

       "Late for Dinner," a 1991 film with a cryonics-related story, had 
been released on video tape.

       Guests to the meeting were made aware of the various cryonics and 
immortalist publications now available.  The list was surprisingly long.  
(For a full listing, see PERIODICALS OF INTEREST later in this issue.)

    -- Mr. Shock thanked Alcor Indiana members for contributions to Alcor 
Indiana Newsletter #4, and encouraged everyone (readers and members alike) 
to contribute articles for future issues.

    -- Three articles of interest were passed around.  These included:

       "The Small World of Nanotechnology," AMERICAN LEGION magazine, June 
1992, (sent to Alcor Indiana by Erick Flint).  Apparently nanotechnology 
is rapidly reaching mainstream consciousness.

       "Clue to Longevity Found at Chromosome Tip," NEW YORK TIMES, June 
9, 1992.  Recent research on "telomeres," DNA sequences that seem to 
protect the chromosome and possibly determine life span.

       "Baby Boomers Fight Aging by Dropping Acid (Amino)," NEW YORK 
TIMES, June 16, 1992.  Popular treatment of possible longevity-enhancing 
and "smart" drugs.  This article contained curious statements about 
Deprenyl, a substance frequently mentioned in longevist literature:

    "And in the case of selegiline (also know as Deprenyl or l-deprenyl), 
which is prescribed for the treatment of Parkinson's disease . . . the 
drug itself produces amphetamine as a byproduct in the brain.  'It's just 
like taking Dexidrine,' said Dr. James K. Cooper, a research director at 
the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Md. . . ."

       (Dr. Cooper had further negative comments in this article, 
including statements that Deprenyl's side effects included "fainting, 
headaches, and decreased ability to reach orgasm."  Alcor Indiana welcomes 
informed opinions on this subject.)

    -- Guests were shown Alcor Indiana's emergency transport equipment, 
including the Portable Ice Bath and old Brunswick HLR.

    -- A video tape of Alcor Indiana members being interviewed for an 
Elkhart, Indiana television news show had finally arrived during the 
previous month.  Members and guests were given an opportunity to view 

                                   *  *  *

    July 12, 1992, at the home of Margaret and Bob Schwarz.  Present were 
Steve Bridge, Margaret and Bob Schwarz, and Richard Shock.

    -- Mr. Bridge updated members on the previous month's news:

       Alcor Central had postponed its monthly board meeting from the 
first Sunday in July because of travel difficulties in California over the 
4th of July holiday weekend.  The meeting was being held July 12, and so 
new board business couldn't yet be reviewed.  Possible items on the agenda 
included reelections of board members, more on a committee to acquire a 
new building for Alcor, and the need for another administrative assistant 
at Alcor Central's offices.

       Two suspensions of Alcor members, one from Northern California and 
the other from Colorado, had taken place since the last Alcor Indiana 
meeting.  No details were available.  Alcor performed an unprecedented 
three suspensions during the month of June.

       Mr. Bridge participated in three days of remote standby in Boston 
for an Alcor member with terminal cancer.  (The individual in question 
deanimated and went into suspension on July 27.  Mr. Bridge was not 
present for the procedure.)

       During this latest standby, Mr. Bridge noticed a need for more care 
and understanding in relations with Alcor members' families.  He suggested 
that pamphlets and video tapes with a more positive, less technical 
approach might be useful.

       Because of undefined misunderstandings, the company that 
manufactured Alcor's cryogenic dewars has ceased to provide units for 
cryonics purposes.  Cryogenic storage space at Alcor was reported to be 
adequate for the near future.

       The Alcor facility sustained no damage from a series of earthquakes 
in Southern California during June.

       Three television shows dealing with cryonics would be aired in the 
coming months:

       Dan Rather from CBS had conducted interviews at the Alcor facility.  
(No air time was specified.)

       HBO's special, "Never Say Die:  The Pursuit of Eternal Youth" would 
air August 17, 20, 23, 25, and 31.

