LONGEVITY REPORT 43
Volume 5 no 43. First published February 1994. ISSN 0964-5659.
Super-Centenarians Are Made Not Born Edward Yarwood
In Defence of ESP Brian Haines
Letters: Haloperidol experiences, Do-as-you-would-be-done-by, Television reports, ending Lungsmoking
The Great Immortalist Hit Parade Quote Machine And Trivia Contest Bob Brakeman
The Miraculous Origin of Terrestrial Life Douglas Skrecky
Vascular Dementia & Potassium Douglas Skrecky
Time News Yvan Bozzonetti
A Longevist View of a Church Magazine John de Rivaz
Hearing is Believing Chrissie Loveday
Edward Yarwood concludes his looks at the final stage of Mankind's Evolution, and the prospect of the Optimum Lifespan
And the Lord said, My Spirit shall
not always strive with Man, for that
he also is flesh : yet his days shall be
one hundred and twenty years"
Towards A New Global Order
Looking back on the present state of human history, future historians will see our age as the greatest condition of social flux that the species has ever endured. It's an exciting time to be alive, notwithstanding one of peculiar stress and difficulty, all the old values being totally at sea. Western philosophy and metaphysics no longer have any vital answers, academic philosophy having boxed the human life-force into a cul- de-sac of meaninglessness, the Church being as morally and spiritually bankrupt as all the major social orders of the world's governments.
At the present state of the science of Gerontology, most of the major problems of the ageing process could be resolved within a decade or two at the most, were there, that is, the will and perception to see its necessity. The drawback being that most of the eleven people who run the world's governments are as shortsighted as Man in the mass. They are mostly second-rate minds. Politics rarely attracts the abnormally talented. Most of the people in positions of power are as lacking in consciousness as the majority, and usually as brainwashed. Without the will and incentive nothing can happen, research into human ageing being still regarded as a minor issue with most first world states.
The terrible reality is the whole future of the race swings on the balance of the singular factor. What, for instance, is the point of having a space programme projected over a hundred years or more, when you can only man it with beings who possess an optimum working lifespan of about forty years? All of which begs the question, are we as a species lost and on a hopelessly downward path? I don't believe so but the planet is urgently in need of more proto-conscious long term thinkers in the power seats of world governments. Currently, on every level of society, humanity thinks time-wise too short-term for a technological society given to fast and accelerating change. 100 years is a ludicrously brief span. Optimum living Man will have to socially order his society in terms of projected millennia, as in a highly complex civilisation little can be achieved within the time-frame of a century. A thousand years would conform to the new phenomenal perspectives opening up before the race. It is also a time unit that more befits Man's new existential social futurity.
Man, As A Self-Remaker
In any piece of history it's only usually the stage props of reality that really change, the human actors remaining fundamentally the same. Or at least they always have done, up to and until the present. Alexis Carrel outlined the new world of XXth century Man in one noble sentence. "For the first time in history, humanity, helped by science, has become the master of it's destiny". In theory the latter is true, but even a perspicacious thinker such as Carrel couldn't foresee the computer revolution of the 1970's with it's globe embracing implications and it's insidious augment of the trance like quality of life of our urban environments. "The basic problem of our time is whether an independent human being in his self-comprehended destiny is still possible?"8 and it's this which is the true drama of our time. It is a question that can only be answered in the fullness of time, the outcome of which, the writer is, needless to say, optimistic.
Some of the major factors of our life-info ignorance may never be resolved as long as Man exists, such factors as the relationship with what we term the mind, and the somatic organism. As in such matters we have to contend with the perennial puzzle of the uniqueness of each Homo Sapiens entity; a cancer that kills one person, enables another to live for fifty years with the same condition.
"Every human being experiences a different world from that known to any other, and is truly a new individual living a new life, never lived before, and never to be lived again".9
On April 3, 1980, the present editor of the Guinness Book Of Records, Norris McWhirter visited Shigechiyo Izumi at his home in Asan, on Tokunoshima, a large island off the Pacific coast of Japan. At the time Izumi was 115 years old, McWhirter found him fit and well, and in full possession of all his faculties, though a little deaf. Izumi was to survive for a further five years, making him the longest authenticated human to have ever lived on this planet, no one as yet having lived beyond the age of 120 and being able to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt.10 Theoretically, at birth we all inherit an organism that has the potentiality of surviving for at least a million hours, which is approximately 115 years. Presently most of us are destined to die before our time, as this is the Optimum Lifespan at this stage of human history. At the time of writing no Occidental person has attained such an age as that of Mr. Izumi.
Super-centenarians Are Made, Not Born
Like Shaw's ancients, the Super-Centenarian of Mankind's tomorrow will be self-schooled in will, in their creative self-image they will view themselves and Mankind as having prime responsibility of their own destiny.13 With the prospect of a less restrictive and stuffing lifespan before them, they will have the consciousness of being able to accept far in advance and with greater equanimity the ultimate inevitability of their own demise. At the same time they will see the possibilities of utilising the prospect of death to enable them to live more vitally.
"The death of a man is now nothing more important than an individual dying grandly in a hard hospital bed, an item to be disposed of as quickly as possible. We don't like to extract from death it's benefits and put it to work for us".11 Only by taking death back into our culture in a willed and positive way can we put a halt on the hurtling toward madness and spiritual decay that is so much a part of our contemporary society. Somehow, in this respect, contemporary Oriental culture, especially that of Japan, has managed to attain a maturity which seems to perpetually elude the West.
Since time immemorial Man has struggled to put off the evil day of death, maintain his youth and extend his days on Earth, mostly out of vanity and the sheer horror of temporality. Today, in our technological era of the Space Age, optimum longevity is no longer a luxury of the life-force, but the very linchpin of our survival as a race. "For one, hold that nothing less than 120 years of useful activity should content those born on this planet, and feel themselves entrusted with a serious mission for the benefit of the human race".12 Those are the words of Maurice Emest, one of the great pioneers in the early decades of this century, in the quest of the Optimum Lifespan. The prospect is in our own hands, "the potential lifespan of Man is not immutable, nature has not settled it in advance".
