The pension plan

You may have read in the news recently that a 13 year old girl has won a case to allow her body to be cryogenically preserved.Cryogenics is something that feels like the property of science fiction yet here we are, grappling with a possible pathway to the far future. I do not intend to outline the specifics of the above case – that can be done at the readers leisure but instead consider what cryogenics is, why I will be partaking and the most significant risks attached to the process (in my personal opinion). I plan for cryogenics for the very reason people put a little of their salary each month into a pension plan – this is my pension plan.

How it “works”

The short answer is of course cooling the body after death in order to preserve it. There are a few elements to this process that make it a little more complex that just putting a body in a cold box. The most important part of the procedure is timing – damage occurs to the body immediately after the heart stops beating so the quicker the better. As a result, cryogenic teams are on standby when the person is near to death – if you die in a traffic accident this procedure will not be for you; so if you are serious about this you may wish to live a little on the cautious side.

For this explanation, let us assume I have just died a peaceful death, in a location near my cryogenic practitioner. Firstly a medical practitioner will pronounce me legally dead – it is illegal to perform these procedures on a person who is medically alive since it would count as a form of suicide. The fact that gives mystery to this process however is my medical death and the death of my brain do not occur at the same time – so presumably at this point I have already instructed my surviving relatives to shout faster over and over again at my cryogenic practitioner. Into an ice-bath I go, and my lungs and heart are restored via an artificial resuscitator – although we are not using this to resuscitate. Basically, it’s thumping my chest and keeping things moving. The next bit is the weird bit – which is totally banned for any medical setting, fortunately however working on a dead patient does not count as a medical setting so I am good.  Into my vein system goes a cocktail of useful liquids including free radical inhibitors, anesthetics, pH buffers and various other protective substances to prevent crystallization.

At this point, if hospitals have not yet warmed up to the idea of cooling a body down I will be transported to a dedicated facility. I am hooked up to a fake external heart and lung machine which has the ability to strip the heat out of my body – won’t be needing that for a while, might as well give it back to the world until I need it. As I lay there, cold and lifeless, a preservation fluid is now pumped through my body – this washes out my body of blood and increases the concentration of what is essentially antifreeze in my body. When my tissues are concentrated with protective fluid something magic happens when subjected to cold temperatures – some of the water in my cells does not freeze, so the process that occurs is no longer freezing but vitrification. Take a look at this image from the Alcor foundation of the difference between a frozen and a vitrified kidney – I think you can see the reason why vitrification is so important.

sdf

Now I am ready to enter the chamber – a chamber in which I am very quickly cooled down to -124 degrees Celsius (to prevent any crystals) and then slowly cooled to -196 degrees Celsius. Aside from the relatively cheap process of changing my liquid nitrogen cooling every few weeks, nothing further happens. I am now a vitrified body in waiting. If you are interested, or have a taste for the morbid there are real case reports here.

Why am I doing this?

I suppose an examination of why someone may wish to do this to themselves is bipartite – firstly why would someone wish to be alive in the future and secondly why would you put considerable finance into a totally unproved scientific endeavor. The first part is hopefully easy – everyone has a natural curiosity about the future, it’s why the genre of sci-fi exists in the first place. The future is currently the only direction we are allowed to travel, with our human instincts willing us to travel as far as possible. I am very forthcoming in the fact that I don’t wish to die – I don’t subscribe to the cliché that it is death which gives life its value, I reserve that for those that have not yet discovered the true value of being alive. Life gains its value through making progress – something which does not require a restrictively short time-frame to exist. An as a side note, what a glittering career I would have as a public speaker in the future – imagine, the man who lived in the 1990s speaking at a 2400’s dinner party – assuming they still eat dinner.

The harder question to answer is why it is worthwhile to place what is a rather large sum of money into the hands of a cryogenic company than to spend it in this lifetime and accept your mortality. Financially, you will need to place somewhere to the tune of $200,000 somewhere safe in order to achieve this goal – which is a lot of money, not to mention transportation and potential relocation near death. That sort of money could be a second holiday home, a huge kick-start in life for your children, a trip round the entire world or a 6:1 scale replica of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry with a moving Hogwarts Express. They are pretty big sacrifices in your life, so is it really worth it?