       PBS channels would be showing an unnamed special program in 

       Mr. Bridge had been interviewed for "The Aaron Freeman Show," on 
Chicago's WPWR (Channel 50), July 10.  The interview aired July 26.

    -- Mr. Schwarz brought up the following items:

       Since Alcor Central's transport kit supplies were depleted from the 
recent spate of suspensions, Alcor Indiana had sent its supply kit to the 
remote standby effort in Boston.  The kit had yet to be replenished.

       Noting that Alcor's new Heart-Lung Resuscitator had been ordered 
last month, Mr. Schwarz wondered about its progress.  Mr. Bridge explained 
that the unit was held up at the manufacturer, which was waiting on a 
parts shipment.

       The Discovery Channel aired an episode of "Science & Technology" on 
Nanotechnology, June 29, at 8:00 AM.  Mr. Schwarz was interested in seeing 
a tape of that program.

    -- Mr. Shock mentioned that in late June he'd loaned Alcor Indiana's 
second set of Cryonics Presentation slides to Eric Klien in Nevada.

    -- Mrs. Schwarz pointed out a letter in the July issue of Cryonics.  
Jerry Searcy's letter suggested that Alcor members could afford to 
contribute an extra $32 per month to the organization, resulting in 
greatly increased annual revenues.  This amount didn't sound excessive to 
Mrs. Schwarz, who seconded the idea.

                                   *  *  *


   [Section dropped for electronic distribution, since it is essentially 
the same as the Cryonet publcations listing.]

                                   *  *  *

by Richard Shock

    In this age of spineless political campaigns, microscopically invasive 
news media, and self-righteous self-important Self-Interest Groups -- 
excuse me, SPECIAL Interest Groups -- it behooves all of us to remember 
that anything we say can and will be used against us (in or out of court).  
We dare not offend anyone, particularly those who might be offended that 
someone else's feelings could be trampled.  At the current rate, within 
five years none of us will be able to open our mouths without inviting 
violent censure from some quarter.

    To speed the inevitable implosion of this silliness, cryonicists 
should stand up for their sacred right to be treated with kid gloves.  The 
following are a few suggestions:

"The aging" -- chronologically gifted;  experientially enhanced persons.

Beard and Christopher Cerf.)

"Dead (but a cryonics patient)" -- achieving an overall metabolic 

"Dead (but NOT a cryonics patient)" -- assuming room temperature.
(From radio personality Rush Limbaugh.)

"In cryonic suspension" -- thermally challenged.

                                   *  *  *

THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS;  Of Darwin, Freud, and Cranial Fire --   
The Origins of the Way We Think  by Robert Ornstein.   Prentice Hall 
Press, 1991

Review by Richard Shock

    Cryonicists, immortalists, and transhumanist thinkers in general have 
long been preoccupied with the nature of identity, and by close 
association, the nature of "consciousness."  This is hardly surprising -- 
anyone who may undergo major life changes (such as cryonic suspension) 
must wonder what part of himself will be preserved.  For example, if I'm 
frozen and at some time in the future revived by technology that replaces 
most of my cell structure with a nearly exact duplicate of that structure, 

    Central to this question is an assumption that some special form of 
consciousness informs me of my continuing identity.  Were I copied by an 
imaginary 3D Xerox machine, intuitively I suspect I would feel little 
consolation in my copied version surviving should the "original" die.  
Whether from rational belief or otherwise, I would not believe the copy 
shared my consciousness.

    But let's discard my dubious intuition and assumptions.  Before I draw 
any useful conclusions about consciousness, I ought to UNDERSTAND more of 
the subject, or at least develop a broader perspective on it.  At this 
point, any Philosophy 101 sophomore would exhort me to DEFINE MY TERMS.

