X-Message-Number: 14872
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2000 15:43:49 EST
Subject: Re: CryoNet #14858 - #14868

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John Grigg writes:

> Frankly, I'm still amazed that there aren't already
> millions, or at least thousands, of cryonicists in the
> world. Or at least in the Western countries, anyway;
> 1-5 members might be understandable for Sierra Leone
> or something, but not for a big industrialized country
> like Germany. Even the "hundreds" of cryonicists in
> the US is utterly pathetic if you think about it. This

Ah, I think its only a mystery to cryonicists, John.  Think about it from the 
"other side".  There are a multitude of reasons why people do not join.  
First of all there is going to be the guilt of surviving while those around 
them perish and die.  Their loved ones, family members and friends who will 
NOT become immortalists are a tremendous emotional burden.  Many people are 
afraid to pay that emotional price. If they become cryonocists, they will 
either have to be silently selfish, or go around evangelizing all their loved 
ones to join as well- or live with their loved one's death, guilty that they 
didn't do- say- or pay- enough to save them. Frankly, it ain't gonna be a 
pleasant choice to make.  Second, people will tend to view cryonic suspension 
as a termination of their lives- yes, they do.  They have to DIE to become 
cryonically suspended. Any revival and the life they experience proceeding 
from that revival will actually be an "afterlife" of sorts.  So they're going 
to still have to die to become immortal- to go through death's door, so to 
speak-  from their limited point of view, that experience will undoubtedly be 
viewed as emotionally traumatic, even if its actually as simple as drifting 
off to sleep.  Death, dying, all the associated cultural impact, carries with 
it a tremendous baggage of cultural consequence and guilt and trauma.  Third, 
most people aren't willing to plan for their future.  That's why there's 
social security, and 401k programs (you have to practically beat people up to 
get them to sign up for these!), and most people begrudge planning for 
retirement and funerals and wills or even paying off their credit cards every 
month.  How then to convince someone that can't even manage their present 
life to plan for their next? Fourth, there's that old time religion- yes, its 
a crock. I mean, IMHO, its all made up.  People use religion to get through 
life and avoid thinking about that inevitable slide into oblivion that was 
previously unescapable.  Now, suddenly, there's a chance to keep on living.  
In fact, no one can figure out that it won't work.  And the more they try to 
prove that cryonics won't work, the more it seems that it WILL work.   But 
that means we have to reject an ENTIRE set of societal precepts and 
conventions- to become outcasts in the eyes of the world.  Is it any wonder 
that cryonocists- immortals, if you will, are a tad ornery and sometimes 
perceived as anti-social?  I don't think that's 100% true, but immortals 
aren't the sort to just sort of fall in line under societal pressure. But 
those who do fall in line, well its not an easy choice to alienate from their 
support groups.  And fifth, its easy to do nothing, or procrastinate.  
Regular society (if you'll allow me that definition) gets along by denying 
death as much as possible- not even thinking about it.  When we go to a 
funeral we even put on special clothes- go into another state of mind if you 
will, do our grieving, and then take off those funeral clothes and go back 
into the world of daily denying death may be at the door any moment... so we 
can function.  So to be a cryonocist, you have to live in the world of truth 
100% of the time, denying yourself the warm comfort of fuzzy logic and 
emotional platitude.  

Okay, well, I'd be more than willing to hear what anyone has to say on these 
ideas, positive or negative.  It might help with learning to presuade people 
to sign up.  I do think that as the idea becomes more accepted and science 
improves, people will start to move towards cryonics. But right now, the 
movement is just that first falling pebble that starts the avalanche.  

Mike Donahue


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