X-Message-Number: 638
Date: 07 Feb 92 01:01:56 EST
Subject: Alcor Indiana Newsletter #2

ISSUE #2                            
January/February 1992   
Editor:  Richard Shock  


A message from Steve Bridge
Alcor Midwest Coordinator

    Most of the people receiving this second issue of our Newsletter will 
know who I am.  Many of you know me personally as a friend;  some of you 
have heard me speak about cryonics or have read my articles in CRYONICS 
Magazine.  I have been part of cryonics in Indianapolis since 1977, when 
Mike Darwin and I started The Institute for Advanced Biological Studies.  
In 1982, IABS merged with the Alcor Life Extension Foundation of Riverside, 
California, and I have been an Alcor member ever since.

    Professionally, I am a children's librarian with the Indianapolis-
Marion County Public library.  While my occupation may seem incongruous 
with my avocation, both are a part of my commitment to making the world a 
better place.  The millions of children who cannot or will not read are not 
learning to think in a manner which will contribute to the world.  The 
millions of people who die every year deplete the human race of minds and 
experience which could enrich our lives and help solve the problems of this 

    I am also part of cryonics for personal reasons.  I want to see the 
future and be a part of it.  Every day is an adventure and I see no reason 
for that adventure to end.  I am not a fan of death.  I do not believe, as 
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross has said, that "death will be your last and best 
experience."  I see nothing good in the death of humans.  The argument that 
"death is natural" is meaningless.  From one restricted point of view, 
nothing that the human race has done in the last 500,000 years is 
"natural."  "Natural" is running around in the woods naked, eating berries 
and mice, and being eaten by tigers and fleas.  From fire, spears, and 
farming to moon rockets, computers, and libraries, every activity of the 
human race has existed in order to overcome nature.

    From a more comprehensive point of view, EVERYTHING the human race does 
is natural, because we have brains which naturally enable us and require us 
to surpass our limits.  It was natural for us to invent language, the 
wheel, mathematics, and science, to create writing, books, and television.  
It was natural for us to invent stethoscopes, microscopes, and telescopes, 
to cause the extinction of the smallpox virus, and to seek the answers to 
cancer, heart disease, genetic diseases, and to death itself -- because we 
have BRAINS, CURIOSITY, and the WILL TO LIVE.  It is natural for human 
beings to improve upon the limits of "nature."

    Cryonics is simply an extension of that curiosity and will to live.  It 
is apparent that future medical technologies will be able to cure many more 
conditions than are possible today.  It is also clear that brain damage and 
"death" will be reversible at longer and longer periods following the 
cessation of heartbeat.  Many, if not most, patients who are declared 
"dead" by today's standards would be called "near death, but alive and able 
to be repaired" by the standards of 2092.  If patients would be called 
"alive" in the next century, then we should consider them that way NOW, and 
try to find some way to move them to that future unchanged.  Cryonics may 
be that way.  In future issues of this newsletter we will develop these 
thoughts in greater detail.


    Why do this newsletter and why send it to YOU?

    Any group which wants to share its ideas with other like-minded 
individuals (or FIND or DEVELOP such individuals) must have a way of 
communicating.  Since we can't all share a telephone line or travel to each 
other's homes every few weeks, a newsletter is the only alternative.  Words 
on paper are sometimes a poor substitute for face-to-face and voice-to-
voice;  but you CAN re-read them whenever you want, and it makes sure you 
get SOMETHING every two months.

    We plan this newsletter to be more of a magazine for beginners than is 
Alcor's monthly, CRYONICS.  CRYONICS must publish detailed reports on 
recent cryonic suspensions, legal actions, finances, and research for a 
wide variety of members, new and old, so it sometimes becomes overly 
complex for people newly interested in cryonics.  We'll publish news 
summaries, too, but in a simpler manner, which will also attempt to give 
you more perspective.

    We'll try to give you more understanding of the whys and hows of 
cryonics, with discussions of history, basic principles, and who's who.  Of 
course, in doing so, we hope to explore our own ideas in more detail and 
get feedback from you on how to improve our explanations.

    Besides the general purpose of cryonics education, we have a more 
personal, emotional objective for this newsletter.  Right now there are 
five active cryonicists in Indianapolis and perhaps ten or so others widely 
scattered in the four states surrounding Indiana.  Five local people are 
too few to be very effective.  But we five know that someday WE may need 
the services of Alcor.  The only way that a local suspension is likely to 
happen efficiently is if we build up local membership and local 
capability.  That will require more people, more skills, more money -- the 
three indispensable needs of every volunteer organization.

    Finally, we want to add friends to our lives.  Friends to make our 
lives fuller and happier now -- and friends who will be with us to share 
the challenges of an uncertain, but exciting, future.

    We are sending you this newsletter because we want you to join us in 
making this world a better place and in staying alive to enjoy the benefits 
of our labor.

