Further Discussions on the International Cooperation Proposal R.C.W. Ettinger
Identity and Death Mike Morley
Status Report John de Rivaz
Readers Articles (Get published in magazines!)
Letters (Time, reply to Longevity Now, lost issues, eyesight, correction)
Incentives for Reanimation Ben Best
Guys and Dolls and Damon Bob Brakeman
R.C.W. Ettinger, Cryonics Institute
Congratulations are offered to Alan Sinclair for his enterprise in building a facility single-handed. We wish him good fortune.
He indicated in his article that he had some doubts about our financial stability. The main facts are as follows. Please see also the pages titled "CRYONICS INSTITUTE--THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW."
We figured originally (1975) on an initial cost of $8,000 per patient, and subsequent maintenance costs per patient of $1,000 yearly, the latter to be covered by an investment of $20,000 at 5%. Experience has justified these original estimates, and in fact our current maintenance costs are only around $600/year/patient for liquid nitrogen; economies of scale should eventually reduce this further. Of course, nitrogen costs are not the only expenses, but the interest income on the minimum suspension fee is not the only income, either. The bottom line is that, at present, all our regular expenses are met out of regular income, mainly interest income.
Our research costs (so far mainly the development of new storage units) are not met out of ordinary income, but are met out of membership fees and donations. If the membership fees and donations ever fall off, we can suspend research expenditures.
We have no expenses for rent or dividends or compensation for officers. We own our properties free and clear; we have no creditors (no debt) and no stockholders. One of our properties was purchased outright at a very low price, and one was donated.
We are far from complacent, and keenly aware that we need to grow to cushion ourselves against possible shocks. We think we will grow, and may eventually gain a relatively large share of those elderly people who
(1) will do most of the dying, and
(2) cannot afford high prices, or are unwilling to pay high prices, and
(3) don't want their heads cut off.
Meanwhile, we have a good core of people who have been with us a long time--some of whom would undoubtedly dig deeper into their pockets in any emergency.
As for the degree of sophistication of our perfusion procedures, this is presently below that of Alcor or Trans Time; but what this means to the bottom line--the patient's chance of survival--is highly arguable. In my personal opinion, nanotechnology (or the equivalent) will be both necessary and sufficient for revival of people frozen by any of the current methods. If this is true, the more expensive methods contribute to the patient's chances only indirectly, as e.g. through improved public relations ...... What my personal opinion is worth, of course, is a matter of conjecture; but it is a fact that I perceived many things, such as the relativity of "death" and the potential reversibility of many kinds of "irreversible" damage, when hardly anyone else did. At the same time, I have been in some ways relatively conservative, and have been correct so far in warning against over-optimism on time horizons for a cure for senescence.
It is also interesting to note that many cryobiologists ask why, if we are so confident of the abilities of future science, we don't just embalm our people, expecting this kind of damage will also prove reversible. From one point of view, this is a stupid question, because no animal has ever been revived after embalming, while many (invertebrates) have been revived after freezing. From another point of view, the question is not so stupid, since it may indeed be true that a technology able to revive frozen people will also (at almost the same era) be able to revive embalmed people. And you probably recall that Eric Drexler has commented favourably on the possibilities in morphostasis or chemical fixation ..... None of this proves anything, but I think it does tend to weaken any claim for important advantages in the more complicated freezing methods.
Incidentally, I'm not sure why Mr Sinclair allows only 2.5% anticipated interest. It has been a long time since rates were that low; if they ever become that low again, it would seem to imply a deflation bringing reduced costs of many kinds. Neither am I sure why he paid so much for his travel casket. As for legal costs, and the quality of our paperwork, we have attorney members, including my son and daughter-in-law, who are very competent; my son is a senior partner and department head in the most expensive law firm in Michigan, a firm with 250 lawyers; this doesn't mean legal problems are impossible, or might not be dangerously expensive, but it does give us some degree of protection.
As for the possibility of cooperation between CI and Alcor UK, there are many things that could be said--starting with John's observation that it might make sense to save transport costs and store your own people in the UK.
John is not quite right in saying that our technology has been unavailable to others because of personality rifts. We have, in fact, published all the basic information. The admittedly important details of fabrication procedure etc. have not been published merely because this is time-consuming and not a priority with us; but this is also available. Whether our procedures are suitable for you depends on many factors, including the cost of labour that is skilled or willing to become skilled.
Another question is the degree of autonomy of Alcor UK. If there is to be actual joint responsibility--perfusion by Alcor UK and storage by CI--then a contractual structure would be needed, perhaps like the one between CI and TT; but if you need approval by Alcor US, it might be a formidable negotiation, or more likely they would be totally uninterested.
If on the other hand it is only a question of borrowing a travel container, or even just of a few hours help by some individuals, that might not be difficult. Even here, however, based on their writings in the past, Alcor US might refuse any involvement whatsoever, and demand that you refuse any, on the chance that they might be vulnerable to lawsuits by someone who later decided to sue CI.
When you contemplate entrusting your chance of life to a cryonics organization, you need confidence in its structure and prospects. We are glad to offer you (and your legal and medical advisers) all relevant information about the Cryonics Institute, as well as about cryonics in general.
The Cryonics Institute is a Michigan nonprofit corporation, controlled by the membership, and operated for the benefit of its patients and future patients. The By-Laws provide detailed information on structure and formalities of operation.
Our Articles of Incorporation (Charter) state that, in addition to sponsoring and conducting research, we freeze people in hope of future revival. This was reviewed by the Michigan Attorney General before being issued. Our term of incorporation is "perpetual." We operate openly, and there has never been a legal challenge or hint of any. (Cryonics organizations in California have encountered legal threats, but so far they have won all court decisions.)
CI owns and operates a preparation and storage facility in Detroit. We also own five acres of vacant land in a rural area in northwest lower Michigan, roughly in the Traverse City region, where we may build a larger and more secure storage facility when means permit. (The northern Michigan property was donated by one of our directors, who owns about 600 acres of surrounding land.) In mid-1989 there are two patients in storage in the Detroit facility.
In mid-1989 CI recruitment has passed 85, with several more apparently nearly ready to join. The Immortalist Society, a separate nonprofit corporation organized for information and research, has about 160 members and associate members; experience indicates that a majority of IS members will eventually join CI.
CI is uniquely sound and conservative financially, being structured primarily for long-term stability. We own our properties free and clear. We have no debt, and a policy of never having any debt. Our investments are very conservative, at present all in bank deposits or certificates of deposit. We have no creditors, no landlords, and no stockholders. The members control the corporation, but derive no financial benefit. Our directors and officers have never been paid, although nothing prevents us from hiring help whenever this seems necessary or desirable, for example when activity increases to the point where volunteer help is inadequate. At present, most of the work is done by the members without pay, which gives a good hedge against inflation. CI is the only cryonics service organization that has never raised its prices, even in the high-inflation years of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Membership Fees and Dues
The membership fee, a one-time payment, is $1,250 for an individual or $1,875 for a couple. Additional close family members at $625 each, if they join at the same time. Minor children at no extra cost. Sometimes arrangements can be made to pay the membership fees over a one-year period. Payment of the membership fee confers eligibility to execute a contract for cryonic suspension. Members who want voting rights, and the right to stand for office, pay dues of $100/year for an individual or $150/year for a couple. (Non-payment of dues means loss of voting rights, but does not affect eligibility to execute a contract or the status of existing contracts.) Membership fees constitute CI's main source of capital, spent for such things as real estate, equipment, and research; membership fees are not refundable, whether paid in whole or in part.
Minimum funding for a contract is $28,000, payable at or before death. In many cases this is provided through life insurance. In the case of older people it is sometimes provided through an in-trust account at a bank, or through a special trust, or through a single-premium life insurance policy, where the member retains control until death, at which time the funds go to CI. (This is a whole-body contract; CI does not presently offer a "neuro" or head-only option, because our prices are already so low that cost is seldom an issue.) Wills or bequests cannot be used for primary funding, because of the delays and uncertainties of probate; wills can be used for additional or supplemental funding beyond the minimum.
