X-Message-Number: 19361
References: <>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2002 15:50:01 +0200
From: David Stodolsky <>
Subject: Re: Pledge of Allegiance Controversy

At 9:00 AM +0000 2002-06-28, "Mark" wrote:
>recent ruling about the Pledge of Allegiance being unconstitutional has
>brought all of the card carrying Christians out of the woodwork.  I have
>heard it repeated several times by now (the day after the ruling) that
>most Americans are Christians.   There my friends is your answer as to why
>more people don't sign up for cryonic suspension, It's not because people
>are worried about whether or not cryonics will actually work.

A worldview requires institutionalization to stabilize and reproduce
itself. That is, an educational system and a system of social control,
including marriage rules, a calendar, etc. Thus, there may even be
agreement that cryonics could work, but a continuation of acting in
traditional ways, since the entire institutional system rewards people for
such action.

There has been very little progress in institutionalization of a worldview
that includes cryonics. The recent exchanges concerning Biblical
predictions and the Middle East War show just how different the worldviews
of those on this list, and presumably those invested in the cryonics
option, are. It has been said that the first casualty of war is the truth.
Arguments about who is right in a war situation cannot lead to any
satisfactory conclusions. In existential terms, one group is determined to
prove that their god (worldview) is more powerful than that of the other
side by exterminating them.

Similarly, arguments about the correct interpretation of religious
documents are resistant to resolution. Unless one side can say, "Their
worldview is really just a subset of ours," which is an incorporation
strategy for resolving cultural conflict (or use one of the other
mechanisms of this type, such as denigration), then the argument is
endless. Thus, discussions like this are a waste of time. A change of
worldview is, in effect, a religious conversion. These typically happen
when an old view has lost its effectiveness in keeping death anxiety at
bay, not by the presentation of logical arguments. The defense of an old
worldview may actually strengthen it, thus challenging it may reduce the
chance of change.

On the other hand, the extension of discussion beyond the technical aspects
of cryonics is crucial if the institutional barriers to adoption of
cryonics are to be overcome. However, name calling and other failures to
hold to a factual basis for discussion will not lead to progress. The
situation in the Middle East is important to our survival, because the
conflict is taking resources away from medical research, promoting
terrorism, reinforcing the religious identities counter to cryonics, etc.
Anyone interested in my views on this, and the post September 11 political
situation, in general, can examine the archives at ernestbecker.org, where
my comments were initially met with the same reaction as that seen here.

It could be argued that such discussion simply does not belong on Cryonet.
I am sympathetic to this view and I am ready to set up a list to deal with
the social aspects of cryonics. A, probably too wordy, list charter is
given below. I am looking forward to suggestions for revision, expressions
of interest in joining, etc.

>greater numbers.  I am very tired of the diplomatic approach that so many
>have suggested when dealing with those who have not signed up for cryonic
>suspension.  Those who have not signed up, especially Christians, need to
>be hit and hit hard with the "what if" question.  In fact, they need to
>have it put to them so bluntly, that their blood runs cold and terror
>fills their hearts like the though of death does to the rest of us.  Lets
>go everybody its time to load the ark!

The experimental results suggest that subtle mortality awareness stimuli
have a greater effect on behavior change than those that are obvious. The
marketing link I posted previously points to a study that reviews this

I didn't get a single request for this paper, which I think is crucial for
effective marketing of cryonics. This, perhaps, indicates that marketing
efforts are not being handled in a professional manner and thus the need
for a list of the type I am suggesting.

However, I am not repeating the often stated claim about the "Scarcity of
Cryonicists." The last time I analyzed the data, the numbers of persons in
suspension and of persons who were members of a suspension organization
were growing exponentially. I am ready to repeat this analysis, if someone
will send me the figures. The resultant graph will be posted on the
cryonics.info website.


The "Immortal" list deals with immortalism as a practical philosophy.
That is, the attempt to achieve vastly extended life spans via technological
means and the socio-political sources and impacts of such attempts.
Discussion of faith based approaches to eternal life (resurrection through
belief in a god, reincarnation, time travel, near-death experiences
as evidence of an afterlife, etc.) is specifically excluded.
Technological advances form the foundation for discussion, but are
not themselves the topic of the list. Thus articles concerning new
developments in medicine, nanotechnology, information technology,
and so on, are welcome, as long as they come from reliable sources,
such as peer-reviewed journals. Such articles should include a citation
to the source. These posts are likely to trigger discussion of social
and political dynamics, which are the focus of the list.

The most central topic of the list is how social conditions promote
or retard the acceptance of immortalism as a life philosophy and what
the effects of such a philosophy are on those who hold it. Thus, the
coverage includes philosophy, law, sociology, psychology, gerontology,
anthropology, political science, thanatology, and religious science
(the study of religions). Only specific topics within these subjects
are relevant. For example, existential psychology is directly relevant:

"The attempt to escape from death anxiety is at the core of the neurotic
conflict . . . . The neurotic life style is generated by a fear of death;
but insofar as it limits one's ability to live spontaneously and creatively,
the defense against death is itself a partial death (Yalom. [1980].
Existential psychotherapy. NY: Basic Books. p. 146.)"

This quote illustrates that discussion is not only concerned with
life extension, but also the impact of immortalist beliefs on the
quality of life.
David S. Stodolsky, PhD    PGP: 0x35490763    

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