Human Greatness Re-Embraced
One of the greatest dilemmas of our time is that Mankind, as a whole, has allowed itself to become dominated by its own creative wonders and discoveries. This has happened, simultaneously, both on the macro level of the species and the micro level of individuality. Man now needs to rediscover his collective and personal greatness and to take charge of his destiny, in the confidence that he is the most God-like entity in the whole of the creative universe.
Why has this happened? It has happened because the species has failed to accurately diagnose the true nature of the life-force that is working through Mankind. Somewhere in the past hundred years or so a point was reached at which a bifurcation has come about, which has turned negative. Through the electric progression of a new technological civilisation the whole of the race has been thrown together overnight, with the result being the chaos that we are at present amidst. At the bifurcation point the minority of genius and futuristic talent should have taken over the vanguard of the race, instead it's been taken over not by a greater conscious minority but a totally primitive conscious herd. We've hit the condition of the anthill in which the mass is dominant, and the mass is directionless. Most of the world's leaders are of the consciousness of the mass, who only see progress in terms of the economics of the feeding trough. Hence at this moment we are firmly on the road to perdition, toward the devolutionary cul-de-sac, that of the insect world of mechanicalness, instead of the upward moving path of human psychological evolution to the state of maximum consciousness, with which Man can take his true destined place as the God-like evolutionary conscious spearhead of the cosmos.
In this last decade of the XXth century there are now positive signs and portents that the bifurcation point can be transmogrified. A vital ingredient in this transmogrification is the immediate attainability of the Optimum Lifespan, it is a revolution in the species and it is happening, through the commitment of a conscious minority that is giving back to Mankind a sense of its true greatness.
BIBLIOGRAPHY & NOTES (to all three articles)
1 This is a remarkable passage of the 1611 Bible. I wasn't until recently aware of it, until that is, I came across it accidentally in a rejuvenation advertisement in an 1840s issue of the Illustrated London News.
2 John Stewart Collis, Living With A Stranger: A Discourse on the Human Body. MacDonald and Janes. London. 1978, p. 182.
3 Elie Metchnikoff, The Prolongation Of Life. Heiemann. New York. 1907. One of the first books of this century in which the prospect of the Optimum Lifespan was treated seriously.
4 Gordan Rattray Taylor. The Biological Time Bomb. World Publishing. New York. 1968. A fascinating work covering most biological issues, including the prospect of immortality. After a quarter century still highly relevant.
5 Dr. Alexis Carrel. Man The Unknown. New York. 1935. A work of remarkable insights, in fact one of the epoch making works of the XXth century, in many ways a precursor of Teilhard de Chardin's The Phenomena of Man, by a very similar type of mind, a truly great book.
6 Maurice Nicoll. Psychological Commentaries On The Teaching Of Gurdjieff & Ouspensky. Vincent Stuart. London. 1952. One of the most important works on the psychology of man's future evolution to have been published in the last fifty years.
7 P.D.Ouspensky. A Record of Talks and Answers to Questions Based on the teaching of G.L Gurdjieff. Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1957.
8 Man The Unknown (as above).
9 N.J.Berrill. The Person In The Womb. Dodd, Mead & Company. USA. 1968. UK Edition, Angus and Robertson. London. 1969. A devastatingly fascinating work, by a little appreciated Canadian academic who writes with a rare brilliance on the destiny of man.
10 The Guinness Book of Records. 1981. 27th Edition. P. 15.
11 Yukio Mishims. On Hagakure : The Samurai Ethic and Modern Japan. Souvenir Press. London. 1977.
12 Maurice Ernest. The Longer Life : A Critical Survey Of Many Claims To Abnormal Longevity, Of Various Theories On The Duration Of Life And Old Age, And Of Diverse Attempts At Rejuvenation. Adam & Co. London. 1938. A delightful if slightly quirky book by one of the early pioneers in the subject in the first decades of this century. Biologist and Author, founded the Centenarian Club in the London of 1928, the aim of which being to investigate the means "whereby health and vigour may be retained beyond the century". The author of this article is still actively doing research into the life and work of this longevist and, if anyone reading this has any such information, he'd very much like to hear from them.
In Defence of ESP
by Brian W. Haines
So what are we to make of this statement that ESP has been discredited? Who has discredited ESP, and where?
Oh yes there are a number of people who have dedicated themselves to exposing fraudulent para-normal claims, notably the "Great Randi" a presdigitator who hails from States. What is most interesting about his campaign is that there have been numerous Court actions which have caused all the sceptical establishment to withdraw blanket condemnation and substitute carefully worded disclaimers.
Now in my part of the world, being the remoter parts of the Devon and Cornish borders, there is hardly a farmer who would not seek the assistance of the local water diviner. And not one would dare to ridicule the diviners' gift. And although it may be only superstition, only recently my neighbour jumped back in horror when he thought I was about to take Hawthorn into the house and burn it on the fire.
In the matter of the water diviner it has to be remembered farmers are very practical people. No one could survive for 40 years in a trade that did not succeed. Who, however superstitious, would continue to call upon a person who was unable to bring some proof of an ability. But that aside, I can vouch myself for the efficacy of water divining, I have seen it work many times. And what is it, other than ESP?
What about telepathy? Does it work? The answer is a clear yes. I have once again had firm practical experience, there is no need to go into detail of all the cases, but perhaps one will help. I had a friend who was a twin. In our circle we all knew they were telepathic, so one day I decided to test their ability. I was standing with one twin on one side of the Albert Hall, I said suddenly to her "Now go on, communicate with your sister. Make her turn round and wave to us". Her sister was on the very far side with her back to us talking to some friends. "Alright" she said. Immediately her sister turned around and waved to us. I have conducted other experiments to show the ability truly does exist.
Chance is a strange thing. It is very curious that over the Christmas holiday I was thinking of testing my power to predict the outcome of future events. I tried the coin test. The amazing fact is I did exactly the same test with the same or better results. I spun a coin ten times and on three consecutive runs I obtained 10 out of ten correct guesses as to whether it would come down heads or tails. I was amazed, I am even more amazed some-one else writing in the same paper has done the same thing.
To conclude this little excursion into the paranormal, I have had sufficient experience of hauntings to show me things that go bump in the night are not all down to the wind (no pun intended) or imagination. I can give chapter and verse of a number of quite extraordinary events which no amount of scientific logic can dispel.