Members at a Distance
The CI contract specifies that our duties begin when the patient is delivered here. In practice, we try to work with members at a distance to help them set up local emergency capabilities and ensure that their arrangements are known to local mortuary, medical, and hospital people. We have always been able to get good mortuary cooperation, and usually at least some degree of physician and hospital cooperation. The minimum aim would be to have the patient, immediately after clinical death, packed in ice and shipped here; we would also try for a higher degree of cooperation leading to procedures more nearly ideal .... Eventually, of course, we hope for travelling-team capabilities or/and additional local facilities, plus electronic monitoring or messaging devices to signal instantly if a member dies or has heart irregularities. All improvements in capability hinge on growth in membership and finances, which is one reason why prospective members should join with minimum delay.
Cryonic Suspension Procedures
Details of procedures may change frequently to reflect new information or capabilities, but in general the preferred sequence is as follows. Immediately after clinical death the patient is cooled, with special attention to the head (ice packs, cold water, cold blanket, chemical cold packs, etc.); heparin or another anticoagulant is given to prevent obstructive blood clots; circulation of oxygenated blood is maintained by machine or other CPR method; monitoring and control of Ph, edema, and circulation. After cool-down to about 12o C, the blood is washed out and replaced with a cryoprotective perfusate based on glycerine and propylene glycol in gradually increasing concentration. Freezing and final cool-down employ dry ice vapours and then liquid nitrogen vapours, over a period of many days. Long-term storage is in liquid nitrogen, in cryostats of our own design and construction.
CI research so far has focused on storage methods. We have designed and built and successfully tested and are using two different types of long-term storage units, or cryostats. These unique vessels are in some ways superior to anything commercially available--in particular, they are more rugged and reliable and, unlike commercial cryostats, are not subject to catastrophic boil-off in case of loss of vacuum. They are also very efficient and economical in terms of nitrogen use. We are currently (mid-1989) building a third-generation type, rectangular semi-modular, which promises to give us an additional future advantage in economy and space saving.
Our focus will change to biological research when funding and personnel give promise of significant contributions to cryobiology. This could be either in-house (like our storage research) or through established institutions. (We have already funded some research, so far only on a very small scale.) Both conducting and financial support of cryobiological research will pay off in two ways, directly in improved procedures, and indirectly in changing the adverse mind-set of many cryobiologists. (We already have the support of some of the world's leading cryobiologists, but they are still in the minority.)
CI'S Future Prospects
Of the three current organizations offering cryostasis services, we think CI may have the best prospects for the coming decade because, in addition to advantages already mentioned, we offer whole-body service for $28,000 (after the membership fee), while others ask $100,000 or more. It is a clear fact that many people, especially those older people who will dominate the death lists and cannot buy new life insurance, do not want their heads cut off and cannot afford $100,000 for full body.
We continue to give thought to future contingencies and ways of widening our prospective members' options. We have an agreement with Trans Time (Oakland CA) whereby our members may, if they wish, choose perfusion by TT and storage by CI, at a cost intermediate between a contract solely with CI or solely with American Cryonics Society (which arranges for TT services). We are working toward increasing cooperation with ACS and TT. The CI contract contains an "assignment" clause which allows CI to transfer its patients with their contracts intact to another organization, should it ever become clear that the other organization can do a better job. For example, if General Electric or the Salk Foundation entered the field and convinced the CI directors that it could provide for CI patients more effectively and more reliably than CI. But of course the Board of Directors of CI will always be extremely cautious about any such move, with the welfare of the patients the first consideration.
Prospective members and their advisers are welcome to visit our facility, meet with some of our people, and in general take any appropriate steps to convince themselves that CI is the best choice.
The Delay Syndrome
Because the immortalist/cryonics movement is still small and far in advance of mainstream thinking, it is not easy for most people to educate themselves about cryonics and make a decision for action. There is a tendency to "wait and see." But to some degree your life, or that of someone close to you, is in peril every day. Many prospective members have waited too long, and died without arrangements in place, and are now buried.
Similarly, deferring a choice of organization can be fatal. Investigate by all means, but do not wait for perfect conditions or complete certainty. Remember that it is always possible to make a change later. We do not think CI members will ever want to change, but if you do, the loss of the membership fee ($1,250) is not unbearable, and you will have had protection meanwhile.
Think first, then ACT.
by Mike Morley
I have been re-reading the article called A Possible Cure for Death by C.B. Olson. [(Originally appearing in Medical Hypotheses, this was reprinted in The Immortalist and details brain plasticisation as an alternative to neuropreservation - copies available from Longevity Books upon request. -ed] I have also read various items by David Pizer and Mike Perry in Venturist Monthly News. I am trying to piece all this together with my thoughts on identity/consciousness, after going to see The Fly film recently.
It seem to me that there are a number of rather subtle differences between chemopreservation in plastic and cryogenic freezing. I can understand that a computer program can be run through two different computers and come out exactly the same but surely this isn't quite the same thing as "self-consciousness"? I'd already begun to think about the question of identity/consciousness after seeing the film The Fly about so-called matter transmission from box A to box B. It seems to me that when an individual goes into the transmitter at A, to be disintegrated and remanufactured a moment later in receiver box B, what you end up with is an incredibly detailed copy, but a copy nevertheless, of the original, right down to the memory of stepping into box A - so detailed a copy that everyone else including the copy leaving box B thinks it is the same individual. The person who steps out of box B knows he is the same as entered box A because his memory tells him so.
The atoms are so organised in box B that their configuration is totally identical to their original position in box A, so personality/memory and the machine brain which produces the are duplicated exactly. But, and this is the problem as I see it, aren't we really concerned that there should be a continuation of consciousness, even if there's a break or pause in between as in cryonic freezing? Do I, (my self-consciousness which is now involved in writing this letter) get transported across the room from point A to point B, or similarly in case of suspension by chemical means, across the centuries? I think not. I think that when an individual enters box A and his body/brain/memory are all broken down into their component atoms he is totally disintegrated and actually dies. I think that the disintegrated individual no longer experiences anything at all, ever.
What The Fly films would have us believe is that when he is disintegrated in box A the retransferring of details (information / memory / position of atoms to build up an identical physical brain) into some sort of storage system (computer) causes his consciousness to move along with the information, and from there into box B to take up residence in the new physical container just built up there.
Similarly I think the idea seems to be that when a present day brain is preserved by chemo/plastic means, it itself becomes the storage system and is then used to furnish information for an identical brain to be built in the future and that somehow the original consciousness awakens in the new brain. I can't see how that would happen. Surely building up an exact duplicate and replaying the same program merely results in a very clever copy who thinks mistakenly that he is the original, but it in no way transfers consciousness from the original to the copy.
If I were the person entering the transmitter A in The Fly films, I'd certainly think twice about it for the reasons given and I'm rather feeling the same about having my brain atoms solidified and fixed in a block of plastic for similar reasons. I don't think I would survive unless the original brain material is involved. In the case of cryonic freezing it would be, but in chemopreservation, if I understand it correctly, it wouldn't.
I think that attempts at matter transmission, or rather transmission/continuation of consciousness clothed in matter using a disintegration/rebuilding process would fail, due to total destruction of original matrix. The best and easiest and workable means of matter transmission is simply to walk from box A to box B, which means the original brain carries the information with it and uses the same physical brain to do this with.
If you want to extend the analogy to cryonics let's have the guy knocked unconscious at point A and dragged over to point B where he recovers and is indeed the original (his loss of consciousness would be like long-sleep in cryonics). I think this latter is essentially what cryonic preservation seeks to do and may succeed in giving me a continuation of my present day consciousness, whereas a detailed copy of the brain produced by referring to a chemo-preserved brain would produce a new consciousness which would mimic me exactly but wouldn't be me. My consciousness surely dies for good when my brain is chemopreserved.
One could say one survives in one's children or in a book or painting one leaves, or even in a future cloned facsimile, but that's not quite what I mean when I say "I want cryonics to help me survive". I want my consciousness to survive even after a great gap. If there is no jumping of consciousness across this gap of years between preservation and resuscitation then I think it's false to say "I have survived". Without continuation of consciousness, I die and what follows is merely a facsimile.
Due to these thoughts and feelings, I'll be opting for neuropreservation and will leave chemical preservation in plastic well alone. As I see it these two processes are quite different and have entirely different results.
