X-Message-Number: 16265
Date: Sat, 12 May 2001 10:07:41 -0700
From: Natasha Vita-More <>
Subject: Re 16027: Aesthetics in Cryonics

At 09:00 AM 4/9/01 -0000, you wrote:

>    #16027: Re: 16014: Aesthetics in Cryonics [sbharris]

>It isn't the cost that gets people's attention, it's the negative
aesthetics. Aesthetics explain some of why cryonics can't even be given
away to most people, who react to it rather like the stories of Poe,
Lovecraft, and Shelley. Or the images of Irving, or even King's blueberry
pie story. It does no good to argue with them about the aesthetics of what
will surely happen to them with NO cryonics. We never said aesthetic sense
was rational, did we? People already have their mental defenses in place
about death, and most of these are irrational. These prior defenses would
need to be torn down first, for the cryonics idea to penetrate. And that
process would involve mental pain and wrinkled noses all the way.<

Your response to John Grigg was full of colorful references and examples
and I enjoyed reading it very much.  So much that I wondered by I didn't
take more of your slant in writing the article.  I was, however, focused on
a specific issue pertaining to the human body and future technologies as
well as the moment to moment of our lives in which even the most subtle act
can cause a specific reflection and appreciation of aesthetics.

It is essential in our highly technological future that we understand and
respect the influences aesthetics has on civilization.  Death is not
pretty, no matter how it is performed.  While cryonics may seem unaesthetic
to many, so is the decaying of the body in a wooden box or the burning of
flesh in a furnace.  So, I don't think that this especially is detrimental
to the overview of cryonics.  

What I do think could be deemed as unaesthetic is the lack of artistic
refinement that permeates much of the discussions on technology today.
Kurzweil gets around it because he is artistic and understands the rhythm
and flow of creativity and combines it nicely with a sense of humanity in
his work.  

What we do need to take a look at and critique honestly is how cryonics is
presented to the public.  The most recent Alcor Conference was an aesthetic
experience, as it was held in a very lovely environment and produced a
sense of quality and appeal.  I think this is a fine example.  Much of the
science fiction and fine arts reflecting cryonics is very appealing.
Here's a seemingly minor example of how aesthetics can be produced.  Take,
for example, the layout and design of announcements and the quality and
care put into the CryoFeast.  The CryoFeast for example has been an
aesthetic experience.  Even at Tim Leary's home we experienced a high art
environment.  When I redesigned the logo and the name, I seriously
considered aesthetics - changing the name of the party to CryoFeast from
Turkey Roast was done with aesthetics in mind because some people are
offended by the paradox of roasting a turkey while celebrating life.  Also,
I tried to make the party creative and pleasant by putting up an animated
invitation and art piece each year for the past five years.  Things like
this help.  Rather than being viewed as a symbol of a dewer and frozen
body, we can be viewed as an intelligent and creative society of people who
love life and enjoy aesthetic quality.

When we consider putting stuff in our bodies and adding stuff to our brains
and even taking our brains and putting it into other stuff, it seems messy.
 We we show by design and well written copy what the technology has to
offer in a way that is emotionally appealing it receives a more welcomed

Aesthetics is all around us and we can interact with it at any given moment.

Natasha Vita-More

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