X-Message-Number: 8271
Date: 01 Jun 97 17:56:41 EDT
From: "Stephen W. Bridge" <>
Subject: Temporal immigrants

To CryoNet
From Steve Bridge
June 1, 1997
Thanks to Peter Merel (Message #8256) for the funny and observant
essay on his immigration experiences. A word of warning, though. Don't
generalize your San Diego experience to include all of America. You
will find as many regional and individual differences in the U.S. in
terms of greetings, interaction styles, even toilet fixtures, as you
will between the U.S. and Australia. You have many entertaining and/or
jarring experiences ahead of you.
I was especially intrigued by Peter's comparison between changing
countries and changing centuries (via cryonics), since "temporal
immigration" has been on my own mind recently.  For many years, one
of the most common questions about cryonics from both public and media
has been, "What about future shock? Won't it be impossible (or
inconceivably hard) to adjust to that future world where no one knows
First I point out that I plan to know a LOT of people in that future
world.  Some of my younger friends may survive to that time without
requiring biostasis of any kind.  I have met or had long phone
conversations with 15 of the 35 current Alcor patients and am friends
with family members of at least 15 others, not to mention a few
current patients of other cryonics organizations. In addition, I would
guess that I know perhaps 200 current cryonicists fairly well.
But more importantly, the evidence of history suggests that many
humans cope well with dislocation, if they are moving to a new
location with opportunity and they have the right attitude. Almost
everyone in the United States is an immigrant himself (or herself) or
the descendant of someone who traveled across an ocean within the past
370 years, leaving behind many or all family members. They often had
to change careers, learn a new language -- both spoken and non-verbal,
even change religions. In many cases, they found happiness and
prosperity from that move, although it took a lot of work and
willingness to adjust.
Several hundred thousand immigrants per year continue this experience
today, with varying results.  While many of the current immigrants and
many of our ancestors were forced to come to America for one reason or
another, a large percentage of them emigrated from their native lands
because they were more ambitious or curious or restless than others in
their families or villages.  They wanted new experiences.  The
Americans of today are the descendants of such people, and it is quite
possible that genetics plays some part in the American thirst for
adventure and exploration, including the American development of
It seems likely to me that the experience of traveling to the future
will be no more difficult -- and conceivably LESS so -- than that of
our ancestors' journeys to America.
For years, I believed that predicting success in revival adaptation
for cryonics patients was based strictly on individual factors --
flexibility, ability to learn, cleverness in business, maybe in
finding ways to move your current assets into the future. However,
recently a friend shared some thoughts which make me want to increase
my knowledge in this area. After all, someday there WILL be a field of
study to determine how best to help revived cryonauts adjust. Some of
us may be among the first patients revived and may be participants or
even leaders in that field. The more knowledge acquired now the
My friend is Virginia Boyle from Chicago.  She is a third-generation
American (all four grandparents born in Ireland) and is engaged to
Roberto, a Mexican immigrant who has lived in Chicago for about 20
years. They work with immigrant communities in the area. Virginia has
observed that, among Spanish-speaking groups, immigrants from some
countries do much better than others. For instance, Mexicans and
Cubans are almost always better off after five years in the U.S. than
are Puerto Ricans and immigrants from Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El
Salvador.  Her generalization is that Mexicans and Cubans are more
"entrepreneurial," Puerto Ricans keep waiting for someone to take care
of them, and Central Americans are a combination of shell-shocked from
war and so relieved just to find some quiet and a bit of food that
their initiative is gone.
Whether her specific reasoning is correct or not, it struck me that
cryonicists could learn a lot from immigrant experiences.  If any of
you run across books dealing with these issues, please let me know. I
am particularly interested in studies of what national groups have
best adjusted and of what characteristics seem to allow for the best
individual adjustments.
I am also interested in studies of how centenarians (people over 100
years of age) cope with changing times. I do NOT mean books about WHY
they lived so long. If we might live for centuries, we might learn
from those who have at least lived for one, even taking into account
the experiences of aging.
Steve Bridge

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