I can see that over a period of time my whole body changes the atoms which make it up. Cells die, some are replaced, some are not, but this gradual replacement means I experience a continuation of consciousness. If I have, for the sake of argument, 1000 atoms in my body and in any one week ten of these are replaced, I always have 990 at any one time which are stable. My mind/identity/memory grows and changes, surely, by changes at an atomic level which is parallelled by changes at a cellular level. As I learn, more atoms change position to make cells change and information to flow to file things into memory, but the way this works is as a gradual process - like a huge city lit up at night with all its lights on. From time to time a whole street is plunged into darkness, but the main body of lights still shines. The off lights come on again shortly and some go off somewhere else, only to reappear again after an interval and so on. So there would be a twinkling effect, rather than total darkness.
Now if I were cryonically frozen wouldn't that mean in a sense the process of lights going off and on, of cellular death and replacement, was merely slowed down toward and eventually to reach, absolute standstill? Then, when the debris is cleared out from the brain by nanotechnology, the same process starts up again gradually, at an ever increasing rate, until the brain and consciousness is as it was before.
Substitute rebuilding of streets instead of lights. If the city changes, in this way gradually as cities do it's still the same city undergoing metamorphosis like our bodies and brains do. But if all the city was cleared away at once and rebuilt in one fell swoop it wouldn't be the same city, no matter if you named it by the same name, it wouldn't be the same.
I think the computer program simile is also inaccurate because though a program could be run on a second or infinite number of similar computers and read out exactly the same, whilst it would look and react the same we cannot ask either that program or the street lights or the rebuilt city how they feel about the situation. If we did, the second running of the program, if identical, would be misled into thinking it were the first. The only solution to this problem is by direct experience. Only the guy entering box A knows if he survives. Only a person at the end of the cryonic freezing/reanimation process will know if he survives, by whether his consciousness continues or not. Doesn't consciousness represent a special case? It is not just identity, behaviour or personality or even information, but something to do with a continuing process, which stops dead at death, pardon the pun.
We could ask the individual in box B or the one at the end of cryonic suspension/reanimation what they think, but my point is that they would speak from the only experience they have - their false memories - and they would say there was continuation of consciousness. Isn't chemopreservation rather like being totally destroyed by a bomb, (or being in box A) whilst memory/personality are stored in a computer, or even as the written word, then the memories fed into or dictated to another person, maybe an amnesiac, who would thinks he was the same person who got blown up, which demonstrably isn't the case. Even if it were a clone of the original and the machinery/cloned brain could be made to match the original atom for atom I'm still not sure this would mean the consciousness would jump from A to B - from the original to the duplicate. Doesn't the person who gets blown up stay dead? - Whereas the more gradual displacement and reconfiguration of atoms and cells on a slower basis results in our consciousness continuing from day to day but ever changing.
I can see how cryonic freezing might result in a kind of forward time travel for the person involved. Whereas I feel chemo preservation in plastic would result in a total annihilation of the individual at the time of death. If they could clone me now they could make any number of duplicates facsimiles, all looking and behaving exactly like me, and if they could codify and extract all the memories and information from my brain and transpose it into theirs, they'd all think each was the original, but wouldn't my consciousness stay right where it is, in the original brain?
An amnesiac has no memory of his past, but enters new ongoing experiences which may even build up a very different personality and different behaviours to the original, but it's the same entity who experiences this world. Isn't this because the process continues in the same (original) brain material? I wouldn't mind waking up in 300 years with some holes in my memory, as long as it's me which wakes up, and I define me as this process which is happening now, rather than memories alone.
I quote from a recent newspaper article: Tycoon Malcom Forbes and fashion designer Halston left samples of their flesh after their deaths - in a bizarre bid to be reborn as clones. The pair, who were obsessed with living again in the future, hoped scientists will recreate their bodies from single cells. They got the idea from their ailing pal Elizabeth Taylor, who wants her head frozen after she dies.
I think Elizabeth Taylor has a good chance of survival, but that the consciousness of the two men was extinguished permanently when they both died.
This article, originally sent as a letter, is important from two standpoints. One is from the subject matter, which I will discuss in a moment, and the other is that it details the thinking of someone who has only relatively recently started to take cryonic suspension seriously.
There have been many discussions like this relating to survival by various scientific processes. To me they merely prove that what we consider to be self, or our consciousness, may well be just an illusion.
Nevertheless, it is the only one we have, so it is best to preserve it in any way that is practical. I have seen arguments similar to Mr Morley's in favour of whole body against neuropreservation, and one wonders whether presented with that choice, and not Olson plasticisation, he would have taken a similar stance in favour of whole body.
He is quite right in saying that the only person who one could ask is the person suspended / reanimated and even then one may get the wrong answer!
Therefore the best solution to the problem is to allow people their own personal choice as to the best survival route to follow.
After all, surviving from one day to the next is almost an analogous process. If we don't eat today we can probably still get through the day and save a bit of time. Why bother to waste time eating so you-tomorrow won't feel weak? Indeed one could eat nothing for about a fortnight and survive. The experiences gained through a fortnight may make you-after-a- fortnight a very different person to you-today. Therefore why bother to eat, as you-after-a-fortnight may be totally different and you-today may not even like you-after-a-fortnight.
We certainly all eat, and we certainly don't eat the same food. So why should we all take the same route to the future where death is optional?
Further comment from Mike Morley
Yes indeed, I do agree with your point - whether identity is an illusion or an actual entity seems irrelevant - if it's an illusion then it's a damn good one and I for one would like to preserve the "illusion" as long as possible. I suppose that Dr Blackmore and the Zen Buddhists and Eastern Mystics just about stand on common ground on that one - "Don't worry about dying - there is no self to lose - it is all an illusion" seems to be what they are saying.
I've spent a good deal of my life very interested in comparative religion - particularly Eastern stuff and anything to do with Near Death Experiences - R. Moody et al and I am fairly convinced we do have a transcendant nature, but one per cent of doubt about that encourages my interest in cryonics. Besides which, why not have both!? If there is a spiritual world, then we'll all get there in the end I guess. But I like the idea of "hopping into the future" via cryonics also.
Surely I'd invest in a pension, because although the old-me I will become will probably think differently and act differently to me-today, there will be continuing consciousness between these two distinct but related "selves", and me-today gradually turns into the other. "His" well being is directly influenced by choices "I" make now. Isn't that the same in cryonic suspension by freezing? Hopefully my now-consciousness will awaken in the future and continue to change and grow - but only if I make provisions for that future now. Whereas the point I was trying to make was if it's merely a clone in the future, or an exact duplicate of my present brain my now-consciousness won't actually be there, in which case I'm not all that interested.
I still have a gut feeling that "my" consciousness is the same when I wake up in the morning, or after a "gas" visit to the dentist or general anaesthesia because there is continuity of structure.
I read Dr Blackmore's analysis of out of the body experiences and disagreed quite a lot with her conclusions.
Well, I must apologise for rambling on at such length. There's very few people in my neck of the woods to discuss these matters with. [That's what Longevity Report is for - ed]
I'm still a bit unsure about your saying that chemical brain preservation has the advantage of cheapness and durability whereas cryopreservation of the whole body has the advantage that it is a little bit less draconian. Neuropreservation becomes between the two, nearer the chemical brain preservation than to whole body cryonics, I should have thought.
I see chemical preservation being cheaper and whole body less draconian, and can see physical similarity between chemical brain and neuropreservation because only the head/brain is used, but it seems to me that neuro is still closer to whole body in that in both the same "brain matter" is unfrozen at future date (maybe by nanotechnology) so there is in both those the continuity of structure. But if I understand chemical preservation, once chemically preserved the actual brain tissue is only used as a map to furnish details of how to build up an identical brain, the original then being dispensed with. [It is quite likely that this is all cryonics can do, because of the freezing damage. - ed]
Please reassure me that if I opted for neuropreservation instead of whole body the idea would be to clone a fresh body around the original grey matter. As I read on page 4 of Longevity Report 21 "plenty of American Cryonics Society members also are 'concerned by the various aspects of neuropreservation and have reservations with the idea of uploading.'"
Would it be possible to encourage Jim Yount to elaborate on this in a future letter/article? [If he reads this, he has my encouragement - ed]
I can't say that I agree with Mr B.W. Haines' letter really - So what's wrong with genetic engineering? If we can eradicate gene-carried diseases, mongoloid babies, people with the awful crippling diseases carried in their genes, surely that's a good thing? That's not equivalent to saying that I don't care about such people when they do exist - obviously they do need the best possible care and support when they are in that position. But if by tinkering about with genes etc we can prevent things which obviously don't function as they should, surely that's good and OK? I agree it's no good bring people back by cryonics if their quality of life in the future would be dismal and their life-style unhealthy, but surely if technology arrives to bring people back a parallel technology or means of remaining healthy will also have arrived. If Eric Drexler's ideas come to fruition, old age and illness will be a thing of the past. That great boon and the technology to revive cryonicists go hand in hand.
