X-Message-Number: 2552
Date: 13 Jan 94 21:37:42 EST
From: Mike Darwin <>
Subject: CRYONICS Response to Ben Best and others

To Ben Best:

I did not say, and do not think Skrecky is an idiot.  No one who can read
scientific papers and write coherently (both of which he can do) is an
idiot.  I said he posted a lot of (to be charitable) half-baked ideas.
That is all.

To Mr. Van Sickle:

I've TRIED to turn cryonics in to a religion.  Trouble is, no one would
believe that *I* was God!  Apparently you have to be a grade A horse's
ass (HA), beat their children (sleeping with their kids if they're at
least teenage seems to help too), take ALL their money, *and* CONSTANTLY
say nasty and degrading things to them.  I apparently made it only as a
grade B HA.  However, I've resolved to try HARDER this time (no more Mr.
Nice Guy).  Certainly, the people at Alcor have reassured me that I have
real aptitude in some of these areas.  I just need to achieve a higher
level of performance and extend my range. (By the way, there are still
many entry-level positions available: join now and work your way to the

On a more serious note:

Your observations about peoples' resistance to cryonics are very cogent
and you are to be congratulated.  I also agree with you about the likely
reaction people will have to being offered immortality.  However, keep in
mind that this NOT what I am setting out to do.  People will take
suspended animation and imperfect cryopreservation (as an offshoot) NOT
to live forever, but to live longer.  This technology will probably be
used first on dying children and dying young adults.  Indeed, 30% of all
of Alcor suspensions since the start of the AIDS epedemic have been AIDS
patients (mostly young).  And a larger fraction still of their
last-minute cases (i.e., already terminal) have been AIDS cases.  This
will be more so for perfected (or nearly so) suspended animation.  

I knew most of the last minute HIV cases and I can state fairly
unequivocally that what they wanted wasn't so much Immortality (big "I")
but to NOT DIE.  Frankly, Immortality doesn't even seem REAL to me anymore
personally.  Mostly what *I* am looking for is not to die when I don't
want to.  Immortality is a little overwheming even to me and I've been
staring it in the eye longer than most of you! (I've kind of arrived at
where Alcoholics Anonymous has: One Day At A Time.  In fact, I'm thinking
of starting a self-help group called Immortalists Anonymous).

What I'm saying here is simple really: Don't make the mistake of
extrapolating to extremes.  Don't try to sell people an interstellar
cruiser when all they want or are ready for is a cheap, reliable car to
go to work and play in.  If you can get them that far, human desire will
take care of the rest.

One of the most valuable things I learned was something a teacher said to
me in  what I thought was a throwaway class in high school called
Business Law.  He had us make a list of EVERYTHING we wanted that would
satisfy us.  Then he asked us what we would do if we got all those
things! Naturally, we could think of MORE things.  That is the nature of
people: they are creatures of UNLIMITED desires with LIMITED resources,
and this was drives the whole economy, makes the world go 'round, etc. 
People will go after Immortality and with vengence.  But they will do it
*one step at a time*.  By way of example, believe me when I say that the
heart surgeons who pioneered cardiac transplanation NEVER imagined they
would see their colleagues putting donor hearts in 65 year old guys (this
was supposed to be a technology to give life to the young (and cheated!).
Ditto the fertility experts who are clucking away (to my great amusement)
about their SOB colleague who worked *their* magic on a 62-year-old woman
(hell 50 years ago most women were DEAD at that age not becoming
first-time moms). 

Such is ever the case with people and medicine, or with people and
ANYTHING they want.  And believe me, there is no shortage of people who
want to stay alive.

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