    This newsletter will never be sufficient by itself for you to 
understand cryonics.  We hope that you will take advantages of the other 
literature and opportunities for communication which we and Alcor offer.

    From Alcor, you may obtain a striking and well-written introduction to 
cryonics, "Cryonics -- Reaching for Tomorrow."  This book is free if you 
have not written for information before;  $5.00 if you have.  Alcor's 
office staff would be delighted, however, for even first-timers to send 
$5.00 to help cut down the costs -- and you'll probably get the book more 
quickly.  You'll also receive a list of the many books and reprints which 
Alcor has for sale.

    Also from Alcor is the award-winning (OK., it was only a LITTLE award, 
but it made us feel good) monthly CRYONICS magazine.  You may subscribe for 
your first year at $11.00 -- a real bargain;  the price is regularly $25.00 
per year.

    From us you may obtain the personal touch.  We hold monthly meetings to 
discuss recent goings-on and to plan improvements.  They are not regularly 
scheduled but are usually on a Sunday afternoon.  You are welcome to attend 
and meet us;  we'd be delighted to meet you.  From basic questions on 
philosophy and technology to the intricacies of filling out the legal 
paperwork, we can help.

    Or we can come to YOU.  This requires a bit more scheduling;  but I 
have a slide show introduction to cryonics which I can give to groups of 
five or more (I would prefer MORE if I have to travel a long way).  I am 
willing to travel to nearby states for open meetings as long as you do the 
set-up work and publicity and provide some help with expenses.  Call or 
write me for details.  If you are in a club which needs a speaker, I can 
make connections to just about any interest (well, maybe not a gardening or 
knitting club).  Cryonics should be of interest to any group with 
scientific, medical, philosophical, educational, political, or community 



-- December 8, 1991, at the home of Bob and Margaret Schwarz.

    Present were all five members of ALCOR INDIANA:  Stephen Bridge, 
Angalee Shepherd, Bob Schwarz, Margaret Schwarz, and Richard Shock.

    Because of prior commitments, Mr. and Mrs. Schwarz could host only a 
two-hour meeting.  Anticipating this, Mr. Shock had prepared a brief 
discussion agenda to save time.

    1)  Mr. Schwarz and Mr. Shock gave a synopsis of their meeting with 
Alcor member Paul Wakfer on the day before.  Mr. Wakfer was on his way to 
New York after spending a few weeks at Alcor Headquarters in Riverside, 
California.  During his lunch with the ALCOR INDIANA members, he spoke of 
recent personnel changes at the California facility, noting the transition 
as relatively stable.  He also mentioned plans for resumption of basic 
research by the Alcor associate group Cryovita Laboratories (founded by 
Jerry Leaf, who was placed in suspension as of July 1991).

    2)  Mr. Shock suggested that ALCOR INDIANA needed "tighter" 
organizational structure, within the limitations of its size and members' 
time.  Noting that Mr. Bridge, as ALCOR Midwest Coordinator, kept a folder 
of information pertinent to his function (addresses and phone numbers for 
ALCOR members and individuals who might be of assistance during a 
suspension, plus inventories of ALCOR INDIANA equipment and up-to-date 
notes on cryonics procedures), Mr. Shock voiced the possibility that each 
member ought to have something similar.  Mr. and Mrs. Schwarz revealed that 
they always carried addresses and phone numbers of all ALCOR INDIANA 
members.  This was generally deemed to be a good first step to a closer 

    3)  Mr. Shock then brought up the topic of training sessions for 
cryonics transport.  Mr. Bridge cited techniques from the ALCOR training 
session he and Mr. Schwarz had attended the previous May.  According to Mr. 
Bridge, among the most useful of these were "role-playing exercises," where 
trainees practiced what they might say to hospital administrators or 
coroners in the event of a member's deanimation.  Since no ALCOR INDIANA 
member was a likely candidate for "natural death" any time in the near 
future, emergencies would entail dealing with the authorities.  Mr. Bridge 
pointed out that unless these people could be persuaded to release a 
member's body, further training would be useless.

    4)  Mrs. Schwarz suggested that someone be appointed to act as observer 
to the local Coroner's Office, noting elections, personnel, etc.  Mr. 
Bridge admitted that he had been doing so to some extent, but that 
"Coroner" was not a highly political post in Indianapolis, and so it 
generated little news.

    5)  Hearing the number of suggestions raised at this meeting, Mr. 
Bridge advised Mr. Shock that the NEWSLETTER should contain an "Action 
Notes" section to remind members of activities.

    6)  Mr. Shock passed out copies of the first ALCOR INDIANA NEWSLETTER 
for members' approval.  The issue was accepted with only a few minor 

    7)  Regarding business of the November meeting, Mr. Bridge reported 
that he had not yet received information on HLR prices, and Mr. Schwarz had 
not yet received construction plans for a Squid.


[ End of Part 1 of 2 - KQB ]

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