Please keep publishing cryonics and similar writings and articles. I think it's that which makes Longevity Report so interesting for me. There are plenty of "health" journals around, but not many in England with cryonics interest. [Longevity Report is the only one in regular publication. Mizar (now Alcor UK) did send out it's own newsletter at one time, but there's really little point as we'd always publish any announcement they wanted to make. -ed]
We should be looking at longevity now and in the future, and hope that cryonics may get some of us into that future. Extend longevity to its ultimate and you get "immortalism". Just as you say in your response to Mr Haines' letter, if we push back the limit from three score years and ten to 200 years, why stop there?
I am amazed that people with millions - Marlon Brando - and other aging film stars, don't invest in cryonics and equally amazed at the (as yet) small numbers of people who are actually signed up. I felt the majority of the "anti-" lobby in the television programs showed a singular lack of imagination. Their attitudes were either derogatory in the extreme or else they went for cheap laughs. If they could publish Eric Drexler's book in England in a paperback or cheaper edition as well as the Ettinger volumes maybe cryonics and nanotechnology would reach a wider public more quickly. Is there any possibility of this? [Yes, Engines of Creation is now available in the UK published by Fourth Estate and was very favourably reviewed in The Sunday Correspondent on 3 June - a copy was rescued by Mike Zehse from his usual source. - ed]
The scientist on television with the frozen lettuce was pathetic! He also went for a cheap laugh and still didn't seem to see the difference between present and future technology. He ended up to my mind about as wilted and stunted in hope and imagination as his old lettuce leaf.
It is good to see Arthur C. Clarke thinks cryonics has a good chance of working. I thought the article by Bob Brakeman was fascinating. I hope Liz Taylor gets suspended also - also Michael Jackson I think has expressed a similar desire?
I am trying to "spread the word" re cryonics at the hospital where I work but most people dismiss the idea as "cuckoo"! I have put leaflets and Alcor booklets in the library at the hospital in the hope of drumming up some interest. So far, no luck! I'll have to give these ideas of a recruitment drive some further thought.
Are you aware if Drexler's ideas for assemblers and replicators and nanocomputers are being picked up by the scientific community at large? I am hoping so much that the sort of technology he describes will eventually be created. His description of the growing of an engine in a vat of assemblers sounded really beautiful. I am wondering what your personal opinion is on these things one day becoming possible? If not does that leave a big gap in technology needed to repair damaged brain tissue of suspended?
I may buy another of the Drexler books soon to lend out to people in the hope of stimulating some interests, though I am amazed at the number of people around here who seem more concerned with their daily pint of lager and happenings on TV soap operas! Maybe I'm just buttonholing the wrong people!?
Further Editorial Comment
I am grateful for Mike Morley to share his "ramblings" with us. No doubt many readers have had these thoughts when considering cryonic suspension, and many committed cryonicists will benefit by knowing how at least one person thinks as he looks into their world from the outside.
Unfortunately no-one can give any assurances about how cryonic revivals will be performed. Certainly there is more than one way of going about it. Dr Paul Segall in his book Living Longer Growing Younger, available from us for 9.50 in hardback, suggests an entirely different method, and this does suggest a way round the problem of no nanotechnology.
However personally I do see nanotechnology appearing, and I do seem to have the subconscious knack to judging future trends in technology - I had tape recording well in the vanguard of its popularity, and I had a video recorder in the mid sixties! I was discussing home computing and laser printing in the mid sixties, but didn't get a computer until the late seventies. They only thing that hasn't come to pass so far is the idea of every household owning some apparatus to generate its electricity from natural sources, but maybe this requires nanotechnology to be really practicable. I also foresaw the exodus from the cities, and I would suspect that my views on such things as travel, medicine and death will become common in the years to come. Another of my ideas - the international outlawing of military conscription - (analogous to the abolition of slavery) is probably only decades away now, and will certainly occur within my natural lifetime. Economic pressure will probably force the USSR to end it within a few months or years at the most.
At the end of this volume we have 81 subscribers, which is not bad when one considers the poor take up on renewals at it's start.
There is, however a bit of slightly bad news, in that I am making the number of pages (sides) 18 instead of 20. This is because we are a couple of grammes over the postage weight, and although we can get away with 15p stamps for UK issues, we cannot get them franked at post offices. But with Word Perfect the number of pages is almost irrelevant, because if there isn't enough text I can add graphics or widen the spaces between lines. One can add or remove two pages without really noticing it! An earlier issue in the current volume was 22 pages at first printing until I re-set it when changing from WordPerfect 5.0 to 5.1, at which point I reduced it to 20 pages.
I did write to the post office suggesting for bulk mailings postage could be charged on a per gramme basis over and above the basic 60g band. They replied that they do - for postings of over 4,000 items. As usual, it is kick the small man in the ****.
Also, I have heard rumours that the Post Office plan the most savage increases in postal prices since the introduction of the modern postal service by Rowland Hill. The increase in first class letters will be more than what it cost to post a first class letter only a few years ago! I am hopeful that I can maintain my prices of 10 (UK) for newsletters in the face of this increase by way of further economies and improved circulation. The content of Longevity Report has improved substantially with the current volume, and if this can be maintained over the next issues, then we should be able to retain and expand our readership. Rather than put book prices up, we will probably start mailing them second class or parcel post.
For what it's worth my view of the Post Office is that they should look to economies internally instead of increasing prices so dramatically. Do people really need two deliveries per day? How about a 3rd class rate for bulk advertising mail, to be delivered during slack periods only? As there is no delivery on Sunday (and we don't need one) do we need collections on Saturdays? I hope that many Longevity Report readers will write to their MPs making constructive suggestions about how to keep postage costs down. For widely spread minority groups like immortalists, these continuing increases are a serious threat.
It is not quite true to state as we did in an earlier issue that we have an exchange subscription with the American Cryonics Society - they asked me to send the $9 difference between the two subscriptions they requested and the cost of their one subscription to me (at their old rate)! However although this does show the good value of Longevity Report, one must be fair and point out that all I do is to run a newsletter, whereas their subscriptions have to pay for the running of their society. On that basis, they are undoubtedly good value, and I would urge readers wanting to make a serious study of cryonics to subscribe to their journal also. It costs $45 U. S. funds per year (having recently gone up) for an international subscription, and is very similar in size and appearance to Longevity Report, except that they have a far better copying process! Subscriptions are available from their offices at:
American Cryonics Society,
P.O. Box 761,
California 95015, U. S. A.
They have sent me three back numbers for distribution to potential subscribers. The first three Longevity Report readers writing requesting one will get one each! (Without obligation, of course.)
Quite a few of the contributions to this issue have been sent in on 5" MSDOS disks which makes my work easier. This means I can do more work, not spend more time slacking! We had so many contributions that some have been held over until the next issue. However I have been flexible inasmuch as this issue has 26 pages, and a 24p stamp.
Offshore Therapies for extending lifespan
Although on disk, we have also held over some re-prints from Offshore Medical Therapies. I felt that as these substances are not yet available in the UK they are only of academic interest as yet.
However I would like to start a register of those interested in importing life extension drugs from abroad. If I can offer enough names, maybe in the future someone will consider it worthwhile setting up a facility to do this for UK people. After all, we do in this country have the freedom to import these for our own use quite legally, as had been pointed out in early issues of Longevity Report. Longevity Report is sent all over the world, and maybe some of our overseas readers will have the legal and pharmaceutical knowledge to set up a company that can do the necessary work.
I must urge any reader getting hold of these substances to act sensibly. A small dose is often better than a large one, which will just make you sick! Two tablets of Deprenyl, for example, per week is all that is needed for a life extension dose. (Sundays and Wednesdays, for example.) The medical dose for Parkinson's disease is two a day. Ageing is not Parkinson's disease - the treatments are different! More is not necessarily better. Try taking more pepper than usual with your next meal if you aren't convinced.
Also, by way of example the NHS price for Deprenyl is about 50p/tablet. 1 per week for the chance of an extended maximum lifepan is a reasonable deal, but if you took two a day, the economics of the deal would seem unreasonable to me. When evaluating the cost of a life extension therapy, disregard the cost per pill or whatever, and focus on the cost per week. This is much better guide.