I do not myself claim great paranormal powers but I have a power of healing which I demonstrated by helping out a Vet friend who was unable to set the leg of a dog. I touched it and immediately it went back into place. This was seen by two other vets and a nurse and well authenticated. And yes I have the power to calm epileptics and people who have nervous troubles. How it works I know not, suffice to say it does.
My builder arrived one morning in great pain, he had been trapped between a tractor and a trailer and had wrenched his back. I needed his services urgently on my building extension. There was only one thing for it, I used what powers I had and that afternoon we laid two tons of concrete.
Can these things be demonstrated at will. Some yes, but the real difficulty here is we are dealing with something that does not lend itself to analysis and in general it is not possible to set up the conditions so beloved by investigators. I have absolutely no interest in being tested, it would do me no good, and sceptics remain so in spite of evidence.
Years ago I well remember a very respected and influential Surgeon say on television that acupuncture was total nonsense, now it is recognised by the National Health Service. Attitudes change and I think we are becoming more open minded.
It may be we are not asking the right questions in seeking answers to the quirks of nature. Life itself is indeed difficult to explain on rational grounds. Perhaps we are all super computers. Just for the moment we call it ESP when activity takes place outside the realm of current physical understanding. For myself I am happy, or comfortable with two systems, one the para normal and the other the apparently normal. There is a strong possibility both are the same and we have yet to find the basic building blocks of nature to explain it all.
I am convinced the world started from nothing and expanded into complexity. We have seen the extraordinary growth of computer technology over a very short period. Software becomes more and more complex, and yet the whole lot depends upon the simple process of one and nought, or on and off. Those who use computers have experienced the strange and erratic behaviour of some programmes which through up bizarre results. Sometimes the system crashes. No doubt there is a good real and very scientific reason for the behaviour; just try finding out what it is from the experts, you haven't a hope of getting the fault corrected.
In the same way erratic eddies of extra sensory power permeate our surroundings to give us those strange experiences we call the para-normal. We could measure them, if we knew what we were looking for.
Brian W. Haines (FAX 071-916-5150)
From Mrs Joy Cass
I write at your request - (Longevity Report 41 page 8). With any undertaking it is well understood that preparation is a key factor in producing success. And preparation can be a great variable, for good or bad. But what is "success"? So often the attainment of a smooth passage in the carrying through of a certain ploy can be boring! And the achievement of the obvious can also lead to dissatisfaction. I have tried long enough to have witnessed these negated views being held by those who life work has been motivated by "worldly success". Its awfully sad really, because the darkness of disappointment can swamp some characters into desperation. And then the lid is off - the balloon goes up!
Page 11 of Longevity Report - Super Centenarians are Made not Born, with its quote from Genesis pleased me greatly. I though it was admirably expressed and beautifully understandable. The article C-Time I found interesting, even though I was a bit lost in the techniques of Mr Yvan Bozzonetti's personal explanation (4th paragraph page 10). But he does seem to be such a "live wire" in all he writes, and so enthusiastic, and modest for all his knowledge. Delightful.
My medication course stretched from August to 3 October, but I returned home permanently on 17 September. I was on six tablets a day of Propylthiouracil (for my overactive thyroid) and two tablets of Haloperidol at night.
The first drug suited me well from the word "go", but Haloperidol and I are not the best of friends!
And one evening there was a "misunderstanding" and a caring (but ignorant) nurse thought I'd be distressed. He arranged with the duty doctor to step up the Haloperidol without telling me. When the night nurse administered the extra Haloperidol and I queried it, there was quite a fuss. I ended up with a dose of Haloperidol that completely unbalanced the previous good and gave me a night of restlessness. For several days I suffered drowsiness, and couldn't wake up properly.
So restless nights and drowsy days were my lot at this time. But I asked to see the doctor. I was fed up. The registrar came and helped as the head of the department was away. The registrar couldn't have been kinder, and agreed to reduce the Haloperidol. I complained bitterly how the extra had been forced on me with such undesirable reactions, etc.
I said to the registrar "I want you to take me off this drug. I'd be better off without it, can't you see that?"
To which he replied: "It's my job to see that you take this medication."
"What?" I said, "Even when it has such a bad effect on me? I don't call that good medicine - I'm very surprised and consider it wrong." Dr D-, I will call him, did not take umbrage at my remarks and he was kind and clever enough to reason with me that the proper degree of strength could be, would be arrived at whereby it could mean "all benefit" for me. And that has come true, as he said it would. I found Dr D- to be a man to be trusted. His position, his power was not in arrogance but in the way he handled the situation. I really was "hopping mad" as they say, particularly at the way the increased dose had been tackled.
The registrar let me have my say for over an hour and ended the interview with the words "You have given me a very good argument about your experiences. Yes, of course I'll reduce the dose, and let me know if that is not satisfactory."
The dose then became 500 µg - 2 at night. This works well, and if I don't feel like taking it, I don't. At Barnet Hospital they were understanding enough to let me go my own way, within reasonable grounds. Consequently my health blossomed to the point where everyone said "How well you look." - and it was truth not flattery.
The "ignorant nurse" had meant it kindly, I realise that after, but in my view it is never kind to fool people, even if it is for their benefit. (Or supposed benefit!)
But the extraordinary thing was that the nurse (a male nurse from the North of England) was completely removed from by surroundings. The reason was that his very old mother living on her own had a stroke and was so seriously ill and unable to cope. He had to get leave to go to Yorkshire to look after her.
That sort of outcome is often happening in my life. When I feel deeply that there is something wrong in what I have to do, or agree to, unwillingly, - the person concerned who doesn't understand is removed! Just like that! No action needed, no reaction to bother about. It just fizzles out without any recurrence.
From my point of view I feel that I am wonderfully protected by such happenings. I do not have to suffer being forced! Wonderful isn't it? I do assure you I don't ask for it. It is as if my ideas were right and consequently I am allowed to have them. It makes me feel very humble and greatly thankful.