The answer comes down to personal preference – if you plan for your preservation through a life insurance policy and you start when you are young and healthy the cost per month comes out to be somewhere in the region of a low-mid range restaurant meal (in the UK). When I break it down like that, the idea of forgoing a restaurant meal each month to achieve this seems like a very modest cost for the possible upside offered. In economics you have the concept of utility – you need to balance the utility you gain from having that extra perk a month against the utility you derive from laying on your death bed knowing you will be vitrified rather than buried or burned. The balance will of course depend on the individual; what you believe about cryogenics, how much value you gain from an extra perk a month and a whole host of other views – religion being one that springs to mind. For me, the decision is swift – plan early, minimize the financial costs and vacate my consciousness in peace, in the knowledge there is a chance I may read this again in the far future.

What are the risks?

The cold facts of cryogenics are that no one has ever been revived from cryogenic freezing and many biologists believe the damage to be irreparable. I totally accept that – and neither myself, nor any of the leading cryogenic firms are out to tell you anything different. There are however some facts about human life however that I do put faith in. Firstly, life is about an arrangement of matter. Vastly complex, with large amounts that we are yet to understand – but none the less a specific arrangement of matter. The process of life can be stopped and started providing that this structure is either intact or reparable. This has been shown in many smaller scales already. Have a look at the very first brain cells that were frozen with Alcor.

asd

Now compare that to the results we have now – in just 3-4 decades the techniques have led us to incredible progress in the preservation of the arrangement of matter. I would hope it will be a further 6-7 decades until I finally chill.

asdd

We would be naive to assume the recovery of the information essential to life is possible – of course it is an incredibly daunting task. Allow me to provide an example; if you were to go back a few hundred years and ask someone to send an image of what they were looking at in seconds from Australia to London people would say it can not be achieved. The idea of somehow preserving the view before the eye in a medium that can be transported at unthinkable speeds then received and assembled. Yet today, we suffer dearly as a result of our mastery of pictorial information sharing through an endless barrage of Snapchat stories and Instagram posts of last night’s dinner. The idea of reassembling anything with the complexity of the human brain from the damage of freezing may seem far-fetched – but arguably less far-fetched than the example given would have seemed to our ancestors. Nanotechnology is a potential way that this could actually work – along with, I am sure other candidates.

So if this is not the risk then what is? As with most of what I seem to write these days it’s twofold. The first is mankind – in order for you to be revived there needs to be a civilization to be revived into. I don’t wish to speculate over which potential event it could be – but there are nuclear weapons, asteroids, climate change, tyrannous leaders and increasing wealth divides which all threaten the advancement of the human lifespan. This is simply a peacetime mission whose fate is intimately entwined with the fate of the human race. The variables that may impact the human race in the future are vast – with the only control we have to try and shape and influence the direction while we are alive.

More pressing however is the need to become a priority when it comes to the waking sequence. I theorize that the optimal number of participants in such an endeavor is a medium amount – in the range of around 100 per annum for any scheme. This gives the facility sufficient funding to attract top scientists to research life extension, along with ensuring the facility is well financed to stay solvent and keep the bodies frozen in the best condition possible. Less people and the scientific progress could be halted, meaning the required medical advances are in jeopardy; however more people and the cost of awakening increases, with potentially insufficient resources. The population of the world is only increasing with resources fairly finite at the moment, which is likely to present mankind with some very difficult circumstances in the future. It is going to be a hard sell to get the world to accept large amounts of people who are likely to require huge amounts of medical attention from a few hundred years ago, in a civilization which may well have vastly different ethics and laws. The way I see it, if you want to be woken it is not enough to save the cash – you have to use your first life to make yourself someone the people of the future will want to wake. This is a much more challenging task – and sounds strangely like one of those motivational quotes posted on social media, so a good time to stop.

There we have it – the how and why of cryogenic preservation in my own opinion. To close with one of my favorites;

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

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75 responses to “The pension plan

  1. well, only if you think your body is YOU cryogenic makes an answer.
    I have understood that science nowadays thinks our memory is not in the brain but somewhere in the cloud. So even when one can be awaken with a healthy body there is a big chance one will be awaked without any memory. Not nice I think.
    And if you believe you are more than a body, but they are inseperable than think about a soul bound to a frozen body for maybe eaons. Bah,
    I think it is better to gamble that reincarnation exsists ( more and more proof of that becomes available each year) than gambling on a non-proven awaking after cryogenics

    Liked by 4 people

    • Well I think if you were to be awoken with no memory it would only be not nice to your mind now – your mind in the future would not be so distressed being blank. I personally don’t subscribe to the view however that memory is not in the brain but in a cloud – I, like Penrose and many others subscribe to quantum mind theories. I think it all comes down to what you believe – I personally have no faith in reincarnation or any proof of it so it would give me no comfort in my later years, yet cryogenics I assign a probability of success to (although I have not yet put a number on it!) so it does give me some comfort. I suppose we all must choose that which appeases the mind the most!

