X-Message-Number: 13400
From: "George Smith" <>
References: <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #13395 - #13398
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 16:25:18 -0800

In Message #13395, Thomas Donaldson wrote in part:

> ...the major problem in reversibly preserving
> someone is going to be that of how to recover them from their
> suspended remains. This means that the problem of how personal
> memory works becomes quite important. It may be that with good
> technology for vitrification we can avoid confronting this problem
> directly, but one way or another we will ultimately need to know
> how our different kinds of memories work and how our memories get
> "written" (in so far as they are written rather than grown) into
> our brains. It's that problem which some kind of nanotechnology
> may ultimately solve for us... but from what I know of current
> work with vitrification, that solution may come much later than
> reversible suspensions

Then again, it may prove to not really be necessary for our purposes in
cryonics.  It could be that simply restoring the normal physical structure
will do the job even if we still do not truly understand "how personal
memory works".

For example, today some coma patients recover with little or no memory
impairment.  Again, some amnesia victims recover some or all of their
personal memories.  In both cases we have no idea why this happens.  They
"heal" and recover their memories.

When it becomes possible to restore the structure of someone's body and
brain to life, we may discover that there is no meaningful memory loss.
(And by "meaningful" I simply mean a degree of loss which is generally
acceptable by most people.  I forget many things but I don't mind because I
remember enough to operate effectively in society).

Frankly, I truly hope that Thomas Donaldson is precisely right and we end up
having a complete and detailed understanding of the mechanisms of memory.
What a boon that would be all by itself!  I am merely suggesting that it may
not turn out to be necessary when we begin reviving suspensions.

George Smith

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