X-Message-Number: 23372
Date: Wed, 04 Feb 2004 00:02:46 -0700
From: Paul Antonik Wakfer <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #23359 - The Essence of Cryonics
References: <>


You have been repeatedly asked before to post a meaningful subject line, 
but here is that request again.
Please will you (and other guilty parties also) alter your subject line 
when replying to Cryonet so that it contains the cryonet message number 
to which you are replying and a short descriptive phase concerning what 
the message is about. Doing so will enable readers to better use their 
limited time to assess which cryonet messages to read. Surely such 
cooperative good will on your part is not too much to ask for nor to 
expect. See my example in the Subject line of this message in contrast 
to yours below:

 >Message #23359
 >Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2004 08:38:10 -0500
 >From: Thomas Donaldson <>
 >Subject: CryoNet #23351 - #23357

To further elaborate, I am most certainly not stating that cryonics and 
suspended animation are equivalent. Here are three of many possible 
reasons for this:
1) Suspended animation has many more applications than merely preventing 
the death of living humans or the deterioration of humans who are no 
longer in homeostasis.
2) As opposed to suspended animation, currently cryonics always begins 
with a severely damaged patient. (However, if suspended animation is 
perfect and becomes a medically accepted option, then many who are 
currently merely severely disabled may elect to travel into the future 
so that they can live fully functional lives. Will this then be 
cryonics? I suggest that it will not be, as most cryonicists currently 
understand its meaning and function.)
3) Cryonics currently does require a declaration of legal death before 
it can be started.

 >Some added comments: I would be the last to say that this issue is
 >the only problem facing cryonics. It's easy to think of others.
 >However I do think that the problem that the patient (who will be
 >THEMSELVES, if they join up with cryonicists) will be "dead"
 >does and will continue to occur. Cryonic suspension is by definition
 >a last resort. It's what you do when no other choice is open to
 >you. If you remain alive, then it will be tempting to believe that
 >you will continue to remain alive. If you are alive but unconscious,
 >your relatives, even if they're cryonicists, will be tempted to
 >believe that you still have a chance at recovery.

As with all words used, the meanings of terms defining life and death 
need to be clearly distinguished in order to have any rational 
discussion about them. In this regard, I think it is past time that 
"alive" and "dead" cease to be regarded as antonyms - ie that "not 
alive" does not necessarily mean "dead". I think cryonicists need to 
revise their terminology to something similar to what follows below and 
consistently use it that way so that they can converse coherently even 
among themselves:
1) Life Attribute(s) - a) manifesting growth, development and 
homeostasis through metabolism, b) a means of reproduction, and c) 
internal regulation (including homeostasis) and outward action in 
response to the environment. Note that I am considering c) in its 
broadest meaning which includes all thoughts, emotions, choices and actions.
2) Life-Form - any conglomerate of matter and energy which has Life 
Attributes. Note that I am ignoring those organisms which are on the 
"edge" of life and do not have all three Life Attributes. However, I 
also include as Life-Forms those organisms which no longer have the 
capacity for reproduction (such as humans who are sterile for one reason 
or another) - of course cloning will restore this life attribute by 
giving everyone the capacity for reproduction.
3) Alive, Living - the state of a Life-Form when it has the capacity to 
express all its Life Attributes. Note that even for humans there is a 
range of "levels" of expression of the Life Attributes which all fall 
within the category of being Alive.
4) Life Impaired - the state of a Life-Form which does not have the 
capacity to express all of its Life Attributes. Note that the kinds of 
impairment are extremely varied. Even sleep and spontaneously recovered 
unconsciousness are a form of Life Impairment.
5) Life Incapacitated - the state of a Life-Form when it does not have 
the capacity of homeostasis nor internal regulation and such capacity 
does not return to it spontaneously.
6) Life Terminal - the state of a Life-Form when it does not have the 
capacity of homeostasis nor internal regulation, such capacity does not 
return to it spontaneously, and all attempts to restore such capacity 
have either failed or have only temporarily restored homeostasis. (I 
think this is what many cryonicist call "deanimated".)
7) Dead - The state of a Life-Form when it does not have the capacity to 
express its life attributes and cannot be augmented to have such a 
capacity by any existing current procedure.
8) Death - The event of transition from "Life Terminal" to "dead".
9) Human Remains - The tissue of a Life Terminal or Dead human.
10) Legally Dead - The state of a (hopefully) Life Terminal human after 
one or more government authorized officials have declared him to be in 
that state. Note: this state may or may not be related to the human's 
physiological condition. It is merely a government created fictional state.
11) Suspended Animation - Any procedure which causes a Life-Form to 
become Life Incapacitated, causes at most fully reversible damage, 
prevents additional biological change over a time at least equal to the 
maximum human lifespan, and at the end of that period, restore it to the 
same state of life as when the procedure began.

