X-Message-Number: 12246
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 13:05:11 EDT
Subject: Smith, Mazanec, Donaldson

Thomas Donaldson has written many times about the need for cryonicists to 
support research in cryonics, and has also said (if I read him correctly) 
that even a mature nanotechnology will not meet the needs of cryonics 
patients unless cryonicists support the specific research needed for cryonics 
George Smith (#12239) yesterday wrote a very clear explanation of why the 
medical and scientific communities generally will and must have the major 
role in the development of nanotechnology, and probably also in 
cryopreservation (or other biopreservation) of organs for transplant, which 
will likely be useful too for brain work, even if not so intended. 

Mr. Smith said it better than I had previously done, when I mildly indicated 
to Thomas that specific cryonics application of nanotech will almost 
certainly be a trifling matter, compared to the main job of achieving a 
mature nanotech and a mature understanding of brain anatomy/physiology. 

To re-emphasize this, I might remind Thomas (and any others of his 
persuasion) that one important concern of cryonics is the mechanism of 
memory, one of his ongoing interests in PERIASTRON (his newsletter, which I 
highly recommend). This is a large field in contemporary biology; does Thomas 
imagine that cryonicists could possibly make a major contribution here, 
except by some miraculous accident? Of course not. Once we have the mature 
nanotech, and the mature understanding of memory and other brain features, 
THEN will be the time for cryonicists to do (or hire) the relatively minor 
work needed to adapt to our patients' specific needs.

Thomas Mazanec (#12242) wrote something partly similar to Mr. Smith's post, 
with the emphasis on toxicity of cryoprotectants.

What may still not be clear to some readers--especially newcomers--is the 
crucial matter of perspective and allocation of resources, individual and 

21CM and INC are doing important work, with the potential for significant 
improvements in cryopreservation methods in the relatively short term. Money 
directed their way would probably be well spent, from the standpoint of many 
cryonicists. Whether this would be the BEST use of your money (or part of it) 
depends on many factors, some of them specific to the individual. Those not 
acquainted with these companies can get information directly.

Individual cryonics organizations, such as Cryonics Institute, are also doing 
research and development, some of it related "only" to incremental 
improvement in methods and services, some of it to more basic improvements. 
Judging how likely it is that these efforts will measurably improve your own 
chances is difficult, but what we do know is that relatively small amounts of 
money here might be effective, while an effort like that of 21CM will not be 
much improved without much more substantial sums. About all one can 
reasonably say, I think, is that the individual should inform himself to the 
best of his ability and assess his own resources and priorities.

This will not be easy, and the results will not inspire much confidence that 
you are making the right choice. For example, some young people might decide 
that the important thing, from their perspective, is to try to assure a 
perfected cryopreservation before they become old, and that even a modest 
contribution to this kind of research might best serve them. Such reasoning 
is full of holes, in my opinion; but it is an easy way out and will certainly 
be the choice of some. (I ignore those--the huge majority--who will do 
nothing at all.)

Others may feel that the best use of their limited resources is (1) to join 
and make arrangements for themselves, and also family members if possible, 
and (2) to support their cryonics organization, since the strengthening and 
improvement of the organization may be the best way to maximize your long 
term chances.

In between will be a whole spectrum of possibilities. In any case, don't be 
like the legendary ass that starved to death, equidistant between two piles 
of hay, because he couldn't make up his mind which to choose. A choice can be 
good without being perfect. Don't neglect the good while you search for the 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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