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Good article, for me, I did rather give 200,000 to fund the sight restoring surgeries of 4000 poor people (the average cost of a charity cataract surgery is 50) than look forward to the remote prospect of waking up again in an old body in an uncertain future world.

    Liked by 3 people

    • A very very wonderful thing to do – which makes me feel a little selfish now! I think I will endeavor to help the needy as much as possible in life-phase one and then indulge myself in this roll of the dice. Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for your explanation of the how of cryogenic preservation. As for the why, probably as many explanations as there are people. To me, it evokes someone with a Trumpian mindset who sees himself as a valuable gift to future generations.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t think we should label anyone who thinks they have a part to play in the future of humanity as Trumpian – it is a little stifling to ambition. I think both good and bad (objective words I know) can have this feeling – but most importantly our will to go on and to get further and further is what makes us human and not something we should be afraid of. It is after all what makes us human beings; although I do agree as I tried to illuminate in the article that is is somewhat presumtory to think the future will want us awake! Thank you for reading

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Although I tend to feel that Woody Allen has the edge on what a cryogenic nap might bring in his film “Sleeper”. it might be fun to give it a try if I win Lotto but since I can only afford to eat out at MacDonald’s and I am now a vegetarian the prospect seems personally rather dim. I am approaching 91 and am still rather spry and do my own cooking and baking but I am giving it a try to remain alive for the next thousand years since the scene with Trump running the world does have its amusing aspects. I would prefer The Three Stooges as intellectual world models but anything is better than Clinton. The approaching demise looks likely to wipe out all cryogenic refrigerators so my bets remain in being lively and elusive.

    A note in the science news at https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/researchers-put-mouse-embryos-suspended-animation indicated the future may be replete with wealthy mice throughout the extra-planetary cultures but people are not yet on the list.

    Luckily for me I have yet to endear myself to talented human culture to make my after dinner oratory valuable so I shall just have to settle for a very long life.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Vegetarian MacDonald’s is not so much fun! That is interesting indeed with regard to mice! Things like this offer great hope to me. Whilst we are not yet “there” yet we seem to be on a logical path that is heading in the right direction. Whilst this is my plan and my wish for the future, I just like you hope to make the most out of this life. Anyone who says cryogenics will work either is withholding information or lying – it might work so it does make sense to completely maximize the opportunity we can say we have with certainty. I hope that I am around to be engaging in comments when I reach the age of 91!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. you’d need to accept you will be alone in that future world. all your family & friends gone. also, people don’t like immigrants in their county & that seem some ways off from being solved, so how are people going to think about some backwards, primitive, person? you could be awoken to just be some circus like attraction for much more developed beings. also, what happens to population when everyone in the future can be frozen before they die, or no, they wouldn’t need to, life would be extended by large amounts, which would be even worse for the population, why have children, what of work, pensions? i see too many problems, many of them regarding morality. it seems to me we just need to accept dying & live this life then let it be. i believe we have a chemical to help us cope with dying DMT, which to me suggests we are wired to prepare ourselves biologically for death, so why not emotionally?

    Liked by 5 people

    • All very very good points – some of which I have considered, some which have really set my mind thinking. With respect to being alone, I actually am doing this jointly with my lifetime partner so hopefully that will work out that there isn’t too long where one is awake whilst the other is not. With regard to the potential crisis(es) facing mankind – I like you see this as one of the greatest risks. I think that population growth will naturally slow however I think it will reach a very difficult point. At this point mankind will either take the right path that leads to solutions, or they will implode. I hope it is the former.

      I suppose my hope is that progress is roughly upwards – modern society has broadly improved medically, ethically and scientifically over the last 100 years. This is of course non-linear with many kinks in the road. The risk is one of these kinks endangers my mission. I do agree with you when you say around preparing for death – but you see in a way I am. In order to die in peace, I want this small chance of a little more life.

      Thank you for your comments, some really interesting thoughts

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      • If cryogenics does prove out it might be worthwhile to consider that automatic machinery could be fabricated for care and revival after a long trip to, perhaps, that recently discovered Earthlike planet in Proxima Centauri. Space is probably chilly enough to provide the necessary refrigeration and, no doubt, there will be a large superfluous population of after dinner speakers who might well bore the current population to the point of refreezing them to encourage the development of contemporary original speakers.