Last Thursday Dr D- discharged me as an "in-patient" and the registrar at the thyroid clinic agreed to "no medication now" but advised a small dose of Haloperidol at night. I don't have to have a checkup until 3 March 1994. Next Monday (15 November) I have an appointment at the eye clinic, and I hope that the specialist's findings there will mean that the DLVA will agree to renewing my driving license now that i am 79. The delay has come about by the fact that, at my own expense, I went to an optician for an eye test and she said "If you want to renew your driving license, see a specialist".
It was interesting to read of these experiences at the hands of the medical profession. It was a typical "professional" attitude to put up the dose and not tell the patient. This sort of thing abounds in all the professions, not just doctors. One wonders whether these people think that they will never get old and dependent themselves. Probably they don't think of this at all, as most people seem incapable of thinking beyond a five year time horizon. Therefore "do as you would be done by" doesn't apply!
Second letter from Mrs Joy Cass
I find "do as you would be done by" a misleading saying. We are all so different in our likes, dislikes, and reactions, that unless one knows specifically another person's capabilities and attitudes, one is absolutely lost in trying to do the right thing! I mean some don't want to know. So what price kindness, honesty comfort? And in previous writings you yourself have remarked one can get to a point where one does nothing. I find "do as you would be done by" is a very good starting point from the point of view of a Christian life.
I personally am all in favour of leaving the difficult decisions to God, for after 37 years of believing I find that he always comes up with something so much cleverer and more acceptable that I ever could have thought out.
But what I have been very pleased about is that I was asked to read The Old Testament lesson in church on Advent Sunday. It was my delight to do so particularly as recently I have been plagued with colossal sneezing bouts, of sometime 2 hours duration. These send me to sleep after the bout is over. In consequence I have not been to church three weeks previous to Advent Sunday as I was always "attacked" at weekends.
The rector well knew this when he asked me to read. It went marvellously, with clear enunciation and not even a tremor of catarrh.
Last night I took a dose of Haloperidol and at 4.30 am I was sneezing again. I had not had Haloperidol for some days. I just wonder if my innate dislike of it produces the sneezes which limit me terribly, and thus the body goes into revolution? Maybe this is the signal i need to get me free of this drug. I was discharged from hospital on 4 November, but advised to take the Haloperidol at night.
Now, laugh if you will, but my belief in God wanted to show me, by example, that the drug is not for me.
Your belief in God appears Anthropic, ie because things fell into place during your life you are now here to comment on it. You attribute that to the action of an omnipotent being. Quantum mechanics says that there are many possible universes created every 10-24 of a second. The fact that you are in the one you are in now and that you recall those that you passed through to get there is based upon the probability of these universes, ie you are in the most probable. If the universe you occupy is not the most probable, then you are unlikely to be there to observe it and therefore to you it does not exist.
With regards to the Haloperidol, presumably you were prescribed it for mental agitation problems. Could not your God find some other way to help you with this? Are you aware of when agitation starts, and could you not say a Psalm to yourself or something to quell it?
Much of the paraphanelia of religious services evolved a design to stop people thinking heretic thoughts, for example continuous repetition of beliefs which have no sound logical basis. Eastern religions keep people down by getting them to repeat mantra and other sounds.
In The Immortalist dated Nov/Dec 93 it said, on page 5, that if you spend time listening to classical music, and take an IQ test before and after, your IQ rises after listening to the music. If on the other hand you spend the same time listening to repetitious music, such as religious chants or pop music, then your IQ falls. In either case the effect is temporary. [AP and LA Times reports, following publication in Nature by Frances Rauscher and colleagues at the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at University of California, Irvine.]
Obviously you cannot be expected to go through the remainder of your life agreeing passively with everybody around you, but why not try and ration your disagreements to really important matters? If you can achieve that, then maybe you can leave the Haloperidol.
From Dr John Walford
Cryonic suspension was featured on our local Look East Anglian TV news magazine late in November. A medical cryogenics deep freeze expert and a Cambridge social welfare consultant were asked to comment on the theme of cryonic suspension.
There must be some one who is a supporter on East Anglia but unfortunately I didn't catch the name of the man wearing very dark glasses. He said that he didn't mind the very large fees because he would be beyond worrying about the uncertainties.
About the title and contributions towards A Brief Condemnation of Time, perhaps your readers have indicated how they think about time? Could a subtitle suggest Making Sense out of our Research into Time?. Professor Hawking says on page 175 of A Brief History of Time "We want to make sense of what we see around us, and a complete theory should be understandable in broad principle by everyone." (ie not only a few scientists.)
From Mr Brian Blair-Giles
I have broken the cigar habit simply by not buying matches. I have saved £10 in the week of writing, (total savings are now £76) and hope to save at that rate in future weeks.
I am very pleased to see that Mr Blair-Giles is at last seriously giving up the disgusting habit of smoking his lungs. I am sure that his credibility as a cryonics populariser has been reduced in the past because of his addiction to tobacco.
From Miss K.R. Griffin
On Late Night Live (Southern ITV) there was an item including Garret Smyth and Mike Price (Alcor UK). They were the second item on a programme that was incredibly stupid and low taste. They were sandwitched between a man and woman exchanging clothes whilst in a large sack and a long item with Mr Blobby, with the audience chanting "Mr Blobby Mr Blobby" like a Hitler rally.
Their part started with a clip of the film Demolition Man, starring Sylvestor Stallone. I had heard of this film, but I didn't know the subject was cryonic suspension. Garret and Mike were then interviewed and they explained about whole body and neurosuspension and showed their Alcor bracelets. There was no silly tittering from the audience. Then questions were invited from telephone callers and the audience. They were quite sensible serious ones: How did they know the organisation would keep their side of the bargain and actually freeze them? (They trusted Alcor whose directors and staff were signed up). How do they know that they would fit into future society? (Same as early people emigrating to new cultures.) What if they were brought back into women's bodies? (I think Mike said he would sue the surgeon and Garret said would get himself reorientated.) Did their friends think they were Pratts? (no answer).
Perhaps the last one should be in the next section - flippant sections. They really valued their brains - was there any other single part of the body they wanted to preserve? The man was very persistent and it was quite obvious what he was getting at, but Mike and Garret repeated that is was the brain that was all important.
Over closing titles, viewers were told that Mr Blobby would be appearing at a certain venue and that Mike Price and Garret Smyth would be appearing in the next century.