Note that all of in each of states 4) to 7) a human is not fully Alive 
in varying degrees.

Using these definitions, cryonics can be defined as:
the cryopreservation of Life Terminal humans or companion animals for 
the purpose of preventing their Death and with the hope of restoring 
them to full Life in the future.
Although some Legally Dead humans are biologically Dead, some are not 
Dead but are only Life Terminal and cryonics cryopreserves them to 
prevent Death. However, since it is not clear precisely when Death 
occurs, unless instructed not to in advance by the patient, cryonics 
organizations take the precautionary approach of cryopreserving the 
Human Remains just in case Death has not yet occurred.

 >We may very well (and likely, I think) have suspended animation for
 >cases in which the issue of death does not arise at all. Interstellar
 >space travel provides a good example: even if you expect to live
 >for hundreds of years, spending 50 years on a small starship with
 >about as much space as you have on a First Class airline flight
 >is bound to bore most people.... so they will want to sleep the
 >whole of their journey.

A much more relevant example is the potential of perfected Suspended 
Animation to send many humans who are Life Impaired, but not Life 
Terminal, to a time when they can be restored to become fully Alive.

 >However, even if you're very sick, the hope of recovery will remain.
 >And so it will continue until one day you "die", hardly deliberately,
 >and so, if you've got your cryonics arrangements in place, you
 >are put into cryonic suspension.

Everyone is "sick" at the moment of his creation, in the sense that if 
some major intervention does not take place he will become Life Terminal 
before 130 years have passed.

 >Even now in many cases, especially with a cryonics team on hand,
 >short term revival remains possible.

I fail to see the relevance of a cryonics team here. Short term 
resuscitation can be performed routinely be medical personnel, but under 
many circumstances has been negated in advance or is pointless with 
respect to the life state of the patient. In addition, a cryonics team 
always renders the patient into a Life Incapacitated state so that 
consciousness will not return.

 >The basic problem here is
 >that we're taken over by the notion of "death" itself, and fondly
 >believe that when push comes to shove, we'll manfully (or bravely,
 >not to be sexist) decide for our suspended animation.

Currently, Suspended Animation does not exist. Only cryopreservation (or 
cryonic suspension for those who must use that jargon), with the hope 
that it is actually Suspended Animation, exists.

 >I just said
 >that short term revival often remains possible: in that sense,
 >even now cryonic suspension is done on the "living".

This is were the definitions above will help. Instead of "living", the 
state to which cryonics applies is Life Terminal.

 >But thinking about this situation, and how many cryonicists will
 >feel when they too become very ill, I think that the whole notion
 >of death itself deserves some criticism both for its imprecision
 >and its dependence on technology.

Criticism without a comprehensive solution accomplishes little. The 
answer is to create and consistently use new terminology similar to what 
I have started above, particularly definitions which will transcend the 
state of technology.

 >Put ourselves forward several
 >thousand years: we'll come to a time when anyone can be revived
 >even if their brain and body have disappeared. Why? Because we
 >always leave remains of many kinds, in the memory of our friends
 >(and enemies!), the memory of those who were indifferent to us
 >but still remember us for one occasion or another, what we have
 >written or said publicly: not just those remains, but what can
 >be inferred from such remains.

This is nonsense! The volume of information within the body/brain of any 
human is orders of magnitude more than that which is currently stored 
outside of his body/brain. The reason for this is quite clear: the 
internal bandwidth of the body/brain is orders of magnitude greater than 
its I/O bandwidth. Moreover, even if one recorded all of his sensory 
input from the moment of his conception that would be insignificant, 
because all that information has been manipulated and organized by his 
brain and body at vastly higher bandwidth during his lifetime, creating 
orders of magnitude more self-generated information than was taken in or 
can currently be output. Only when technology advances to the state of 
true mind reading (and uploading) will the recreation of a human from 
recorded information be feasible.

[sniped the rest as irrelevant to my points]

--Paul Wakfer

MoreLife for the rational - http://morelife.org
Reality based tools for more life in quantity and quality
The Self-Sovereign Individual Project - http://selfsip.org
Rational freedom by self-sovereignty & social contracting

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