If you want Deprenyl or any of these substances, then get your name down on the list. You won't get it soon, but once we have a long list of names, maybe someone overseas will do something.
I have recently received a bulletin from the Cryonics Association of Australia, who have an exchange subscription with Longevity Report. They report that they are having problems with getting a quorum of cryonicists at meetings, which is hardly surprising considering the vastness of their country. They are also progressing with their plan to seek a levy of donations from their members of $1,000 (Australian) per year in order to set up a facility.
If these payments could be in return for shares rather than as a gift it may help sweeten the pill. Unfortunately the formation of a company would mean that professionals would get the first $2,000 as fees. The newsletter did not state what the annual professional fees would be, but if the proportions are the same as in the UK, it would be a like amount each year! In the event, it was concluded that it would be more sensible to proceed with their present organisation unless sufficient people felt a company would be worthwhile.
Their aim is to obtain the necessary equipment and training to achieve coordinator status with Alcor by December 1990. Capability for a basic perfusion capability using mortuary facilities is targeted for December 1991, with their own facility at a later stage.
It would seem worthwhile for them to try and get a programme shown on Australian television about Alcor UK, and see if they can recruit an Alan Sinclair into their membership!
Simon Carter and Theo Tatton received a visit from Dr Thomas Donaldson on a recent visit to Australia. Although his attempts to form a society there failed, the roots of the CAA originated from his society, and he remains a friend and guide to cryonicists in Australia.
Late news: There has been a suspension in Australia of an Alcor non-member. Full details will be in the next issue.
Longevity Report reader Mr Simon Martin published an excellent article in Here's Health dated June 1990, page 90. Professor Robert Ettinger, writing in The Immortalist, described it as "a totally friendly and upbeat article on immortalism and cryonics." The article included our address, and we received a number of enquirers, one or two of which resulted in subscriptions. We are most grateful to Mr Martin for this coverage, and it is anticipated that benefits will continue to accrue as Here's Health is often left in waiting rooms and passed from person to person. Any reader who has an entry into any magazine or newspaper is urged to try and give us a mention, and if you send us a photocopy of your article then we will mention it in our "hall of fame".
From Dr John Walford
Here is some fresh input for the cryonics, time, space debate:
Are we all agree d that the real true essence of time and space is the continuity of being-now-ness (whatever its history)?
If so, can we all agree that the real true essence of cryonic suspension, preservation and revitalisation is its true hope of continuity (whatever its mode of technology)?
* * *
From Mr Paul Michaels
I wonder exactly what basis in reason Brian W. Haines rests his case for his "non-interventionist" Life extension methods as outlined by him in Longevity report number 21.
Of course we are all aware (are we not ?) that certain life styles are adversaries to the healthy Human condition.
However, it is an error of gigantic proportions to assume that by simply removing these factors (becoming teetotal, non consumption of "artificial " foods, breathing non polluted air and so on) would dramatically extend our life spans.
The Ancient Romans, Greeks and others had a life style virtually identical to that proposed by Mr. Haines, and, in the absence of pills and potions (such as antibiotics, antifungals and the like) lived short, painfilled and, I imagine, fairly miserable lives. In fact with such a life style the long lived member was looked upon as some one special, just for being able to achieve "old age" around 55 years was considered quite an achievement, unlike today when the number of people reaching their eighties and beyond are considered quite common or garden beings, in fact to achieve the status granted to a 57 year old Roman today one has to survive to 104 or beyond. (This is the case in the U.K. in Japan the figure is a little higher, say 112 and over!)
As the lifestyle proposed by Mr. Haines and tried centuries earlier by the Greeks Romans etc. seems to accomplish exactly the reverse of his stated objectives then I must, at this stage para phrase Gore Vidal and suggest that when he next visits the fountain of truth he should do more than simply gargle.
It is, at least to me, quite absurd to propose such simplistic dogma to attain any meaningful extension of life. Artificial foods, such as the food preservatives Ethoxyquin, BHA and BHT have been shown, in multiple animal studies to be very strongly implicated in the prolonging of life, and, given any kind of choice I would immediately choose an "artificial" food that offered those kind of benefits over any "natural" food that lacked them.
In fact, to my limited knowledge, there is no "natural" food that has emulated the life extending nature of the aforementioned substances.
I also disagree strongly with his apparent stance of "either / or" with regard to either Life Extension or Cryonics. To me the issue is simple (but then to me everything is simple !!) lets do everything we can to extend the healthy pleasurable part of Human life, breathing clean air certainly, but also ingesting those substances which can help to prevent disease and prolong our lives. (The latest published research on Deprenyl, for instance, a prescription drug used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, indicates that if a healthy middle aged Human took just 10mg PER WEEK then he or she would not get Parkinson's and also extend their life by around 15 to 20 years,plus there are several other benefits such as no lowering of sex drive--a highly desirable situation!).
Although my main commitment is balanced more towards actual Life extension I certainly would not make the mistake of assuming that all the breakthroughs I would like to see will occur in my anticipated lifetime (I am currently almost 44 years old) and that I certainly believe that Cryonics does have a major role to play as part of any life orientated outlook.
My only real concern with Cryonics is the cost, I look forward to the day when it experiences a wider public acceptance and, as a result, lower costs to the subscribers. This happens in any business and Cryonics will certainly be no exception.
We all find different ways to come to terms with our own mortality, whether these terms are Catholicism, Christianity, Meditation, Self Delusion, Reincarnation, Whitbread Best Bitter, Spiritualism or Cryonics.
Of these options of course Cryonics is the rational being's only choice at realising, literally, life after death.
In the meantime I shall continue to fight against what may not be the inevitable with every weapon I can muster, anti oxidants, antibiotics, selected "drugs", vitamins, positive mental outlook, reasonable exercise and carefully selected diet.
Should the breakthroughs be a little late in coming then I would unreservedly choose to have my remains frozen looking forward to the day when I would re-awaken in a society where views like mine are considered the norm and not the exception.
Finally on Life Extension itself I don't think I'll be satisfied with just another 10 or 20 years (I'll take them of course!), neither do I think I am seeking immortality, whatever that implies, in terms of lifespan I think around ten thousand years will do, as to after that, well ask me again in 9,950 years time, it is possible I may have altered my views a little.
Meanwhile lets all be cheerful out there!
From Mr Keith Giscombe
It has been a while since the last Longevity Report. I hope it has not died (deanimated). If not, when is the next issue due?
Concerning the two articles in the last issue I got, Feverfew - Miracle Herb and Aminoguanidine, reprinted from Offshore Medical Therapies, I found them straightforward and informative. The reference lists were especially helpful. I hope that you will continue to reprint relevant articles from Offshore Medical Therapies and other sources.
Your Proposal for International Cooperation in Cryonic Suspension is a good idea. I hope that you sent copies to the respective cryonics agencies.
Did you see the small front page article in the Today newspaper dated 24 May. It described research being performed by a Professor Cook of Brunel University on a device called a "Bio Laser Speck". The device is supposed to correct short sightedness. The article quoted a cost of 85 per month to rent the device from it's manufacturers, and exercise periods were 25 minutes per day. Unfortunately I do not possess a copy of the article to send. I did not have the required change at the time, and had to resort to scribbling the details down on the back of an envelope.
Back to the subject of Aminoguanidine. Would you know where I could find out whether it is available in France without prescription. I shall be visiting that country again later in the year.
I have finally purchased a word processor, a Sanyo 555 PC running Wordstar.
No Longevity Report has not died! It would appear that you did not get no 21, and I enclose another copy. Paul Michaels said his copy took a nearly a fortnight to get to him, so there must have been a problem with this mailing. I will put a note in the next issue. (This is it - anyone who didn't get the last issue (no 21) should write and ask for another!)
In the event the newsletter is ever closed (I have no plans to do this at present) it will be a planned forwarned event and the current volume will be completed. The mailing list is a valuable asset, and would probably be offered to a similar newsletter even if it is American, so readers would be given the chance of continuing with something in a similar vein. However at present my newsletter is flourishing.
All the world's cryonics groups receive Longevity Report, so they will see and have responded to the cryonics debate.
Many of our readers are now sending in material on PC disks. My own word processor is WordPerfect and it can read Wordstar disks if you plan on sending in an article at any time. I prefer 5" disks, but a friend can convert the smaller size for me after allowing a week for postage delays.
