X-Message-Number: 18456
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 19:47:50 EST
Subject: Re: summit & new org/functions

I would like to pursue the issue of a summit agenda further, responding to 
Bob Ettinger's comments, as promised, and expanding further on my own.

He says: "I believe all the extant organizations are capable of protecting 
current patients even if future business falls off to zero, which is 
unlikely. Even if our relative share decreases, as it certainly will, our 
absolute numbers should increase." I agree to the extent that both 
organizations have done just about all that they could do to protect their 
preserved patients, perhaps for the foreseeable future, but there is also a 
much longer and more tortuous  UNFORESEEABLE future.  That future will very 
likely include legal, religious, and 'ethical' attacks, including demands 
that all frozen patients be immediately brought to room temperature and given 
a 'proper' burial.  We should also keep in mind that those now frozen and 
being frozen with today's technology will have to be maintained in that state 
not only for many decades, perhaps centuries, during which time freezing 
technology will have advanced well beyond the present.  I already detect a 
sentiment among some members that those not preserved through the latest 
vitrification procedure are worthless chunks of ice.  Indeed, it has been 
suggested that some sort of malpractice action should be taken against those 
using more primitive methods.  On the other hand, most of us realize, I 
think, that there is a certain principal at work here of 'first' and 'last', 
namely that the first [cryopreserved] shall be last [revived], and the last 
[preserved cryo or through some heretofore unknown technology biostaticized] 
shall be first [revived.]  We cannot accept the alternative formulation that 
the last shall be first and the first NEVER.  Our debt and obligation to 
pioneers such as Dr Bedford must be sustained and as near absolute as 
possible.  This, I think should be a collective burden of cryonicists, not 
one carried only by a particular service provider. 

 Ettinger also writes: "Umbrella organizations have been frequently suggested 
but have never come near realization. At the projected summer meeting in 
Michigan, and by agenda-building correspondence before then, CI and Alcor and 
ACS and perhaps others will review many options. Cooperation in various areas 
does not necessarily require creation of new entities. Dr. Havelock suggests 
an umbrella 
organization might be accorded more respect and create a better public image, 
and of course most industries have their own professional associations, but 
cost/benefit calculations are difficult."

I hear a concern for strained and overextended resources and talent.  
However, there are these needs that the current organizations can't or won't 

1.  Objective, unaligned information clearinghouse. Helping users understand 
their options and make intelligent choices. When I decided that it was time 
to reconnect a long-standing relationship with the movement, my first 
encounters were only with ALCOR.  From their publicity it was difficult to 
figure out what the whole field looked like and no way to realize that there 
was an alternative service provider. I could imagine myself moving to Arizona 
to take advantage of their facilities but it would require leaving my job, 
perhaps my wife, my friends and everything I valued about my present life 
except the life itself.  Not an attractive prospect. 

2.  A charitable foundation.  I have followed with interest Mr Swayze's 
situation and the gathering momentum to give him a paid-up membership in CI 
on a charitable basis.  He will only be the first such case of many, and his 
special circumstances elicit much sympathy, but it is easy to see that a 
flood of such cases would produce a financial sinkhole for the service 
providers.  There clearly must be a wall of separation between the service 
providers of today and the future, and the organizations promoting 
cryopreservation as a charitable endeavor.  This wall must include the 
requirement that no one representing the charity also sit on the board or 
have any decision-making power with a service provider. 
There are many issues to be sorted out here and there is a crying need both 
for some firm policies that make sense but don't do us PR damage by sounding 
too cruel, and enough of a financial base to follow through.  One 
consideration is the need to have a budget strong enough to support carefully 
selected 'free' or 'discount' freezings when there is a clear public 
relations benefit such as a terminally ill child, strong parental support for 
cryonics, a willingness to fully publicize the event, and no other financial 
resources.  It is also possible [who knows?] that an organization with a more 
purely charitable and non-selfish purpose might attract deep pocket donors in 
a way that our current service providers cannot.

