X-Message-Number: 2860
Date: Fri, 08 Jul 94 03:43:24 EDT
Subject: CRYONICS fear

Kitty te Riele mentions fear of future abuse as a cryostasis patient or
revived patient. If we first ask whether such fears are well grounded in
reality, I think we get a pretty clear negative.

First of all, in order for such scenarios to be realized, you would have to
have failure or subversion of the cryonics organization(s), desertion by
relatives, and decay of society as a whole. This is possible, but most would
judge it unlikely. Furthermore, it would have to happen rather suddenly,
since if it came with warning the responsible people could take some action,
even if only to destroy the patient to save her from such a fate. You could
always leave a request to be destroyed if the situation deteriorated and
abuse appeared likely.

Second, if experimentation were done without reviving the patient, she would
never know it. If she had to be revived first, that would  probably represent
an expense that would make her an unprofitable subject.

Third, there are already plenty of helpless people--especially children, the
retarded, the aged, the crippled, etc.--and most of us are relatively
helpless at one time or another.   Abuse of these does occur, but generally
on the margins of society and in the absence of guardians. There is probably
more chance of your being murdered in your sleep by a relative or a pet than
of being abused as a patient. 

Fourth--and this is a bit redundant--a culture capable of reviving crudely
frozen people would scarcely have any need for human experimental subjects.
 If they know enough about you to revive you, almost certainly they already
have all the knowledge they might putatively gain. If they merely want
vicitms for sadists, there are easier and cheaper ones available.

Fifth, if you want to indulge in nightmare scenarios, there are always
plenty. Maybe you are ALREADY being tortured or toyed with on someone's or
something's table, their tapes running through your brain RIGHT NOW.  Maybe
our whole universe is the butt of some cosmic sadist's joke. But one doesn't
allow such notions to dominate one's thinking or actions.

Sixth, you are part of the equation, not just a potential victim. You--as
well as others like you--can take steps to strengthen your organizations and
society in general.

If  one were to grant that such fears are unrealistic, but they remain, what
to do? If exaggerated worries are characteristic of the person, she needs
psychological help. If they are peculiar to the cryonics question, then--in
addition to thinking it through and deciding such worries are
far-fetched--perhaps the fears will abate with time and prolonged exposure to
immortalist ideas and people. These ideas and people are mostly dynamic and
optimistic, and it isn't easy to be around them for long without some of that
rubbing off. Action helps banish fear.

Robert Ettinger

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