I didn't see the Today article, although London's dustbins might oblige Mike Zehse at some point. This looks to be the same as a process marketed by Thorsons in book and cassette form, where you are supposed to exercise your eyes to relieve short sight. I don't think it would work in severe cases, and as with many of these ideas - they are fine if you have the time! It is possible that the 85/month rent may act as an incentive to use the darn thing, but I would imagine the book that costs about a fiver from Thorsons is much less of a rip off. If the apparatus really uses a laser it sounds highly dangerous unless it is used under strict competent professional supervision. I could imagine something using a few harmless light emitting diodes as an aid to eye exercises that could probably be wired up for less than 85 pence by the average electronic hobbyist.
There is no source of Aminoguanidine in France. It is only actually sold as a pharmaceutical chemical for use in the preparation of other pharmaceutical compounds. However if enough readers express an interest in an overseas agency for the import of these products to the UK, then it may be possible to get a company to encapsulate the powder for sale.
Thanks again for your continued interest in and support for Longevity Report.
From Mr Bob Brakeman,
(who is the author of more than 2000 articles on immortalism and public affairs and who resides in Malibu, California.)
A correction you may wish to make in connection with How to be a Polynesian Tourist (our typescript is correct but something was lost in the transfer): page 17, left column: After "to perform an act" these words were accidentally omitted: "is not synonymous with having performed such an act".
We apologise for this ommission. Bob has sent us another of his excellent articles, Guys and Dolls and Damon concerning Damon Runyon, and the lessons to be learned pertaining to immortalism from his life. It is reproduced elsewhere in this issue, hopefully without error this time.
The proportionately high turnout at cryonics conferences makes the number offered each year well in excess of those offered by other organisations. We offer here some details from Fred and Linda Chamberlain's August Alisomar Conference because the subject matter does indeed appear interesting. Hopefully it will attract more members for the movement if outsiders are allowed in. There is a wide range of registration fees ranging from $150 to $300 including accommodation. Full details are available from PO Box 18698, South Lake Tahoe, CA 95706, tel (916) 577-4746.
Although the turnout is proportionately high, still the majority of those interested in immortalism cryonics and life extension membership do not attend conferences, and therefore it is hoped and expected that this material will become available in written form over the years to come.
By no means an exhaustive list of the 17 lectures, the following are representative of the conference:
The Big Picture - Biostasis, World View, and Life Strategy Robert Ettinger, "The father of cryonics," on integrating the movement into something beyond mere application of science.
Demonstrating Viable Memory after Cryopreservation: Research Directions. Jerry Leaf, B.A.
Nanotechnology - The Avenue to Health and Wealth Dr Ralph C. Merkle, Ph.D.
Permafrost Cryonic Internment Benjamin Best, B.Sc. (Pharmacy) B.Sc. (Physics), BBA (Accounting and Finance)
Pro Death Memes and Possible Counter Measures Dr Jim Stevenson, Ph.D.
Saul Kent will be giving his talk on his Leichenstein Reanimation Foundation. (I should have though that there would have been some written material on this one by now!)
All the lectures are of 30 minutes duration, and we look forward to the possibility of at least some of them being available on cassette or transcript. Naturally I would be pleased to publish any offered to Longevity Report.
The conference looks to be a lively one, with speakers representing many varied and differing points of view on immortalism.
by Benjamin Best,
B.Sc. (Pharmacy) B.Sc. (Physics), BBA (Accounting and Finance)
Not long ago I had the opportunity to make a presentation to the Ontario Sceptics Society on the subject of cryonics. My arguments for the scientific feasibility of cryonics devastated all objections on scientific grounds. But some of the Sceptics expressed strong scepticism that future generations would have much incentive to bring frozen cryonicists back to life. My response on this point was not as strong as it could have been, and my critics seemed quite proud to have found "the flaw" in my argument.
To my critics, the presentation and the argument were merely an intellectual exercise. If they had seen their critical objection from the point of view that they had discovered a reason why they might perish, they may have been less inclined to gloat. Cryonics, for me, is an issue of life-and-death urgency. If I find problems which could stand in the way of cryonics working, I look for solutions to those problems -- rather than using that as an excuse to give-up and reject cryonics. Having given more careful thought to the question of reanimation, I conclude that there are three major incentives to reanimate:
(2) Economic and
I will discuss each of these in turn.
If someone discovered today a method by which a well-preserved Egyptian mummy (with intact brain) could be brought back to life, is there any question that this would be done? Not only would this be an enormous coup for the scientist who achieved this feat, but the ancient Egyptian would be much sought-after by anthropologists, archaeologists and historians from around the world. A second reanimated Egyptian would still be newsworthy, but less so than the first. The one-thousandth Egyptian probably wouldn't arouse much interest. There would probably come a point where scientists would try to evaluate the knowledge to be gained from further Egyptian mummies before attempting reanimation. The process of reanimating cryonicists for scientific reasons would probably go through an analogous sequence of stages.
The conventional view of incentives for reanimation is based on the idea that a patient's maintenance fund will be large enough for interest on the principal to both pay maintenance costs and to appreciate the value of the fund over time. When the costs of reanimation have dropped to the point where they are less than the value of the fund, the maintenance fund can be used to cover reanimation costs.
A problem with this scenario is that it is outrageous to imagine that it is possible to predict the cost of anything in 100 years time, much less the cost of maintenance and reanimation. On the other hand, if a fund has proven sufficient for maintenance and capital appreciation for 100 years, chances seem good that the fund will be adequate to cover reanimation costs. One can imagine that the initial reanimations would be the most expensive, but they would be underwritten by the scientific incentives. Subsequent reanimations should become progressively cheaper as the techniques are refined and automated -- such that economic incentives would become more important than scientific ones. Nor would the technology for reanimation be entirely dependent upon those who are to be reanimated. It is very likely that the average person will already have a bloodstream full of nanomachines that prevent aging and disease, before reanimations begin.
Under the assumption that the maintenance fund is not adequate to cover reanimation costs, however, what additional reanimation funding is possible? John de Rivaz has suggested that a revocable endowment of real estate be given to an organization like Lifepact. Lifepact could benefit from the income and, by revoking the endowment upon reanimation, the cryonicist would doubtless have access to valuable assets (since the cost of real estate is very unlikely to fall). Perhaps a minor consideration is the fact that Lifepact would have economic incentives to keep the cryonicist in suspension, rather than face the loss of income upon revocation!
I have recommended a plan whereby a suspension member could pay for reanimation costs on the basis of labour performed after reanimation. I suggested that a Lifepact member agree to accept to repay 3 times the cost of a reanimation & reeducation as the condition of reanimation -- to be repaid in future labour. Thus, the cost of his/her own reanimation costs would go toward reanimating two other people (for which she/he would be repaid). These two could reanimate four, the four could reanimate eight, etc. The reanimation costs and repayments could either go through the Lifepact organization or directly between individuals. Of course, the member could agree to pay only the costs of her/his own reanimation through labour, but reanimating such a person would be less of a priority for Lifepact. Might there be a problem enforcing an agreement to reanimate two others when a person decides after reanimation to pay only her/his own reanimation costs? Enforcing this contract would certainly be easier than a suspension member attempting to enforce a contract to keep her/him in suspension.
The prospect of selling labour 100 years hence brings forth a host of questions relating to the marketability of labour in that era -- especially by someone recently reanimated. This question must be addressed even if the maintenance fund is adequate for reanimation, since it will presumably still be necessary or desirable to work for a living 100 years in the future.
A bit of historical perspective might be helpful. Early in the 19th century, the English political economist David Ricardo formulated what came to be known as the "Iron Law of Wages". This law predicted that wages of labourers would never rise above the level of subsistence because increases in survival and reproduction would always offset increases in production. Thomas Malthus made similar predictions, emphasizing that geometrical increases in population could easily outstrip the diminishing returns from increased labour to extract food from land. Because of this kind of thinking, economics came to be known as the "dismal science". And yet exponential growth in technology did allow production to outstrip reproduction -- for a general increase in economic well-being.