Life and Medicine, and Covers
Life Extension Pharmaceuticals
The November issue of Periastron had en editorial in which a person is defined as being alive if the information required to restore them to fully conscious activity remains. Unlike current medicine, we do not require that the restoration be done by current methods. Medicine is any technology capable of changing a person in directions wanted by that person.
The lead story in the issue is a report from the Fifth Congress of the International Association of Biomedical Gerontology. There was news of Deprenyl, Centrophenoxine, Melatonin, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Alpha Glycero Phospho-Choline. The article also reported an improvement in the attitude of scientists studying ageing.
Other subjects included brain mechanisms and chemicals and nanotechnology including new methods of manipulation.
Periastron PO Box 2365, Sunnyvale, California 94087. Subscriptions cost $2.50 per issue. If you pay for many issues in advance, you avoid any possible price rises. If the newsletter does not continue for any reason, unused subscriptions will be refunded with interest!
The Top Ten:
The Great Immortalist Hit Parade
And Trivia Contest
All In One
by Bob Brakeman
Like the morals of the average government criminal,
this article is flexible.
It'll be whatever you want it to be..
It's at least three things, and if I were more ambitious I could probably discover that it's 57 other things too. Lack of ambition is a terrible thing, and as it claims yet another victim let's just enumerate the three faces of this article:
(1) It's an ascending-order Hit Parade of the Top Ten Statements in support of immortalism since the dawn of time (or at least since the dawn of American pop culture in this century).
(2) It's the Bartlett's Familiar Quotations of immortalism, and it's short enough that you don't even need an index to look things up(providing you with enough spare time today to engage in charitable activities like overthrowing the government).
(3) It's the first-and-only immortalist trivia contest. (Those who cheat and glance ahead at the answers will have their cryonics contracts cancelled and, worse yet, will be forced to memorize 3 years worth of The Congressional Record and other important documents on the history of organized crime in America).
10. "Enjoy your humanity, while it lasts". What film is that from?
9. "It's not the pace of life I mind. It's the sudden stop at the end". That's from a famous comic strip. Which one?
8. Interviewer: "Are you scared of dying?"
Interviewee: "Not right now but I always intend to be afraid of it".
A film director was the interviewee; which director? (One hint --- one more than you deserve --- is that he's also a well known actor).
7. "It Is terrible what (ageing does) to even the best and strongest of us". What writer said that about his ageing favourite film star?
6. "If I were God, everyone would live forever. No death ... No pennies on the eyes for anyone". From what well known movie is that quote taken?
5. First speaker: "What seems to be the problem?"
Second speaker: "Death".
That exchange is from a famous film of the 1980s. Which film?
4. "Life can never be too long".
A famous actor said that line in a 1987 movie with several historical distinctions. Name the actor and/or the movie.
3. "Dyin' to me don't sound like all that much fun!"
A famous rocker of the 1980s wrote and sang that line. Name him.
2. "There's no good way to die".
Possibly the most famous actor of the 20th century said that line in a 1973 film. Name the actor or the film.
1. "Some people say you gotta die someday; I got news --- you never gotta go". A rock singer summed up cryonics-in-one-lyric (without intending to) with that line. Who's the singer?
10. That's from the Kim Basinger 1988 film My Stepmother Is An Alien. Basinger plays the alien, who makes that comment on the most depressing thing about being human: Mortality. (For an analysis of the relationship between immortalism and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, see How To Think About The Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence, published in various immortalist and libertarian journals in the 1980s).
9. Calvin and Hobbs produce those words, as they float on their backs in a pool and complain about the universe.
8. The person being interviewed was writer/actor/director Mel Brooks. His point was that sooner or later death becomes the main issue in people's lives --- in fact the only issue. In the same interview, published in the book Show People, he takes many nice shots at afterlife fantasies: "Do you believe in life after death?" "No, I don't. I think that's silly. And there's no Judgment Day, either. There isn't a day when we all kiss the little fishes and shake hands and walk together into God's green heaven". (The OCR read this as "Cod's green heaven - is it trying to tell us something? - ed)
7. That is Boston nationally syndicated columnist Albert Manski, reflecting on his visits to the once beautiful and vibrant Norma Shearer, during her last, sad years at the Motion Picture Country Home. (For another immortalist look at Shearer, a reigning film star of the thirties, see my Not As Immortal As They Thought, published in The Immortalist magazine).
6. From 1979's All That Jazz, a film which deals with so many life/death issues that it deserves an article all to itself (some ambitious and energetic writer should write one, which lets me out).
5. Blade Runner(1982), which like All That Jazz is pretty much about death. All That Jazz is a little confused-and-confusing on the subject, but Blade Runner has it figured out: Life is all that matters, and death is 99% of what's worth opposing in the universe. In fact, that two-line exchange pretty much defines the universe, or at least this neighbourhood of it.
4. Vincent Price spoke those words in the movie The Whales Of August. That film has already proven to be the last one of Lillian Gish's 80-year career and the last of Bette Davis's 60-year one, and it is likely to be Price's final film as well, unless someone lectures the boy on cryonics.
3. That line is from the 1985 hit The Authority Song, by John Cougar Mellencamp. The lyric is also the title of an Immortalist magazine article by the present author published later in the eighties, dealing with rock music and immortalism.
2. John Wayne said that in his antepenultimate western, Cahill, U.S. Marshal.
1. Heavy metal rocker Ted Nugent wrote and sang those lyrics in the most dangerous-sounding song ever recorded, Stranglehold. The song is paradoxical, because it blends pro-life lyrics with ominous music that has hostile-to-life written (in blood) all over it; hostile to everything, come to think of it. Those of us who wish Nugent would stop propagandizing for the killing of other highly evolved mammals have to cease our criticism of him long enough to praise that lyric; purely by accident he defined what the worldwide immortalist movement is all about so perfectly that those lines would fit nicely on millions of bumper stickers and the mastheads of hundreds of magazines. He may be a redneck punk, but Nugent had at least one good day in his life.