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    • As I mentioned in a previous comment I am approaching 91 years old in a couple of months and your grasp of the sense of becoming alone in the world is not something unknown to people of my age. I have lost not only my parents but also a wife and one of my two sons. I have lost touch with my remaining son and now live in a country far from where I was born with only my wife’s brother and his wife still alive. I have one friend that I see every few weeks. I am not complaining, merely indicating that I and many like me who finds that active society turns its back on people who endure to my age and older but nevertheless the raw fact of sensing in many ways this strange universe and the fantastic fascinating planet which created us is a very, very precious and rare experience. There is a piercing fierce emotion I feel with Dylan Thomas “Do not go gentle into that good night,
      Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” and though this insane species out of which I came which so intensely is destroying this wonder wonderful speck of cosmic dust shames me I would not give up a nanosecond of this existence willingly. The time I have had and which I still might have is a mere spark of awareness out of the bare wonder of being alive. There is only one real enemy to me and that is death and I do not accept it willingly.

      GAME

      I used to think that mystery
      Hung somewhere out among the stars
      Like silver bells and mirror balls
      On the celestial Christmas tree.

      But understanding changed my views.
      To know how much you know reveals
      That what is known is not too much,
      And this is not too happy news.

      So mystery crept here from night.
      It rolled like mist up from the dusk
      To blur and smear the sharp and clear,
      Enticing with a subtle fright.

      It did not hold out in the stars
      But moved in close at breakfast time
      To stare across the coffee pot
      With one foot here and one on Mars.

      Here its one-toothed finger points
      To objects, thoughts, things solid, bright.
      Sharp edges fuzz, ideas fall flat.
      Frozen, I sit, world out of joint.

      Yellow Eyes surveys my house
      Where I have lived quite rigidly.
      He turned construction into cheese
      Transforming God to Mickey Mouse.

      Now I play cards with Yellow Eyes.
      The coffee pot has gone quite cold.
      I sometimes, even, win a hand
      To his chagrin and my surprise.

      Liked by 7 people

      • Jiisand you tug at my heart strings! In all seriousness I am sorry for you losses – I often think to myself that one of the downsides of a long life is having to go through the pains of seeing those who are closest to us depart this world. You are completely correct in your assertion that society turns its back on the (relatively) old. It is intimately linked with my views on the economy. With the economy we have become experts at maximizing returns financially – but not so good at maximizing the non financial benefits. We have managed to create many very different developed economies, from Japan to the USA yet for some reason they all seem so far from optimal. You might call this greed; but I like to think the subtlety is a result of the fact that monetary benefit is so obvious. Non-monetary attributes, such as a general feeling of justice are harder to put a value on and largely get ignored. It is the same with people – we seem to discard them in a way when they won’t make a monetary contribution to society, when there is a non-monetary benefit of accumulated wisdom. You prove this to be true.

        That is not to say there are not people trying, or striving for more. But you are quite right to approach every single day in the most productive manner possible; I know that despite my plans for cryogenics I will try to live by this example and extract every bit of value from every day.

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      • a really wonderful point, one easily overlooked by someone far from their crepuscular years.
        my grandma just died & i have spent 99% of the time during her dying in a country far away, getting on with what i want to do. i couldn’t “stop my life to wait for her to die” as she put it, probably just to lessen my guilt. she was fortunate to have her daughters & family around her throughout the process & eventually went with little awareness of what was happening to her, due the biological coping mechanisms that ease our dying.
        so i am sorry to hear of your loneliness & it is something that should not happen, that you do not complain & still think so vividly is worthy of admiration. i mention my grandma above as it illustrates the divide between those who take it upon themselves to not abandon the infirm & those who do (myself) not necessarily with any harm intended, but because of something maybe they aren’t even sure of themselves. i love my grandma a lot, we had a close relationship, but it seems to me dying is a natural part of life & it goes on regardless of the dying & the dead. it is a natural sacrifice, a sort of deal breaker i suppose. we get as you say “a mere spark of awareness” & then we are forced by life to move aside to allow others the opportunity. if nobody ever died since the beginning of time the population would now have amounted to tens of billions or more perhaps. it is inconceivable. if we are able to cure death then it will make the cycle of birth & death redundant. how would women evolve beyond the disuse of their bodies. women who have children suffer less during their menopause, whereas those who don’t have children suffer a great deal more. so if women never had children their would be billions of women suffering from menopausal problems. just one of countless problems. there would be very few children. what would people find to do forever? i am not easily bored, i do so many things because i think to be bored is the most ridiculous thing in life, but i don’t know how far improving yourself into a lengthy future would be of value. i see people’s point about wanting to beat death, it is final, terrifying & if you believe in nothing (like me) it can be terrifying. but i can’t escape it, i won’t, i will live as fully as i can, learn as much as possible then i’ll die & know i lived as well as i could.
        lovely iambic tetrameters by the way, an effortless fluidity, a solid poem, spectacular form. & i think the Line from Do Not Go Gentle has a power that Thomas was very skilled at delivering. there are few poets who with so small a vocabulary can say so much so with such force that through the green fuse drives the flower.