But the population question has not been laid to rest. World population continues to increase at a disturbing pace and - most disturbingly - increases the most among those sections of the world least capable of sustaining it with their own resources. I would like to see every human being be a contributor-to, rather than a drain-upon, world wealth. Under such circumstances additional population is a blessing, not a handicap. Even today, there is talk of labour shortages in West Germany and Japan -- although the demand may be greatest for skilled, educated labour. It may well be that the Nanotechnological Revolution will outstrip world reproduction, just as the Industrial Revolution outstripped reproduction in the developed countries. The Nanotechnological Revolution may render questions of overpopulation and pollution obsolete, just as the Industrial Revolution rendered the Iron Law of Wages obsolete. As a result of the Industrial Revolution, those engaged in the production of food went from 95% to about 5% of the population. A similar shift has been observed since World War II insofar as the majority of labourers have shifted from manufacturing to service. And yet, the demand for labour has not dropped. As more productive functions are automated, more people are freed to do work in service or entertainment, which are not so easily automated. This kind of trend is likely to continue for the next 100 years.
There is a seeming paradox in that the greater the wealth and technology of the future - and the more easily and cheaply a reanimation can be performed - the less value the labour of the reanimated person might be. Yet if minor functions are not automated, the payment for performing those functions would be bountiful - given the enormous wealth and productivity of the society.
It has been suggested that future generations will be so advanced and superhuman that they would be no more interested in reanimating a cryonicist than we would be interested in reanimating an insect frozen to a tree. But if initial reanimations are done for scientific reasons, and subsequent reanimations are done for economic reasons, further reanimations would soon be done for emotional reasons. Those reanimations would be undertaken by persons who were reanimated in the first wave. Thrust into a future world of strangers, those first reanimated will be eager to reanimate their friends and loved-ones. As family and friends are reanimated, they too will seek to reanimate family and friends. Lifepact and similar organizations could also become involved, where fraternal feeling and prior commitments function similar to the bondings of friendship. Some reanimations may also be done for charitable reasons, but the drive to do this will be secondary to stronger emotional bonds.
Being an active contributor to the development of the cryonics movement may reap benefits in the future. By working effectively to promote and develop cryonics in these primitive and disheartening times, we may well be earning a place in the hearts and memories of other cryonicists. These are the people who may be the most likely to be in a reanimated state, and likely to have some motivation for reanimating us. If we work well, we will be remembered with respect. If we are of goodwill, we will be remembered with fondness.
This is one of the best articles that it has been my good fortune to receive as editor of Longevity Report. I hope that there will a lot of readers' debating these issues in future. Here are a few points that strike me immediately.
One could conclude that it is inevitable that one or two people will be reanimated on grounds of scientific curiosity, and from then on the "Feyodorov Principle" would do the rest. (He was the Russian Philosopher who believed that it would be the ultimate duty of humanity to raise its dead, so naturally there will be a desire to revive friends and relations.)
I have written before that the inverse of this is what is holding back cryonics. Although it is OK for one individual, it is too expensive for one individual and dependents. And of course if say your rich uncle will take you along, will you go without your dependents, which he may not want or be able to subsidise? Turn this on its head, though, and have a reanimation process cheap enough by nano replication, then all you really need is for someone who can be bothered to do the reanimations.
As to selling labour in the future, this strikes me as reckless. One may picture onself leading an idylic existance being paid for doing what you want (and are therefore best at), paying off your debts gradually like a mortgage. But suppose you are sent to some ghastly place to do some ghastly underpaid job for millenia that is so badly paid you'll never pay off your debts. Signing blank cheques is always a risky business. I advise against it.
Reprinted from Offshore Medical Therapies
Even though the aging process does not always lead to dementia, it is a sad fact that unusual fatigue and lowered mental energy are often very common, even amongst so-called "middle-aged" people1.
The good news is that a French drug therapy is now available to combat this worrying condition. This new breakthrough is called ADRAFINIL, and is usually sold under the brand name OLMIFONTM. Thus, it has now become possible to effectively treat this decline in mental ability.
WHY DOES ADRAFINIL WORK?
Adrafinil works directly on special receptors in the brain, these are called postsynaptic receptors2,3. Since adrafinil works directly on those sites which control alertness and does not interfere with any other brain function, it has been a very successful treatment. (It should be noted that this direct action means that mental stimulation is achieved WITHOUT raising blood pressure or affecting heart rate).
Adrafinil acts on the chemical processes of the brain to prevent the loss of alertness and the depression that occurs with increasing age 4,5.
Adrafinil is a completely new substance, unique in its special action on alertness.
NEW DRUG DISCOVERY.
You will note that adrafinil is the first of, what will almost certainly be, a whole new generation of safe, non-addictive antidepressants.
Adrafinil is the founder member of this new generation of drugs, which are known as "eugregorics" (eu=good, gregor=arousal)6.
The main properties of a eugregoric substance are:
improved short term memory. improved attention and concentration.
enhanced clarity of thought.
normalization of sleep patterns.
less mental fatigue.
higher quality of self-awareness.
raised levels of optimism and enthusiasm for day to day life.
freedom from depression.
These benefits are experienced by almost all adult age groups.
Adrafinil is the only eugregoric drug that is currently available.
Adrafinil allows a restoration of daytime alertness and studies indicate that it helps to prevent brain aging7,8. Adrafinil can be effectively used to correct ALL of the following conditions:
general physical and mental fatigue.
loss of initiative.
reduction of motor activity.
lack of, or decline of interest in social events.
a drop in intellectual ability and a lack of new ideas.
memory problems and a fall in efficiency, productivity and creativity.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
A fascinating aspect of adrafinil is its unusual way of working - different effects occur as the course of treatment is continued.
Adrafinil has three distinct effects which occur at different times during the treatment period. We list below an approximate timetable of events:
1) After 8 to 10 days of treatment, motor effects are seen:
Increased "get up and go", which permits the return of full physical activity.
An improvement in the ability to "get things done".
Muscular fatigue and motor blocks disappear.
2) After 15 days of treatment, there is a powerful re-energizing effect on activity, which allows a full restoration of functional ability, improved desire to take a full part in life and enhanced energy levels.
3) After 1 to 3 months of treatment, cognitive effects are seen. Intellectual function is improved, in particular, the ability to formulate new ideas and recall information.
AN ALERTNESS BOOST.
The effects of adrafinil are totally different from the other psychostimulants such as amphetamine, caffeine etc. Common stimulants like caffeine, only lead to fleeting and sterile stimulation, not to mention the problems of tolerance which occur when they are used for long periods.
Adrafinil can produce amazing improvements in a person's general attitude:
absent-mindedness becomes concentration.
irritability becomes tranquillity.
bad moods become good moods.
quiet people become talkative.
reserved people become open.
passive people become active.
drowsy people become wide-awake.
Adrafinil's stimulating properties are NOT produced by amphetamine methods, thus it can be safely used without fear of addiction. In addition to this adrafinil benefits are both therapeutic and long-lasting, helping to restore decision making abilities and the mental functions which allow a better adaptation to both the working and social environments
Adrafinil (sold as OlmifonTM) is an exciting and unique development in the battle against brain aging and the subsequent decline in mental function. For the past 3 years adrafinil has been used to treat Alzheimer's victims in France9,10. Sadly, although it cannot cure the disease, initial indications are that it can certainly arrest the development of senile dementia during the early stages of mental decline.
Whilst adrafinil is not a cure for senile dementia, scientific studies show that it may well be the much sought after preventative to mental deterioration. This is in addition to its remarkable antidepressant effects.
Adrafinil can be used to increase intellectual ability and creativity and could be of special value to the following groups:
artists and writers or any involved in creative activities.
those studying for examinations.
those looking to increase their social skills.
2 to 4 tablets per day. Adrafinil is a powerful brain stimulant and this dose should not be exceeded. In contrast to stimulants like amphetamine and caffeine, adrafinil does not disturb sleep patterns.
Some people can experience mild agitation and feelings of aggression or excitement when they first start the treatment. If this occurs, the dose is reduced until the symptoms disappear. Gradually increase the dose over a period of time until the best tolerated level is reached.
Most people find that adrafinil is well tolerated.
Under 65 years of age take 1 to 2 tablets in the morning and at midday, preferably with food.
70 years of age and above take 1 tablet in the morning and at midday, preferably with food.
The reduced dosage for the older person is due to the increased sensitivity of the elderly to this therapy.
Adrafinil has a good safety record, however, there a number of important precautions. Those with epilepsy, liver or kidney impairment should not use adrafinil.
Adrafinil should not be used along with major tranquillizers, e.g. pimozide, haloperidol, chlorpromazine etc.
