X-Message-Number: 23303
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 16:02:38 EST
Subject: extinct instinct

Some still wonder why cryonics is a hard sell, but the answer has been 

obvious for a long time. The so-called "survival instinct" just doesn't exist 

more, for most people most of the time, in the circumstances of modern life.This
was reiterated in today's posts by Mark Plus regarding an interview with 
Brian Alexander, reinforcing what I have said before concerning many others, 
including Isaac Asimov, Fred Pohl, and Arthur Clarke.

Almost anyone will exert himself to dodge a taxi or a tiger, but if the 

danger is not clear and present, then, for most people most of the time, it just

isn't a major concern. And in today's world, clear and present dangers are rare.
Very few people die of murder, or even war or terrorism. Auto and industrial 
accidents kill scores of thousands in the US every year, but the threat is 

merely statistical and shrugged off. Health concerns are taken somewhat 
by many, but it took decades to make a dent in smoking practices. Even eating 
habits are affected mostly by the fear of looking unattractive, not by fear 

of death. And for the sick and elderly, the prospect of death is not especially
fearsome, and may even be welcome.

People mentioned in the Alexander interview were FOR life extension, and did 
NOT think cryonics necessarily a very long shot--but STILL rejected it. The 

motivation just isn't there for most people. The bio-research life-extenders are
not motivated by fear of death or even love of life, but just by an 
intellectual toy and career possibilities. 

Conclusion? Forget about "marketing" or magic bullets. There will be a 

psychological sea change at some point, but we can't predict it or jump-start 
and we should not waste time or energy or money on over-ambitious public 
relations projects. 

There is still a great deal we can do. We can keep on doing what we have 

done, with incremental improvements in all aspects of our operations. We can 
patiently among our own families and circles of friends. The main thing is to 
do your best to save yourself and those close to you.  

Robert Ettinger

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