Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cryonics - Ice Breaker For Your Next Dinner Party

I've finished "Shocked - Adventures in Bringing Back the Recently Dead, '"  On page 146 the good doctor Casarett attends a "cryonaut" convention, hosted by Alcor, a premiere in the field of cryogenics, defined as the low temperature preservation of humans who cannot be sustained by current medicine.

Originally (and rather meanly) Dr. Casarett arrives expecting a crowd of mad science fiction horror fans.  Instead, among others, he listens to a young woman who is dying of cancer who tells the audience, "My doctors told me to take the standard treatments which cost $500,000.  They didn't work.  This only costs $200,000 and it's my only chance to be saved."  Frankly I suspected that the poor woman was suffering from "chemo brain." 

At the first lecture, he learns that working in the field and actually doing the work are the employees of Suspended Animation a subsidiary of Alcor.  For a successful cryonics ending the team must be on site as quickly as possible (ideally six hours) to transfer the deceased to an Alcor facility.

Such is my cynicism that I wonder why these cryonic firms are in business and not jail.  A thousand year "sell by" date?  I worry about the sad, silly people who believe that being frozen and subsequently thawed will restore them to life.  Those chemicals have to be changed; the storage facilities have to be staffed and maintained - for 1,000 years?  Ah, ye of great faith in a slick sales person ...Greed takes on ignorance and you know who is going to win.

And then I began to think about the morality of offering such a service and why the recipient has such a tremendous fear of death?  An unoriginal thought, but dead is dead.  I think it's a direct denial of any faith in God or Allah or your choice of deities because if you were a religious person, you would accept the Prime Mover's life direction - we are born and then we die.   Depending on the religion, we either go to a fun place and see all our old mates again - or not. 

When your guests are seated around the table, enjoying the first course, ask in a neutral tone who, if they had unlimited money,  would prefer becoming a cryonaut or just fulfilling your destiny and being cremated or buried?  The ensuing discussion should prove to be lively.  For prudency you may want to limit the meal to soft foods like a quiche or something that doesn't require a steak knife to eat. 

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