X-Message-Number: 2859
Subject: CRYONICS Surgery and Business
From:  (Ben Best)
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 00:58:00 -0400

    I may have been wrong in expressing "doubts that any non-cryonicist
would make a good surgeon for cryopreservation procedures". I don't mean
to treat people as "labels", I don't mean to ignore the complexity of
human motives, and I think I may have been unduly influenced by the
things I have heard about "Dr. X". But it still seems to me that there
is a difference between a noncryonicist repairing an air conditioner
(or even suggesting the use of industrial hose clamps) -- and doing
cryopreservation surgery. In the former case a craftsperson's pride
can be taken in an operative mechanical device. But in the latter
case the results may not be evident in hundreds of years (if ever). One
of the stories I have heard about "Dr. X" is that when someone
pointed-out a bit of negligence on his part he said something like
"Oh well, it's only a corpse, anyway."

   I can imagine that other noncryonicist surgeons might be different.
But I also try to imagine the psychological state of a competent and
integral surgeon who believes that cryonics is folly. Will this person
take pride in a job well done? Or would a person of true integrity not
have qualms about taking money from fools or about pandering to their
delusions? There is a difference between doing dental work for a living
cryonicist and doing surgery on a corpse for people who think the
surgery is going to help the corpse to rise from the dead. I am now
less sure of my assertion, but I still think I would prefer a surgeon
who believes that the procedure could be life-saving.

    I can believe that committed cryonicists could "do sloppy,
half-assed jobs in equally critical areas". I have already disavowed
that cryonicist=competent (necessarily). And it may even be true that
there are cryonicists who believe that a sloppy job is adequate because
nanotechnology will fix everything.

    Cryonicists are often opinionated and passionate, so it is not hard
for me to imagine them often being difficult to work with. I have heard
that libraries are reluctant to make too much use of volunteers, because
volunteers are too undependable. Paid workers are under contract to work
defined hours and do defined work. But how does a paid noncryonicist
compare with a paid cryonicist? Few people could have been paid to work
as diligently and determinedly as I have for cryonics in the last 5
years. Moreover, I have paid through the nose for the work I have done.
My reward has primarily been a craftsperson's pride in having
accomplished things that may well contribute to extending my life and
the lives of others I care about.

    Thomas Donaldson says that there is not enough profitability for
cryonics to survive when money is the only motive. But the situation
with Michael Soloviov is more complicated. He appears to be sincere
about wanting cryonics for himself, and he also believes that a
profitable cryonics company can be started in Russia. I have seen
one of his business plans. Costs in Russia are so low that he could
easily make a huge (relatively speaking) profit by offering cryonics
services at a much lower price than is charged by any American cryonics

    But even if cryonics is not profitable, it may take several years
(and perhaps a few cryonics patients) for a proprietor to come to that
conclusion. No existing cryonics organization is a sole proprietorship.
I would be extremely reluctant to make cryopreservation arrangements
with a sole proprietorship. Will the patient care funds be adequately
separated from the profits (or the losses!)? What if the proprietor
gets discouraged in a few years? What if the proprietor dies or becomes
seriously ill? What if someone makes the proprietor an offer to buy that
is VERY profitable?

    It is not my intention to dogmatically espouse a position on the
questions I have raised. The issues are far too complex. Nonetheless,
I have some strong suspicions, along with doubts and concerns.

                  -- Ben Best (ben.best%)

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