X-Message-Number: 22885
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 10:50:54 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Immortality as a stated goal

Recently David Pizer has posted some comments to the effect that we ought 
to be more open about proclaiming that "immortality is our goal" rather 
than trying to soft-pedal the issue. I basically agree, except that I also 
think it puts cryonics service providers in a dicey position. I also think 
it needs to be recognized that cryonicists have sometimes deep 
disagreements over what it actually should *mean* to survive and what would 
constitute immortality, so that misunderstandings over the use of these 
words might be all too easy. We must be careful here as elsewhere. The 
following is excerpted from a recent private email, with added material in 
square brackets [].

>You wrote:
>>I don't believe anyone in the cryonics community actively believes they 
>>will live forever- just significantly longer. Perhaps a couple hundred 
>>years if you were extremely lucky.. but immortality? That seems like a 
>>little bit strong.
>You may not have seen my book, _Forever for All_ (check into it at Amazon, 
>under R. Michael Perry). I won't say I *dogmatically* believe in 
>immortality or anything else, but I do hold out serious hopes for it, and 
>I like to see the word used carefully and sparingly in places such as 
>cryonics websites (though I will no doubt be overruled--have to live with 
>that). BTW, I have made a living [in part] doing cryonics "wet-end" work 
>since 1987, and have been signed up since 1977. Another consideration is 
>that there are cryonicists who are religious in a traditional sense (self 
>not included) who believe in immortality, yes not through technology 
>alone, but still it's the I-word.
>To me a 200-year-only lifespan would be an outrage, and I think highly 
>unlikely if cryonics works. It should instead be feasible to extend one's 
>lifespan, at the very least, to limits that are not cosmologically 
>significant, such as a few million years. (My book and my thinking are 
>more ambitious than this, though.) During such time I would expect to 
>develop into a being much greater, in significant ways, than humans today 
>(and ditto for everybody else), but still retain interest in ancient 
>history, including personal history.
>No doubt this will sound crazy to many people, and I do realize my point 
>of view [as more fully expressed in my book, for example] is a minority 
>one in cryonics, not to be stressed at places like the [Alcor] Website, 
>but I don't think it's so outlandish alongside the beliefs that so many 
>hold. Those beliefs in turn, or something like them, could be necessary to 
>avoid physicist Stephen Weinberg's conclusion that the more we learn about 
>the universe the more pointless it seems (I think that's the general sense 
>of it). If the general conclusion is that life is pointless, in a world 
>like today's or tomorrow's, civilization could well be imperiled. I have 
>tried--am still trying--to develop a rational substitute for beliefs based 
>on worldviews that no longer seem tenable to many of us thinking people.

Mike Perry

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