Bob Brakeman, the author of more than 2000 articles on Immortalism and Public Affairs,
resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Miraculous Origin of Terrestrial Life
by Douglas Skrecky
All theories about the origin of life on earth possess a common defect. They don't work. To put it another way there exists no viable theory which can account for the origin of life on earth. Nonetheless we are here, waiting impatiently for an explanation. As the telescopes scan the heavens in vain for signs that we are not alone a thought occurs which at least clarifies if not fully explains our puzzling existence. All theories of life's genesis assume that life is the inevitable result of biochemical reactions occurring early in the earth's history. If all other possibilities are eliminated then what remains, no matter how unlikely or farfetched must be the truth. Perhaps life is not the inevitable result of biochemistry. Perhaps far from being inevitable it is tremendously unlikely, being rather a unique fluke of luck or an act of divine intervention, however one defines the word divine.
For example in order for DNA and RNA to replicate they must possess what is called molecular homochirality. If significant amounts of mirror images of the D-ribose and deoxyribose molecules exist they block replication. Thus the existence of life on earth requires molecular homochirality. There is no plausible mechanism for creating this homochirality on the earth so extraterrestrial sources are favoured. The only mechanism being currently considered is circularly polarized synchrotron radiation from ONE HEMISPHERE of a neutron star remnant interacting with interstellar dust grains to create the required homochirality.1 Does this sound very likely?
There are other problems with the maintenance of life for geologically extended time periods. For instance if the early earth had experienced a single ice age episode, this would have been irreversible due to the formation of thermally reflective carbon dioxide clouds. Even with the sun's increased radiative output in the present era earth would still remain a lifeless ice planet.2 For the climate of the earth to remain stable enough to continue supporting life its rotational axis or obliquity must be stable. Without the moon it would be unstable, thus the existence of the moon is responsible for present existence of life on earth.3 The earth's moon is so large that the earth/moon system is sometimes referred to as a double planet by astronomers. Such "double" planets are believed to be very rare. The galaxy may contain a multitude of earth-like planets, all except one remaining as yet sterile, waiting patiently for our descendants to fulfil their destiny.
Are we unique?
1 Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Sources of Molecular Homochirality 407-420 Vol.21 1992 Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere
2 Susceptibility of the Early Earth to Irreversible Glaciation Caused by Carbon Dioxide Clouds 226-228 September 17, 1992 Nature
3 The Chaotic Obliquity of the Planets 608-612 February 18,1993 Nature
Vascular Dementia & Potassium
by Douglas Skrecky
Roughly 30% of those 85 years old have been found to suffer from senile dementia. Of these 43% suffer from Alzheimer's disease and 47% from vascular dementia.1 Recommended therapies for the prevention of vascular dementia include smoking cessation, exercise, caloric restriction, oestrogen replacement, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, anticoagulants, aspirin and potassium supplementation.2
Potassium supplementation may be the most important. Potassium lowers blood pressure and even cholesterol levels in humans consuming a normal diet, but this effect is eliminated when a tough very low sodium diet is enforced.3,4 However in repeated experiments with rodents fed low sodium diets extra potassium has been found to inhibit atherosclerosis without also lowering blood pressure.5,6 Extra potassium fed to rats on a high sodium diet increased their average lifespan from 20 to 29.5 months. This even exceeded the 22.5 month average lifespan of rats fed a "healthy" low sodium diet.7
In humans there exists a very curious relationship between potassium intake and the incidence of fatal strokes. In elderly men increasing dietary potassium intake from below 2.3 to over 3 grams/day progressively reduced the incidence of fatal strokes over a 12 year period to zero. In women a similar pattern emerged as increasing potassium intake from 1.9 to 2.6 grams also reduced stroke mortality rates to zero.
It is unfortunate that there is no RDA for potassium, as supplement manufacturers have as a result largely ignored the value of this mineral. With a reasonably healthy diet just a half of a gram of supplemental potassium per day could very decide whether one will enjoy one's retirement years as a fully functional human being.
1 A Population-Based Study of Dementia in 85-Year-Olds 153-158 Vol.328 No.3 1993 New England Journal of Medicine
2 Preventable Senility: A Call for Action Against the Vascular Dementias 645-648 September 12, 1992 The Lancet
3 Efficacy of Potassium and Magnesium in Essential Hypertension: A Double Blind, Placebo Controlled Crossover Study 521-523 Vol.301 1990 British Medical Journal
4 The Influence of Oral Potassium Chloride on Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Men on a Low-Sodium Diet 569-574 Vol.322 1990 New England Journal of Medicine
5 Atherosclerotic Cholesterol Ester Deposition is Markedly Reduced With a High-Potassium Diet S244-S245 Vol.7 Sup.6 1989 Journal of Hypertension
6 High Potassium Diets Protect Against Dysfunction of Endothelial Cells in Stroke-Prone Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats 579-585 Vol.11 No.6 Pt.2 1988 Hypertension
7 Chronic Sodium Chloride Toxicity: The Protective Effect of Added Potassium Chloride. April 10,1957 38th Annual Session of the American College of Physicians
8 Dietary Potassium and Stroke-Associated Mortality 235-240 Vol.316 1987 New England Journal of Medicine
by Yvan Bozzonetti
Time seems to be an emerging subject in Longevity Report. Most reader must assume there is no time travel possibilities, simply because we don't see it nor know about it. My contribution to the subject here will be to give a good logical reason for suppressing "ordinary" time travel and giving a hint about a workable form.
The basic idea is as follow: We don't see time travel for the same reason than two straight lines randomly oriented in three dimensional space have no point in common.
In the preceding example, each line defines some one dimensional space and the world we see, with its three dimensions is the embedding space. Now, a very basic theorem from topology states this: The number of dimensions of the common space of two space A and B immersed in an embedding space with N dimensions is A+b-N. In our case, A=B=1 and N=3, so: 1+1-3= -1. because the result is negative, there is no common point or domain between the spaces.
Now, I use that on time. From General Relativity, we know the world is a quadridimensional space with every dimension having the same properties than any other. This is too an unbounded space, something as the surface of a sphere where we can walk without never encountering a wall, a margin or any other sort of boundary. Space time is a bounded version of the preceding. Think of it as a punctured spherical surface, by extending the pin hole we can now flatten the sphere and turn it into a disk. This is why space time is flat, unfortunately, it has now a limit, something as the edge of space. To remove it, we must turn to a subspace with one dimension less, the unbounded space is now three dimensional only and the whole system has broken into three dimensional space and one dimensional time.