    This is where Ornstein's THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS enters the 
picture.  No, this book won't solve the ancient question, but then neither 
will cryonicists, immortalists, and transhumanist thinkers in general.  
(In fact, the latters' arguments have suspiciously begun to resemble the 
medieval theological cliche about how many angels can dance on the head of 
a pin.)  However, Ornstein's work may offer a useful starting point for 
those who don't wish to become bogged down in philosophical miasma.

    THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS is not a book for academics, though 
sufficiently relaxed academics might allow themselves to enjoy it.  If you 
truly want to learn the esoterica of psychology or neurophysiology, there 
are any number of excellent textbooks.  But if you're looking for 
fascinating anecdotes, accessible information, and readable nonfiction, 
pick up Ornstein.  If you don't have the time, try it anyway;  the 
language is clear enough for the busiest of laymen to breeze through in no 

    Ornstein states the vital heart of his thesis in the first paragraph 
of the first chapter:  "The mind is a squadron of simpletons.  It is not 
unified, it is not rational, it is not well designed -- or designed at 
all.  It just happened, an accumulation of innovations of the organisms 
that lived before us.  The mind evolved, through countless animals and 
through countless worlds."  Anyone with a good modicum of will power and 
access to up-to-date research material could deduce the rest of the book 
from there.  Nevertheless, read on -- doing so is a small but worthwhile 
investment of effort.

    Taken as an outline, THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS forms a fair 
overview of trends in modern nonclinical psychology.  Ornstein does delve 
into evolution, sketching through a range of ideas that might be better 
learned from Richard Dawkins' THE SELFISH GENE, but the stretch is 
painless enough.  Evolution leads to an examination of mankind's ascension 
to "intelligence", in particular the recent theories of Wheeler, Falk, and 
Fialkowski that suggest a connection between bipedalism, heat dissipation 
in the head, cranial blood supply, and increased brain capacity.  
Mercifully, Ornstein maintains a soft tone, never resorting to the 
evangelistic certainty so common to popular works on psychology.

    Far from solidifying consciousness, the harsh light of scrutiny 
accentuates its nebulous quality.  According to Ornstein (and many 
others), we do not appear to have a single unified mind.  The vast 
majority of our mental processes are probably irrational and unconscious.  
Though we want to deny it, we may very well live and perform at the whim 
of countless instinctive mechanisms that are almost beyond our control.

    Cynics will brand these suppositions as obvious.  They ARE obvious -- 
from an irrational, anecdotal viewpoint.  The significance of Ornstein's 
work lies in his ability to support these conclusions with research and 
bind them together in a coherent model.  A college psychology major might 
not glean any new data from THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS, but he might 
possibly come away with a better comprehension of how the old data 

                                   *  *  *

            "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

                -- John Scully, President of Apple Computers

                                   *  *  *


    ALCOR INDIANA is an unincorporated group of ALCOR suspension members 
who have banded together to help ensure each other's eventual cryonic 
suspension.  Informal monthly meetings are held the second Sunday of each 
month at 2:00 PM (except this September), and are open to anyone who calls 
ahead of time.  Subscriptions to the semi-monthly ALCOR INDIANA NEWSLETTER 
are at present free of charge.  Contributions are more than welcome.

    For information on ALCOR INDIANA meetings, newsletter subscriptions, 
ALCOR LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION, or cryonics in general, call Richard 
Shock (days: (317) 872-3070;  evenings: (317) 769-4252) or Stephen W. 
Bridge ((317) 359-7260).  ALCOR INDIANA COMMUNICATIONS BOARD, a local 
electronic bulletin board, can be accessed between the night hours of 7:00 
PM through 9:00 AM, at (317) 870-5780.

     Write to Richard at 670 S. St. Rd. 421 N., Zionsville IN 46077 or to 
Stephen at 1208 Charleston E. Drive, Indianapolis IN 46219.  Or contact 
Stephen Bridge via e-mail at 

                                   *  *  *

                    5723 W. 85th St.
                    Indianapolis, IN 46278

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