X-Message-Number: 9435
Date:  Thu, 09 Apr 98 16:28:09 
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #9425

Charles Platt writes,

> There are many reasons for 
> doubting my chances as a cryopatient:
and then goes on to list 8 reasons, followed by "I could go on."
One of these reasons is how good or bad the freezing process is 
from the technical point of view, i.e. whether it is likely that 
cryopatients can be resuscitated given present (and past) techniques 
of cryopreservation and future technology (the "technical problem").
The rest of the reasons have to do with social, political, economic,
religious, etc. issues (the "social problem"). Both categories are 
important of course; both contribute to uncertainty 
about our future as frozen patients. The technical problem is being
addressed as best we can, mainly, at present, through the work at 
21CM. It has the serious attention of some hard hitters in the 
cryonics community, and it looks as if the necessary research will go 
forward at a reasonable pace, with efforts being made to attract more 
funding, etc. We don't want to be lulled into a false complacency, 
but I find the outlook reassuring: by appearances, what is humanly 
possible is getting done. (And I happen to be cautiously optimistic 
about the prospects of even today's cryopatients, though recognizing 
that more research is badly needed.)

For the social problem though, I think we are still in an infantile 
stage. It's not an easy problem to address, nor is it insignificant:
In addition to the technical revolution we are counting on, we will
need a revolution in worldviews. It is possible 
that the former cannot happen until the latter is fairly far along, 
which could indeed jeopardize our chances. To mount a successful 
revolution in worldviews, I think we will have to offer something 
that is better and more reassuring than what people have already.  

There are groups like the Extropians and the Venturists that are 
trying, in various ways, to address this problem. So far I think 
our efforts fall well short of requirements. A good piece of fiction 
like Jim Halperin's novel *The First Immortal* is another stab at 
this, and also has merits but it remains to be seen if this will 
bring about any massive conversions to immortalism. Then there's my 
book, *Forever for All*, which I hope to have in reviewers' hands 
soon, and which attempts to develop a comprehensive philosophy of 
immortalism that can hold its own against alternatives. Again,
I'm not sure that this will make any great difference--but I hope 
something will be gained by trying. As with many other hard 
problems, there is probably no simple "big fix" to the social
problem. But it seems clear at least that the problem *could* be
solved--it is a matter of attitudes rather than technology.

And I am optimistic it will be.
The general trend of things seems to be 
in the direction of improvements in the quality of life worldwide, 
despite any contrary crosscurrents. Looming on the horizon is the 
possibility of slowing and then reversing aging. I think it is 
gradually dawning on many people that they have more to gain from 
life than they had thought, maybe a lot more, thanks to developing

But a backlash is not to be discounted; it could 
still prove our undoing. Though we want to put a lot, 
possibly the far greater part, of our effort into the technical 
problem, I don't think it would be wisest to ignore the social 
problem entirely and expect it to just take care of itself as we 
progress. Promotional efforts continue of course, generally 
involving each cryonics organization's trying to attract and 
retain members. But I can see a need for more generic things too, 
things that cross the boundaries of the different suspension 
organizations and speak to more basic 
issues. Among these "generics" are a cryonics retirement 
community, a referral service for last-minute cases, and some hard
thinking--and writing and other communication--about philosophical
issues. At least some of our resources should be put into these 
matters too. I'd like to hear from people with ideas on this subject, 
or who are interested in providing financial support or investment.

Mike Perry

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=9435