Now, there are two subspace kinds: orientable and non-orientable ones. A non-orientable space (or subspace) allows to travel continuously from a state to its right-left symetric, this is what performs Alice when she go in the looking glass world. Clearly, this is not the kind of three dimensional world we live in. The other possibility, the oriented subspace, breaks into two components: the right and left handed subspaces. From physical experiments, we know we live in left handed orientable space.
When we think about time travel, we must think about travel from one three dimensional orientable, left handed space to another with similar properties. The problem holds in that: we must travel in a space with three times three dimensions or nine dimensions. Recall the two line who don't meet in three dimensions, there the equation gives: 3+3-9= -3. Two different epochs have no common point because they are embedded in a nine dimensional space. To my knowledge, this is the most basic law forbidding spontaneous time travel. The reality may be even worst: Non-orientable spaces have cyclic times unlike our own, so there may be a two dimensional time to add at the 9-dim. space. In this case, two epoch have only zero duration time in common. With all of that, time travel seems well locked.
Interestingly, a 9+2 dimensional world is known from theoretical physicists under the brand name of superstring world. There is the possibility to discard non-oriented space so that the embedding world reduces to six dimensions. There is then a 3+3-6= 0 common domain between two epochs. Zero dimension defines a point-like object, that seems to left very few room for anything. On the other hand, we can think of that as a zero extension domain of the surrounding space. Zero extension imply there is no room indeed or there is no measuring property in the space (no metric beyond the degenerate one discriminating between the in and the out of the domain).
For many years, mathematics have ignored spaces without metrics, now they are studied under the name of fractal or chaotic spaces. If there is one linear space with at least three workable physical definitions, (using Lagrange [L], Hamilton [H] and Jacobi [J] formalisms) there are three distinct chaotic worlds, using L, H or J respectively. Are these physical properties the same ones encountered in topology under the names of non-orientable, right and left orientable subspaces? If yes, time travel may emerge someday from superstring theories applied to three-fold chaos of classical physics.
A Longevist View
of a Church Magazine
by John de Rivaz
Longevity Report reader Mrs Joy Cass sent in a copy of her local church magazine with the comment: "I thought you might be interested to read a publication whose contributors and readers believe in everlasting life! I'll be interested to receive your critique."
I don't know whether this will ever get printed in St Nicholas Church, Elstree Magazine but if it is it may be in order to say that Longevity Report is a newsletter that is written by and for people who are interested in using science and technology to eliminate suffering and death, and in fact to make death entirely optional. The articles range from scientific reports to philosophical speculations for and against the concept and letters come from anyone who cares to write.
Therefore I will be looking at the church magazine from the point of view of someone who is interested in not dying, ie someone who would be interested in everlasting life. I will also look at it in comparison to the magazines put out by cryonics organisations, such as the Immortalist Society and Alcor. There is an immediate similarity in that both religious and cryonics magazines list the officers of the organisations and a schedule of meetings (services in the case of the church). Both have editorials which are about topics relevant to their subjects. Longevity Report doesn't quite fit into either category, as its purpose is to debate the topic generally rather than promote it directly like a cryonics or church magazine.
St Nicholas discussed the architectural feats of both religious and secular buildings, and drew this into a complaint that people go on squabbling. This is somewhat relevant to Alcor at the present time, with its split up into dissenting groups, and ACS a few years ago. Just as cryonics magazines carry items about the past history of the movement, so did St Nicholas have items about the past history of the parish. Reports of past meetings (ie past services for the church) were common to each, and social events designed to raise funds or generate publicity.
Discussions about items such as the meaning of Christmas in St Nicholas could compare to the general philosophical articles in cryonics magazines, although I have to say that the church magazine was somewhat one sided in the contents of such articles.
The nearest we get to the practical side of the philosophical content of immortalist press is bible study articles. These take a short passage from The Bible and philosophise on it. Here the church magazine seems more like a fan club magazine of a soap opera, although I am sure that the readers of St Nicholas would not like The Bible being compared to Dallas, Neighbours, Dynasty or Cell Block H. Actually it is more like a sci-fi soap, such as Dr Who or Star Trek. Science fiction soap operas often have a deep seated rule that must be obeyed at all costs, and there is much discussion amongst fans as to how effective this is in various stories. With Dr Who it is the prime directive of non-intervention in history, and with Star Trek it is non-intervention in any other culture. Even if the culture involves human sacrifices and other horrors our heroes are not supposed to intervene. Cell Block H's rule is that the prisoners must not "lag" (report to the authorities) their fellow prisoners, even if by so doing a larger number of prisoners would benefit than if they kept quiet. This rule is often the central feature of the plots.
The Bible is in two parts, each of which have different origins. Both have in common the science fantasy element of supernatural happenings, such as mysterious plagues, secret weapons, pillars of fire, transformation of people into salt (that one was in Star Trek several times), unexplained cures, and many raisings from the dead. In The Old Testament God is depicted as a genocidal over-leader of Israel, prepared to exterminate other races and cultures that did not agree with him. In The New Testament it is either a different God, or he has had a visit from Captains Kirk or Picard and has changed his ways in order to be admitted to The Federation! However some of his bloodthirsty past remains in that rather than simply forgive the world for its sins, he has to have his only(?) son(?) tortured to death.
To its credit as entertainment, The Bible has a whole collection of rules, many of which contradict each other in certain circumstances, making for lively conflicts and points for discussion. For example in The Old Testament the over-leader God sent the Jews a collection of ten rules, one of which was "Thou shalt not kill". However most of the action involves wars and murders, even genocide, driven by directives from the over-leader God. Even today a democratic country like the United Kingdom projects its chain of authority back to an over-leader God. The monarch is hereditary and head of the established Christian church, and is crowned as a religious service. Of course in practise the monarch has virtually no control at all over the way the country has run as parliament is elected and the monarch always appoints the parliament that has been elected by the commoners. But the monarch does have to appoint the parliament by ceremonial tradition, this keeping the link with the over-leader.
