X-Message-Number: 12011
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: about Harrington and Becker
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 23:22:21 +1000 (EST)

To Richard Gillman:

I too have read both Becker and Harrington.

Precisely because Harrington does NOT deny death, he has no reason to do
all the philosophical twistings that Becker does. He simply argues that
we OUGHT NOT to deny death. And where in his book does he dismiss those
who deny death as "fools"? --- instead he is constantly arguing that
we ought not to deny death, while admitting that very many do.

Becker, of course, is arguing quite the opposite. He does provide an 
interesting study of just why people do deny death, but by arguing that
we SHOULD do so his insight becomes quite meaningless. He merely provides
his own falsely profound reasons for denial of death. And I would expect
that those reasons would be quite involved --- after all, it's far easier
to SOUND profound if you want to argue a false thesis than to argue a
true one.

In one sense both men failed. Bob Ettinger is quite correct when he points
out that even Harrington never adopted cryonics. Yet even to ARGUE AGAINST
death, I think, deserves some credit. If you want to read another book
which preceded Ettinger's (and in some ways also points out our response
to death and how it has shaped our lives) you may wish to read Miguel de
Unamuno, THE TRAGIC SENTIMENT OF LIFE. Unamuno lived in a time at which
NO ONE imagined any scientific solution to the problem at all, but at the
same time he confronted the fear of death quite openly and explicitly.

As for yourself, I do hope you join a cryonics society if you have not
done so already. And of course also contribute what you can to research.
It is that research which distinguishes us from all those others who
do no more than philosophize about death.

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=12011