X-Message-Number: 7741
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 1997 14:33:35 -0800
From:  (Olaf Henny)
Subject: Re: CryoNet #7729 & Last Minute Reversals

Message #7729

>From Linda Chamberlain
CryoTransport Manager
Alcor Life Extension Foundation

>Joe Cannon, long time cryonics activist and Alcor member since 1984, 
>was suspended on Friday, February 21, 1997.

(Most of the text deleted)

>Recently, he began telling neighbors and friends that
>he was not sure he even wanted to be suspended anymore.  He told his
>neighbors and some of us that he felt his beloved Terry would be better 
>in the future without him;  that Terry would find another who would be
>better for her.  "She was always the strong one," he told me recently.
>"She'll do just fine without me!"

The above quotation touches on a phenomenon, which I have 
observed on many occasions throughout my life:  The prospect 
of death appears welcome, when we are in a state of complete 
exhaustion, as most of us of course will be, when we are 
near death.  Its impact on cryonics dawned on me the first 
time, when I read the account of Timothy Leary changing his 
mind on cryopreservation.

I experienced such an occurrence, when I was going on what 
was to be a brief afternoon mountain climbing excursion. 
The temperature was in the mid-eighties on a very sunny day 
in the Austrian Alps.  We got a little carried away and it 
was quite late in the afternoon, when we reached the peak of 
the mountain.  Just as we started the descent the weather 
suddenly turned foggy and cold.  To make things worse, a 
cold rain, which had trenched us to the skin turned into 
snow and the rocks, we tried to climb down on, were all 
covered with a layer of ice.  Although we somehow kept on 
moving, we were soon subject to severe hypothermia.  We did 
all make it back to the cabin, but in the process each one 
of the 5 of us, who had accumulated during the descent, 
acted completely irrational for at least one brief spell. 
Two of us just seemed to have disappeared (at different 
times), completely content to stay where they were and 
perish.  Of course the rest of the group looked went back 
for them, but had to resort to yelling at them: "Now put you 
foot here and hold on with you hand there...!", while the 
stragglers pleaded to 'just be left alone'.  When our grip 
slipped and we fell (it was pitch dark and foggy and we 
could not even see each other (only hear), let alone see the 
terrain), there was absolutely none of that heart stopping 
fear, that would befall less exhausted people.

I later took some satisfaction that during that whole ordeal 
even my irrationality was directed toward my survival. 
However, I would not be so sure, that in a state of complete 
pre-mortal exhaustion I would not consider 'all that 
cryonics stuff' a complete bother, that I would not possibly 
at that moment be tempted to revoke all the cryonic 
arrangements and just desire to die in peace.

Even though I know from several episodes in my life, that my 
will to 'go on' is well above average, I have wondered, what 
I could do to safeguard myself against my own last minute 
decision 'to forget about cryopreservation and just let go 
and slip into the comfort of death'.

I am sure, that the staff of the various cryonics 
organizations has had some experiences with last minute 
reversals or at least doubts, and would like to hear more 
about that.  

Olaf Henny

Ridicule and derision are weapons often employed 
by those  who are intellectually outmatched

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