Actually, of course, the character given to God is the sum total of mankind's belief in a hypothetical omnipotent creator. In the church today understanding of the term "God" is changing, although the nature of theology being what it is this isn't as straightforward as other changes in science or philosophy (not that that is particularly easy either!) The main problem for the church has been that it has to maintain compatibility with the past, and when people like the Bishop of Durham start saying things like the virgin birth and the resurrection of the body of Christ didn't really happen, people get upset.
A begging column is common to both cryonics and religious newsletters. Whereas the cryonics magazine usually has some project in mind such as a mobile life support cart, the church magazine's request for donations is either for maintenance of ageing church buildings or alternatively support for a general charity. Both are never satisfied, and in The Bible there is a story making a virtue of sacrifice, ie the widow's last coin is of more value to God than the millionaire's £1,000 donation. The cryonics societies do not take this attitude - they are more pragmatic in their approach, and although the wording of articles is still usually of the form "give until it hurts", in practise they advise individual members to be sensible about it. For example, English people were advised to make sure arrangements were adequate in their own country before donating to American projects. Also cryonics magazines carry articles philosophising about self interest and its value to society as a whole.
Large parts of cryonics magazines, particularly Alcor's Cryonics, are actually descriptions of cryonic suspensions, with analysis of problems and corrections that can be made next time. Also there are often articles on what members can do to improve their chances of being suspended. These range from such practical matters as arranging for a local supply of consumables to making legal documents as fireproof as possible for hostilities by persons wishing to use to the law to get the money involved for their own use.
St Nicholas, and presumably other church magazines, say very little about life after death, and contain no information about contacting the dead through seances and other methods that have hit the popular imagination from time to time. Indeed, although the churches have preached post mortem survival, they require their members not to seek proof from the various pseudo sciences that purport to offer it. True, they have from time to time sponsored learned studies on the claims of various paranormal people who claim to have contact with the dead, but these are usually conducted scrupulously fairly and come up with the result that these claims are either false or based on self delusion.
Reincarnation has been examined in great detail by the Roman Catholic Church, and despite many popular accounts that appear to prove that it exists, their studies convincingly defeat all cases they have examined. Disproving each case is very time consuming and expensive. Unfortunately each case has to be treated individually, and the cost of dealing with every single one would be prohibitive. Those that aren't rigorously examined are picked up by journalists and presented to the public as proof of reincarnation. More people on earth believe in reincarnation than don't, but voting something to be true doesn't make it so. After all, once most people believed the world to be flat.
Cryonics requires its adherents to do much more to achieve life after death than the church. However in some ways the demands of the cryonicists are more in keeping with the early church, when adherents often faced severe life changes and even risked torture and death for their beliefs.
There is one important difference between the two movements. Religion claims it knows the answers, and gets its flock to think they believe them by making them repeat them over and over again in ritual. (eg ... in sure and certain knowledge of a life everlasting ...) Proponents of cryonics, on the other hand, take great care to inform their followers that although chances of survival are improved by cryonic suspension, the possibility of survival is not definite. I would suggest it is highly likely that some people who are suspended may survive, but if one points the finger at one particular individual the chances are considerably less. This is because the reason why cryonics may fail certain people is that their suspension, storage or reanimation may be prevented by legal, procedural or societal problems rather than any flaw in the scientific and technological aspects of the process.
Hearing is Believing.
by Chrissie Loveday
I used to have an elderly aunt who had the proverbial deaf side. When asked why she did not seek advice on her problem, she answered, "I can hear, but I just don't want to listen."
At least she was honest about it! Most of us can't be bothered to listen, at least some of the time. Teenagers often have loud music on to help with their homework! TV and radio are often on as background noise. Even shopping is accompanied by "music". If I want to listen to the radio, I use my Walkman, so that I can walk around anywhere and still have the sound close to my ears. Using a normal radio means that the sound is no longer personal and there are too many other distractions.
In an age of constant noise, we develop the habit of only partially listening and this often extends into conversations. Doctors are sometimes guilty of deciding what is wrong with a patient before they have actually listened to the patient's account of the problem. Other professionals have a similar affliction ... solicitors who don't want to hear the whole story before offering advice to fight the case, not to give in. (Especially amicable divorce settlements ... fighting yields more business.) As a teacher for many years, I am well aware that students listen to a very small percentage of what was taught. I remember denying I had ever heard of some fact, asked in an examination question, only to discover an account of it in my own notes, in my own handwriting!
Phone-in programmes often prove my point ... a recent phone-in during an item on cryonic suspension proved that the subject had been dismissed as ridiculous and impossible ... benign idiots ... was one term used. The comments made were such things as, what happens if there's a power cut? (I don't think and explanation is even necessary.) How do you think thawing can possibly be satisfactorily accomplished? (this despite several allusions to our reliance on future technology) Examples go on ...
Perhaps I have joined a collection of benign idiots, but I still say, I haven't seen an alternative method of attempting to avoid death. How can anyone say cryonic suspension will or won't work? To me, it seems like a possible way and the alternatives are definitely final. Perhaps the rumours about The Ageing Gene,* perhaps discovered even now, in Japan, will mean that none of us needs to worry, but just at this moment, suspension seems like the best option to me. I have listened very carefully to what I have been told and tried to absorb all I have read on the subject. There are loads of questions, many of which don't have answers, but always someone has to take the risks.
I was asked recently, what guarantees are there that someone won't make off with the money? None at all, I suspect, but surely that applies to most things in life ... from mail-ordering to after-sales guarantees, but this doesn't stop people from doing it. What guarantees do I have that the bit of paper, said to be a share certificate, is worth the paper it is printed on, let alone the large sums of money they represent? Perhaps my feeling of security comes from having joined this small band of benign idiots, who share such an individual desire to beat the system. At least I am sure that my mind will stay open and receptive to any new ideas and I know I shall be listening hard for all the information I can get.
*If there is an ageing gene, a gene that causes ageing, why are there no deficiency diseases where the gene is not working and the individual lives and extremely long life? If there does prove to be an ageing gene, and this is the only gene that is not subject to the processes of disease and damage, then I think this is the most powerful evidence there could be for this universe to be deliberately designed rather than a happening of random quantum fields. Unfortunately it would also be powerful evidence for a malevolent designer as opposed to the benign god of religious belief.
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