X-Message-Number: 6077
From:  (Brian Wowk)
Newsgroups: sci.cryonics

Subject: Re: Review of Sheskin's _Cryonics_:A sociology of Death and Bereavement
Part I
Date: 16 Apr 96 02:18:10 GMT
Message-ID: <>
References: <4kn7kc$>

In <4kn7kc$> Randy Smith <> writes:

>The book explores the world of cryonics from the viewpoint of a 
>sociological scientist and focuses on people involved with the 
>(pseudonymous?) Eastern Cryonics Society. 

	This would be the old Cryonics Society of New York (CSNY),
circa 1970 or thereabouts.

> Refreshingly, Sheskin rejects the psychological assertion that people 
>who hold unusual beliefs [yeah, that's us] do so because of personal 
>inadequacies which cannot be satisfied through conventional channels. 

	I think she rejects the assertion too quickly.  Many 
iconoclasts are motivated by the desire for attention that they
would never get were it not for their iconoclasm, although perhaps
the incidence of this is lower in cryonics than other radical pursuits. 

>According to Sheskin, because of the amount of cooperation from relatives 
>needed, cryonicists with extensive preparations are just as likely, or 
>sometimes even less likely, to actually be suspended, as those who have 
>made no arrangements whatsoever to secure cooperation from relatives. 
>[Surely this is no longer the case?]

	The importance of structuring cryonics so it does not depend
on the continued interest of relatives was without question the most
important lesson learned from the bad experiences in the early days
of cryonics.  It is why cryonics is so expensive today, and why all
the money is required up front (i.e. via life insurance soon after

> -- If someone came up with an idea, someone else wanted to disagree with 
>it or modify it...The people who argued the most did the least

	Some things in cryonics never change.

>Members began to descibe their leaders as " a little wild-eyed", 
>"weird,", or "acting like circus clowns."

	Haven't quite got to that point yet!

>Her most telling point [and the probable reason cryonics is still around, 
>IMO] is that cryos were able to separate the failure of their orgs from 
>the core idea of cryonics, which they still viewed as a pure  and viable 
>concept. She addresses this idea further in later chapters.

	Absolutely right.  The organizational situation in cryonics
(especially the people that comprise organizations) is very fluid.
Ten years ago (when cryonics was sharply polarized into the
Trans Time/ACS vs. Alcor camps) NOBODY would have believed that
in 1996 Trans Time and Alcor would cooperate in research, and
Mike Darwin would be divorced from Alcor and working for ACS!
Yet that's what happened, and cryonics is now bigger than ever. 
>One further note: I hope that this does not open any old wounds or 
>anything like that, but as they say, "those who do not understand the 
>past are doomed to repeat it".

	Again, absolutely right.

 Brian Wowk          CryoCare Foundation               1-800-TOP-CARE
 President           Human Cryopreservation Services   

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