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      • I doubt the long living shark or any sequoia tree troubles itself over how nature might become perplexed over its long existence. Why should a human? The concept of how nature might handle too many people is not my problem. Already plans are being hatched to ship people to other planets which may seem somewhat insane but the length of life of any individual is a problem I would rather not deal with as inevitable. No doubt there are beings somewhere who would find us delicious and if the appetite is mutual evolution will discover a handy solution. The current political-economic puzzles we are now undergoing look to leave nature most relieved over a tumultuous solution.

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  6. A fascinating explanation, Joseph. Well, it’s to each his own; if someone wants to survive and have the possibility of seeing the future open to him/her, there is no reason why these risks are not worth it.
    See if you can time travel back to 2016 and write a blog post about how it is after you are brought back to life, will you? 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • That sounds like a fantastic idea – unless the authorities read it, section me and then I end up stuck back in the very place I spent so much time and money on making sure I didn’t get stuck! Thank you for reading and for your comments – I totally agree with you, it is a very personal choice but how wonderful to be in a time where that choice is available!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. So basically you are creating a Horcrux out of your own self. Your body survives but your soul doesnt. Death signifies the relinquishment of the human body by the soul. By keeping the body alive, you are merely preserving the body sans soul. Will that be of any help??

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh no don’t say it like that! Although I believe our primary divergence of opinion is that I don’t believe in the notion of the soul; or rather perhaps I do but as a manifestation of the complex quantum mechanical processes that occur in the mind, rather than a separable feature of the human body

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      • I loved reading what you wrote. In fact have been researching on cryogenics since then, however, what I still havent understood is … While they preserve your body and your senses, how will they preserve your feelings … What you feel as Joseph or what I feel as Henaa, how will that be preserved?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am glad it is of interest! Regardless of if you believe in it as a personal process, the idea is fascinating. Senses are okay – they are actually little more than inputs that are not too hard to replicate. The way I see it with feelings, is you can only have a feeling in the present. After that the feeling becomes a memory in the past – so whilst you may experience that feeling in the present recalling a memory that too then is laid down as a memory. To preserve memory I fundamentally believe it is a case of preserving the structure of matter and hoping for the required medical advances. The progress in preserving the structure of the brain is already remarkable; something we can only hope is going to improve over the next few decades

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      • Lets hope it does materialize the way you foresee it. However, by bringing about immortality (of a different nature though) are you not stalling the basic principle of the Universe … Whatever takes birth, has to die! For instance, even the Sun will die someday just as planets would. Wouldnt it amount to tampering with the universal laws

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      • I don’t believe the universe knows this law. I believe the universe knows for example that if a star runs out of fuel then it must stop shinning. But I do not believe there is a law that says everything that begins must end – it must only end if the laws of the universe that do exist deem it to be so. I often think that a large amount of the philosophy around death being necessary to validate life is just a human construction to comprehend a mortal life.

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      • You have an interesting take on “death” and of course a lot of other issues as well!! I follow your blog religiously and am in love with what you guys write. Please keep writing. However, I still am of the opinion that death as a finality of human life must not be tampered with. By introducing immortality you are merely prolonging the pains and pressures of life which must end someday!!

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      • Thank you very much! That is great encouragement for both myself and Mekhi – we will be sure to keep the material coming. Never fear about a difference in opinion; the only thing you should really fear is not having one at all!