Prolonged treatment (i.e. in excess of 5 months) should be avoided unless the level of the enzyme alkaline phosphatase is monitored.
1 Lefebvre P; Ann. Psychiatr. 2(3):318-321 (1987).
2 Duteil J; Eur. J. Pharmacol. 59(1-2):121-123 (1979).
3 Simon P; Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry 7)(2-3):183-186 (1983).
4 Kurtz D; Sem. Hop. Paris 62(34):2772-2775 (1986).
5 Jouvet M; Journees d'etude sur le vieillissement, organisees par L'ORPHEM, Marseille, 25-26 mars (1987).
6 Israel L; Psychologie Medicale 21(8):1235-1255 (1989).
7 Guyotat J; Psychologie Medicale 19(10):1901-1910 (1987).
8 Dewailly Ph; Act. Med. Inter. Psychiatrie (6): No.90 (1989).
9 Schneider H; La Revue de Geriatrie 13(4) Avril 1988.
10 Vijayashankar N; Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 38(5):490-497 (1979).
by Bob Brakeman
Guys who have their names added to the language tend to be guys who've led lives that were busy, in one direction or another. They may or may not have been saints, but they tend to be guys who were active at something-or-other --- active enough and good enough at it that their own name becomes synonymous with their activity.
Those who think the word "guys" appears excessively often in the preceding paragraph will be pleased to learn that it' s there for a reason. Guys and Dolls was the most famous work of Damon Runyon, who fits the description given in that paragraph. His style of writing became so famous among both critics and the public that runyonesque is now listed in many general dictionaries and dictionaries of slang as meaning writing which relies heavily upon colloquialisms in general and the slang of the New York streets in particular.
In a striking irony, the man who made Manhattan famous was born two thousand miles from New York --- but still in Manhattan. Manhattan, Kansas features Kansas state University, and the Missouri River, and in 1884 it featured, for the first time anywhere, Damon Runyon. Like so many small town kids, Runyon spent his early years trying to figure out how to get out. Journalism proved to be the way, and he eventually found himself a reporter in the other Manhattan.
If he'd remained a reporter, the dictionaries would be short of the word runyonesque, and American literature would be short of dozens of classics. They were short-story classics, for Runyon's machine gun style worked best in machine gun-like short bursts, and he avoided the longer novel form. In collections of his stories like Guys and Dolls (1941) and Blue Plate Special (1934) and Money from Home (1935) and Runyon à la Carte (1944), Damon Runyon created the funniest collection of gamblers and hoods and molls ever to dance across a page while committing felonies. The phenomenal sales of those books led to the inevitable Serious Hollywood Interest, and soon two things were happening on The Coast. The first was that Runyonesque dialogue began to infiltrate every film dealing with gangsters or street-life in general . The second was that Runyon's properties began to be filmed. Before director Frank Capra began making boring/pretentious/anti-social1 "message" pictures in the mid-to-late thirties, he filmed Lady for a Day, a Runyon comedy/drama, in 1933. Before Shirley Temple lost her appeal as a teenager, she made Little Miss Marker in 1934; that film, from one of Damon Runyon's best stories, was later (l949) remade as a Bob Hope/Lucille Ball vehicle (it was retitled Sorrowful Jones). The same year Hope filmed Sorrowful Jones, he was hard at work on another Runyon comedy, The Lemon Drop Kid, which some critics feel is the best of the forties-Hope-comedies (which is pretty close to saying the best comedy ever)2. The Runyonesque appeal continued to be strong in the 1950s. In the first year of that decade the most successful Broadway show was Guys and Dolls, based on the Runyon story of that name, and after dominating the theatre world for five years it was filmed in 1955 as a very entertaining Frank Sinatra/Marlon Brando/Vivian Blaine/Jean Simons musical3. And into the sixties: Lady for a Day was remade as A Pocketful of Miracles, a Glenn Ford/Bette Davis/Hope Lange comedy that was also Ann-Margret's first film4.
All of those productions, and dozens of similar once since, made millions of dollars for Damon Runyon or his estate (he died in l946), but that financial success isn't our concern here. What matters is the clearcut pro-life/anti-death views held by Damon Runyon, as both a writer and a civilian. The fact that he was on the side of the Good Guys/Good Gals can be demonstrated in many ways.
(A) His favourite phrase was "They're hitting all around us". "Favourite" may be a little deceptive, for he used it only under duress --- every time one of his friends died. While some of the dopier survivors would stand around babbling about the wonderful-naturalness-of-it-all and how it was all part of God's Great Plan, Runyon was sane enough to see that that was nonsense -- that what was really going on was that he and his friends (and all other humans...) were under attack by a vicious and implacable enemy, an attack which reminded him of mortar shelling and called forth his distinctive description of "natural" death. (And of course his use of that under-predatory-attack phrase suggests that Runyon would agree with our use of quotation marks around "natural"; the phenomenon of having his innocent friends annihilated one by one didn't strike Damn Runyon as natural at all).
(B) Runyon's stories are usually called comedies, but they're also full of pathos and deep feeling, and much of that feeling is felt for people on death's doorstep. Over and over again, the focus of Runyon stories will turn out to be a very old person who deserves "one last favour" before facing the coming annihilation. In Lady for a Day and its remake as A Pocketful of Miracles, the key figure is an old woman who is a street person, but who is given one final golden moment, by being able to masquerade as a queen of society. In The Lemon Drop Kid, the key characters are a group of "old dolls" who need to be given safe/comfortable places in which to stay, during their last couple of years before annihilation. Even in these stories which don't focus directly on approaching death, when there are oblique/passing references to that subject the humour stops, and the characters suddenly become sober and slip into agreement with their creator, by correctly seeing that the death of someone the know is a reminder that, for the entire human race, "they' re hitting all around us".
(C) Playwright and director Abe Burrows knew Runyon well, and in analyzing Runyon's views on life/death issues, Burrows (in his nearly perfect autobiography, Honest, Abe) correctly figured out that Damon Runyon saw death as a highly unnatural/horrible development: "Death was the enemy and was shooting at his buddies .................... he saw it as a form of war". Burrows, in that book and elsewhere, went on to make it clear that Runyon was also "deeply sorry" when even a bare acquaintance died, because he correctly saw the event as annihilation, not as going-to-sit-at-the-feet-of-the-baby-Jesus.
(D) When he learned he had cancer in l944, Runyon remained true to his accurate analysis of life/death issues. He didn't try to talk himself into a baby-Jesus ideology, and he didn't take an it's-probably-all-for-the-best attitude. He raged against it, and announced to anyone who asked (and several people who didn't) that death was a pretty bad idea, and ought to be made illegal.
He'd be pleased to know that some of us guys and dolls are working on that.
1. "Anti-social" because of their mindless insistence that the political process itself is sound, and that all we need to do is kick out the bad guys and vote-in the good guys; the reality of course is that political systems are structures of theft and terrorism, and the only way to keep the theft/terrorism to a minimum is to keep the engine of those rimes --- the government, all governments -- infinitesimally small.
2. One of the key mysteries of the universe (right up there with how to reverse the aging process) is the question of how Bob Hope went from making the funniest comedies of the forties to making the lamest of the sixties (so lame that they abruptly ended his film career). Theories to explain the collapse range from trading in good writers for bad ones to a declining personal interest in the scripts on Hope's part. Me, I think it had to do with either (A) increasing sunspot activity or (B) personal intervention by aliens who took a cab in from the Andromeda Galaxy.
3. - Don't blame me for putting Brando and Simmons into a musical; I didn't tell Sam Goldwyn what to do and he didn't tell me what to do. The amazing thing of course was well the film worked with the non-singers having to sing.
4a A Pocketful of Miracles was also an absolute orgy of character-acting: Edward Everett Horton and Peter Falk and Mickey Shaughnessy and Sheldon Leonard the film away from the supposed stars (see my article Don't talk to the Rabbit and Drink the Wine: The 100 Greatest Hollywood Character Actors, it was part of a series of 100-best-film articles published by various newspaper chains in the US and aborad during the 1970s.
You students wishing to do some additional Damon Runyon reading might look into Father's Footsteps, by Damon Runyon Jr.; Bloodhounds of Broadway, perhaps his best collection of short stories and my article (published in many of the Pulliam and Knight-Ridder newspapers in 1976) Damon Runyon's Mafia, and Albert Anastasia's.
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