3. A persistently pounding public relations office: pursuit of every 
opportunity to appear on radio and television and the print media.  The 
purpose of this unit is to make us appear much larger and more important than 
we really are at present.
[Bob, I seem to recall that your appearances on the Carson show were set up 
by endlessly repeated calls by Elaine, in effect, bugging the show to death, 
and it worked! Even when you were bumped, we got some free publicity.]  We 
have come a long way since then and have done a lot that many can be proud 
of.  The recent past ABC news item was a real gem. But there is still no time 
for sitting on laurels. 

4. An organizational home base for those who have serious interest but are 
unwilling or unable to commit to one or the other of the service providers at 
this time.  I know we make a big thing about signing up, and if you aren't 
signed up you aren't real, etc.  I am glad I made that plunge a few months 
ago, but I dithered for reasons other than psychological commitment.  I 
really didn't know which organization  was best for me.  I just loaded up my 
life insurance to make sure I could make the best choice when the time seemed 
right.  I suspect that there are many others in that boat, and I think they 
need and deserve an organizational base in the cryonics movement.  Perhaps 
the cryonet is it but I think there could be more.  I am not sure what ACS is 
at this point so I don't know if they fill the bill and I am troubled that 
their home base and prime activities seem to be west coast only.  This leads 
into my final point.

5. We need an organizational home base for those who are so geographically 
remote from either Arizona or Michigan to have a realistic chance of 
cryopreservation.  There are many such, a whole group in Australia, a very 
active member in Alaska, some number in Japan, many in Canada [excepting 
southern Ontario which is well positioned for CI if they can deal with US 
customs and get across the bridge at Detroit. As a native born Torontonian, I 
can tell you it is more than a hop skip and jump from Toronto to Edmonton].  
I can hear the howls of protest from ALCOR and CI on this point.  Please save 
me! I know you have members all over the place, but ALCOR can't provide 
bio-transport, especially international and intercontinental, and CI doesn't 
yet have an international network of cooperating funeral directors [Bob, 
please tell me it aint so!].  Furthermore, there is NO EAST COAST CRYONICS 
ENTITY, a sensitive point for me in Maryland, but where do you guys think 
everybody lives? At one time the Cryonics Society of New York looked like it 
would lead the way, especially when they were able to cryopreserve a young 
man with a fatal condition. I infer from sporadic cryonet comments that that 
case and CSNY all ended in disaster but that seems to leave a big vacuum all 
along the eastern seaboard.

To my suggestion that it is time to have more serious and extensive 
with the funeral industry, Bob E replies, "This is an ongoing effort, 
although it has been sporadic, and there have been many small successes. As 
for the big time, one of our CI members is a long-time golfing buddy of the 
CEO of the world's biggest funeral/cemetery operation, but so far has aroused 
no interest. It's just a numbers game, and our numbers so far are insignifican
t to large operators. But he (and we) will keep working."  
My reply: good news all round, but I  picked up on the key word, "sporadic." 
I think we have to be very PERSISTENT about this, especially in attending 
their professional meetings, whatever they are, and making presentations and 
trying to generate panel discussions and so forth again and again.  Get them 
to start thinking about it and to KEEP THEM THINKING ABOUT IT.  I also think 
this should be done not from the point of view of a service provider with a 
direct stake as a potential competitor or collaborator with a proprietary 
stake.  Such presentations should make it much easier for individuals in 
different localities to approach their local funeral directors to set up 
personal plans.
We also need a third type of organization which can step in to assist new 
service providers who will eventually have to be developed in different 
regions, certainly one for Japan, one for Australia and one for Europe and or 
UK.  This incubator function could be undertaken by CI or ALCOR but they have 
their hands full already and they have a built-in conflict of interest, 
fearing a loss of memberships and a stretching of thin resources.
    My apologies to all for such a long post but I think you will agree that 
it is all on-topic.  Ron Havelock, CI member, Ettinger loyalist, but always 

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