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    • Hi, I have read this article and while I was reading the comments on the thread about what exactly think and feel about Cryogenics, Sugarsatchet really took my attention with the view points that you gave and the questions that you asked. I would have to agree with Joseph in the majority that feelings is an idea that is in the present and could be obtained after a cryogenic experience. I honestly think the whole experience as a really long nap for a person. You close your eyes and you wake up at a later time but everything about you is still the same. You can still feel, have your own body and spirit, just at a later date in time.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you very much for reading, and for you input. I totally agree with you, it is all about preserving the structure of matter. The more you are able to preserve it the easier I believe it will be to revive someone. It is very much likely to be a LIFO situation – last in first out due to the advances in the process.

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      • Yes in a sense it would – given it would allow you as a human to reach times in the future that your body would not otherwise be biologically capable of. Yes I tend to avoid conspiracy theories too, they tend to look for the idea and worry about the facts later!

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      • Hi … I am glad you decided to respond to my comment and participate in the discussion. You know while Cryogenics sounds interesting, I really dont know how will it play out in the long run. After all … Dying is natural process. It takes place even at the minutest cellular level .. So to defy death and to preserve human body sounds like defiance of the universal law of death. However, having said that … you might be able to preserve human mind and human heart in terms of the organ functions but what about stuff like memory …. What would you do about that?? Because once you are resurrected from the death so to say … would you be able to keep your memory intact? These are certain questions and doubts that I have. Also, I am not someone who comes from pure science educational background so that might prove to be disadvantageous when it comes to grasping the concept … Apologies if I sounded offensive or skeptical or just too dumb to engage in a conversation of such nature. Much love … Sugarsatchet

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      • I love the points that you brought up, and the concepts of offensive, unintellectual, or skepticism did not even close to my mind when I read your points or even your reply. I do think that death is an important aspect of life, one of my favorite quotes has to do with the idea of an Alpha and Omega in the world, a beginning and a end. The question remains that life changes and the human species literally pushes the boundaries of what we believe as universal laws, so is it really a universal law? We have discovered the finest of particles inside an atom, we have seen the galaxies and have reached farther than we have ever been with each day. It could be possible to stagnate the idea of death so that we can see a future where things that we conceive as impossible are practical because of us pushing the boundaries of what we believe.The preservation of memory can happen because as long as people are people, there will be instinctive feelings such as happiness which are strong enough to carry memories through association. The preservation of memories can happen naturally with a person. I believe a person in cryogenics chamber or some sort of stasis will feel as if they have only been gone for a split second while truly they have been in stasis for 100 years.

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      • I totally agree with you on this last point – this is exactly how I imagine it, feeling like you have slept for a very small amount of time and feeling deeply confused when you wake up!

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      • what you mentioned is indeed quite interesting! Let’s hope we are able to see such miraculous scientific progress in our lifetimes … Keep writing and stopping by … Much love Sugarsatchet

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  8. What has died when we die – the body and the ego. It is conceivable you could reawaken the body, but the ego is another matter. And then there is the soul/Self/Spirit? Are they really going to hang around on the off-chance that body/ego might become reinhabitable? Seems implausible. Better to enjoy those meals or that second home while you can.

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    • By ego, do you mean memories? The stuff in the brain that we generally believe to be the root of who someone is? I don’t believe this information is in anyway lost – the question is will it ever be within the realms of human recovery. This is of course a risk – so I intend to make the most of my life as it is, but also take this gamble! I know what you mean – where we are right now it does seem hard to fathom

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    • I quite agree with you – that was in the post actually, about being someone that the people of the future will want to wake. It simply won’t be enough to just pay up and freeze. Thank you for visiting

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  9. Apparently the Box turtle only needs its heart to beat once every five or ten minutes when hibernating. It also does not need to breathe since it absorbs enough oxygen through its skin. Cryogenics stamps those who go for it as certain types of people. Similar perhaps to those who believe in the immortal soul of man. They are among the huge number of humans who cannot let go, come what may. It reminds me of a short story by HG Wells about a man who when he got old stole a youngmans body to make himself immortal. There is no doubt that the contemplation of our self ‘s end is a torment to many.

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    • Thank is most fascinating! I think to some degree we all struggle to let go, which I am sure over history has helped us many more times than we realize. A survival instinct is in no way a bad thing!

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  10. You say you have no belief in reincarnation yet awakening in another time and social order could be considered as an incarnation of a new self. I think you must be a tremendous risk taker and a person of tremendous faith in something to consider such a path. Who will you see when you open your eyes, human or machine? Will you be an artifact of a civilization long expired. Will you mourn your old self and the people who are gone or will your new life be so wonderful by comparison you will grieve nothing. When is living one lifetime enough or do you continue on finding new regeneration
    Does this eliminate the need reproduce? Too many “what if” questions for me.

