X-Message-Number: 299
From att!CompuServe.COM!72320.1642 Sun Apr 14 02:04:15 EDT 1991
Date: 14 Apr 91 01:48:00 EDT
To: KEVIN <>
Subject: Reply to #291 -- Motivation for Reanimat
Message-Id: <"910414054800 72320.1642 EHK12-1"@CompuServe.COM>

Date: 4-13-91

     In reply to Alan Batie's question about "whether or not people 
in the future will *want* to reanimate anyone":

     The question presupposes one group of people which exist only now and
another group of people which exist only in the future.  That supposition
ignores the fact of continuity.  Most people now involved in cryonics will
be alive for 30-50 more years.  New people will join them along the way.
Many people will be suspended and the new people will move into positions 
of leadership and care.  This process will be on-going and probably expanding
geometrically.  Eventually, some of the people who have joined will live in 
a future where lifespans are long and cryonic suspensions uncommon.  THEY 
will be the people who will begin the process of reanimation.  They will 
want to revive us because we will have known them and persuaded them that 
this is the RIGHT thing to do.  They would have wanted such revival for 
themselves if they had been suspended.  That is why they will have joined 
Alcor (or other cryonics groups) in the first place.  And for many of them,
their friends, lovers, and family will be in suspension and they will want
to see them again and to share life with them.

     If this does not happen -- if cryonics does not grow, if there is not
continuity over the century or two required for this -- then cryonic
suspension patients probably WILL NOT be revived, even if it is technically
possible.  In fact, if cryonics does not grow and have continuity, no
patients will still be in suspension -- there will have been no one to care
for them over that length of time!  

     If there are patients in suspension at the time revival is technically
possible, they will be revived.  It might be slow to develop; it might be
expensive; it might be opposed by some segments of society.  But a large 
number of people will be pursuing it, because "a large number of people" is
the same thing required for cryonics to survive at all.  The personalities
and desires of some vague future populace are irrelevant.

     The Venturists are actively working on another approach to this (which
may be biting off more than they can chew, but why not try): they believe
that we need to work to help change society as a WHOLE so that people will
respect life and feel morally obligated to keep all humans living and 
healthy.  I suspect that society as a whole will never agree on ANYTHING,
especially not on the sanctity of life; but enough people might be persuaded
from this direction that the climate for reanimation will improve.

     As for the "postulation that death is a good thing for the species," I
think that is far from proven.  For a highly evolved, intelligent species 
like humans, the opposite may well be true:  The ELIMINATION of death might 
be necessary for the survival of the species.  

     It MIGHT be true that for a species to evolve further _physically_, that 
less fit members must STOP REPRODUCING.  That does not make death necessary.  
It should also be noted that humans have evolved several nifty traits 
(intelligence, language, writing, science) that allow us to continue 
evolving in less traditional ways.  For centuries we have been controlling 
--to some extent -- the evolution of our cultures.  We have made many 
changes in our abilities to adapt and survive (clothing, medicine, heating 
and air conditioning, libraries, sanitation).  These are not permanent 
physical changes; but they have allowed the survival of many more traits 
and physical characteristics than were possible in past generations.  
Strong-minded, creative humans with weak bodies can now survive and 
reproduce to pass along a certain kind of intelligence.  This no doubt 
includes many of us in this discussion.  Without antibiotics, I would
have died of pneumonia at the age of three.

     Future medical technologies will allow us to control our own evolution 
-- even changes in our DNA and changes in our lifespan.  Why then would death 
be necessary?  We have evolved intelligence; so now that ability can be 
brought to bear in improving the species --and ourselves as individual 
members of that species.  This includes (and may REQUIRE) the elimination 
of short life spans.  The survival of us as a species may well require the
depth of vision and understanding which will be the result of a long-lived
race.  Think of this:  who is more likely to start a nuclear war:  A 70 
year old man with 10 years to live or a 70 year old with 1000 years to live?
Who is more likely to dump pollutants in his drinking water: someone with
a couple of decades of life left or someone who will be around in a few
hundred years to experience the consequences of his own decisions?

     If a three year old child does something wrong, the correction or 
punishment must come immediately, because children of that age cannot
connect cause and effect over a time period of more than a few minutes.
Most adults can recognize that their actions have consequences over
longer time scales.  A person with an indefinite life span is going to
develop an even greater ability to make good survival decisions.

     I worry very little about the interest of future people in reviving
us.  I worry a LOT about our ability to survive the next 20 years until
we can grow enough to make cryonics more likely to survive as a long-term
aspect of society. 

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=299