X-Message-Number: 1164
From:  (Peter Alexander Merel)
Newsgroups: sci.cryonics
Subject: Loss
Message-ID: <>
Date: 26 Aug 92 03:26:51 GMT
References: <> <>

tsf+@cs.cmu.edu (Timothy Freeman) writes:
>Archive-name: cryonics-faq/part9
>			     Words to Use
>biostasis - Synonym for "suspension".
>clinical death - A person is clinically dead if they are in cardiac
>arrest and their pupils do not contract when light is shined into them.
>information-theoretic death - A person has reached
>information-theoretic death if a healthy state of that person could
>not possibly be deduced from the current state.  The exact timing of
>information-theoretic death depends on presently unknown details of
>how the brain works.  The current best estimates put it several hours
>after clinical death.
>legal death - A person is legally dead if a doctor has signed a death
>certificate with his or her name on it.  This tends to happen when the
>doctor believes that modern technology will not be able to restore
>them to health.  The criteria for legal death change with time.
>revival - The process of restoring a clinically dead person to health.
>suspension - The process of preserving a person for eventual revival,
>usually by freezing in liquid nitrogen.  This happens after legal
>death but hopefully before information-theoretic death.

There were some interesting followups here but they've been lost at this site.

I've been thinking about the words to use in conversation. I'm not at all
comfortable with whipping out "biostasis" and "information-theoretic death" and
"suspension" in casual conversation - they beg the response "You mean
dead, don't you?" which is fine if you feel like proselytizing but lousy
otherwise. Similarly "patient" is provocative, but we don't want to use the
word "corpse", which implies "dead". Corpsicle is okay if you're being flip,
but wrong if you're being serious.

We need words that convey the emotional impact of "death" but without
the semantic content. I think that we can adapt words that are already
in use.  If we won't see someone again for an indefinite period,
whether through separation or "death" then we say that we have "lost"
them. We tell the bereaved that we feel sorry for their "loss".  I see
no reason why cryonics should not use the word "loss", on the understanding 
that if someone is Lost then there may be a way that they can be Found.

It would follow that "Patients" in "suspension" are descriptions of
how to find the Lost - they're Maps. "Revival" is following a Map to
Find someone you've Lost. The people who Keep the Maps are Keepers. The
people who eventually follow the Maps are Finders. If you get Lost and
you don't leave a legible Map by which you can be Found then you are Dead.

I'll admit these terms are a little ambiguous - christians use them in
a subtly different context, and other folk who are just not hip will
say "Lost" and mean "Dead". Still they're a lot more intuitive and easy
to say than any word that begins with "cryo".

They also yield a pedagogical description - "Your <X> has gone to
Neverland, where she/he's with all the other Lost People, and you might
not see hir for a long long time. But we've got a good Map of where
she/he is, so one day maybe you'll see hir again when we figure
out how to read hir Map."

What do other folks think?

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