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    • Correct – I suppose you could view it is that, although as I am sure you can imagine from my scientific viewpoint I would not view it that way! I am hoping that when I open my eyes I see a society that has come a long way and generally the participants are happier, along with of course my best friend. I will indeed be an artifact – but one that intends to catch up. I will mourn my old life of course and I will miss so many people; that part of me would never go. I have always been of the opinion that if you are living life properly there is no such thing as enough – so I do believe I would go on hunting for more. It does eliminate the need to reproduce but not the desire. You could argue that a majority of the reproductions that happen in the modern day are not needed, but rather a very natural desire. Thank you for your interesting questions!

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      • May I chip in pls? …’scientific viewpoint’…’hoping’ sounds just like the 1950’s when adults were getting so enthusiastic about scientific advances improving society. It engendered a great expectation when I was at school but political idiocy started getting in the way (your ‘kinks’?) and we’ve found science doesn’t have all the answers Joe. NOT to say there’s no longer any hope or excitement – but much more a different dimension! In fact, a never-ending journey…

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      • The way I see it science will never have all the answers – it is the thrill of the chase. But science is the only discipline with the flexibility to chase down the answer and pose the next question. The falsifiable nature of science is it’s greatest asset – but I know full well we have a slight disagreement of opinion!

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  11. The Greenland shark (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/11/400-year-old-greenland-shark-is-the-oldest-vertebrate-animal) manages to hang around for 400 years, perhaps in defiance of a basic law of the universe and, if this is an average life of the creature, the probability of a much longer life is reasonable. No doubt much older people keep it rather quiet as someone living on social security that long might become rather unpopular. (See G.B.Shaw’s “Back to Methuselah” or Heinlein’s “Methuselah’s Children”). Probabilities should not be taken as universal law as the latest US presidential election indicates. If a goddamn shark can manage it I’ll give it a try.

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    • Perhaps I am better off trying to be reincarnated as a Greenland shark! A probability becomes a law when we have enough data points to be beyond reasonable doubt. In the case of the human lifespan it is fascinating – we have medical experts telling us what the maximum span of human longevity is, only to have some wonderful gritty human beat it so they add on a decade. I sincerely hope you drive up the average many standard deviations from the mean!

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      • The bulk of people I have known here in Helsinki seem to go missing in their seventies but my friend who is now just 60 has relatives in the 90’s. I don’t drink and never have smoked and try to eat sensibly so I perhaps have already stretched my probabilities. Cancer seems to be the final popular eliminator which wiped my father at 83 and my mother at 54. My younger son became quadriplegic at the age of 3 and we managed to keep him alive to the age of 32 but it was a struggle. My brother slipped and died at 85 and the grandparents on both sides died in their 70’s so I’ll have to be creative to compete with the shark. No doubt few sharks smoke or are tempted by either alcohol or over spicy foods and I have no concept of what a sea urchin tastes like or gives digestive problems.
        I have been pretty much a loner all my life so losing people is something I manage to accept after a decade or so but I really miss a good deal of the world of the 40’s and 50’s and 60’s with many fine actors and writers and even though it’d hard to believe these days, a handful of admirable politicians and newspaper people. They’re gone with the passenger pigeon and the dodo. When I first came to Helsinki in 1961 there was only 1 traffic light in town and a white gloved cop unsnarled the street at another corner. There were real bakeries and butcher shops and a coffee grinder in the grocery store and you brought an aluminum can for milk. It was so much like Brooklyn back in the 1930’s that I fell in love with the place and have remained in love ever since, although it is quite modern today.

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      • 70s isn’t too bad relatively – but of course nowhere near long enough. Not drinking and smoking must serve you very well, both health wise and financially. I myself resist the lure of cigarettes but do enjoy the occasional drink. Cancer is a big fear for all of us; one we are certainly making progress with although not at the speed I would have liked. It sounds like you have had some fairly rough hands dealt over the years – but it also seems as though you have managed to adapt very well to these situations. I can imagine what you mean about the pace of change in the world – it is a shame that as we progress we cannot keep the things that are good, whilst improving the things that are bad. I certainly feel nostalgia over certain things in my relatively short lifespan

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      • To be fair my life in comparison with so very many other lives throughout the world is nothing to complain about. It appears to me some essential fundamental component or talent is missing from my personality in relating to other people since I fully recognize opportunities I simply could not handle but nevertheless I seem to have survived. But an article at http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/30/the-arctic-goes-bonkers/ , if it has validity, indicates the methane trapped in the arctic is bursting forth so that none of us have long considering the rapid triggering of a deadly atmospheric activity. The almost humorous lackadaisical reaction of humanity to this deadly threat quite sets the level of idiocy of our species wherein nobody really seems to care to initiate the necessary panic to react properly.

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  12. An exhaustive examination of the topic which I found fascinating and disquieting by turns. I wondered about this bit, however …

    “I don’t subscribe to the cliché that it is death which gives life its value, I reserve that for those that have not yet discovered the true value of being alive. Life gains its value through making progress – something which does not require a restrictively short time-frame to exist.”

    Isn’t the time-free progress essentially a collective one – in other words, isn’t it one’s contribution to a common human project that counts? In this sense, perhaps, death becomes an irrelevance and a yearning for life at all costs an unfortunate and perhaps disordered egoism?

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    • Thank you very much! I do agree that it is ones contribution to the human project that counts yes, however I don’t think it is feasible to totally strip out personal achievement and ambition. In societal systems where quite literally everything is shared you have communism. In these systems productivity drops terribly and the overall wealth of people declines – not just the rich. Similarly with working for the common good – overall this is what we do but I personally believe we must allow for a degree of individualism… in a circular way to maximize the common good. If that makes any sense at all! Thank you for reading

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  13. We don’t differ fundamentally for I agree on the worth of science and that it’ll ‘never have all the answers’. This post and thread offers good ideas and discussion about your ‘plan’ but surely it’s better first to address the fundamental questions: why am I alive and what actually happens when I die?

    For me these had to be addressed even before getting away from the confines of parental and educational/social/political/ecclesiastical controls. As well as giving a satisfactory and verifiable answer to my questions, science also needed to deal adequately with other related data; eg. information retrieval by ‘out-of-body’ consciousness.

    Checking out investigations into post-mortem existence I found claims of psychic events far too hit and miss – and of course, not testable or reproducible. However, reports from those who’d almost died or were revived seemed to indicate a commonality. Metaphysical ideas and notions brought an apparent logic to the concept of reincarnation. Only an awesome personal encounter with our Saviour brought a key to getting the answers I sought.

    Later, I met an atheist who’d been stung to death by five boxer jellyfish off Mauritius but then shocked a mortician as he came back to life! And there’s the 3-4 year old boy who came back after meeting his older, deceased sibling whom he never knew – their mother had miscarried. And there’s a S. African pastor who insisted police didn’t prosecute the man who’d killed him – and then forgave his murderer!

    So I respectfully submit that we all need to know the truth of these issues.

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    • I actually agree with you in regard to addressing the fundamental questions first – I like you do have a firm belief in what happens when we die, which is the source of my thirst to evade the process. I have read many accounts of people who have had similar experiences to the ones you mention; but not the exact same. I studied religious education as part of the curriculum actually and we watched videos about people who believed they could remember a past life. I’m afraid I must disappoint however; as a scientist I would put these experiences down to other anomalies rather than being genuine manifestations of a past life. That isn’t to say however it does not make very interesting reading!

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      • One of the most fundamental difficulties in discussing the personal viewpoints of any individual towards his or her existence is the acceptance of the scientific stance that nature does not regard any form of life including human life as being particularly precious and, in fact, inflicts all sorts of difficulties on the various life forms to remain alive and functional and that is the basis of the mechanisms of evolution. Within that context there is the scientific assumption that humans are merely one form of living creature of a relatively short geological existence and subject to the vagaries of nature equally as other forms of life. These two fundamental assumptions are in direct opposition to almost all theological philosophies which favor humans extraordinarily over other life forms and, throughout much of human history have been the basis of the many conflicts between scientific thought and theological fundamentals. Considering human effects on life on this planet there is no question that humans are an extraordinary living form but that they are one example of the many forms of life is fundamental in scientific thought.

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  14. I saw this in the news and wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it, or what my thoughts on it really were. Indeed, the ability to preserve information as we know it, see it and experience it is incredibly daunting and undeniably I’m curious as to whether it could ever be possible. Fantastic post, very interesting to see your thoughts on it!

    http://www.invisiblyme.com

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    • Thank you very much! I am glad you enjoyed the post and I can sympathise with you entirely in finding it a difficult concept – I too felt that way, and in many ways I still do. It is something I am continually learning more about but my interest in pursuing in remains constant! Thanks for visiting

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