ISSUE 03 |  2017


CI President Dennis Kowalski

Hello all,

Summer is winding down, which means it’s almost time for our 2017 Annual General Meeting. I’m especially looking forward to this year’s event, as it will be our first time conducting the meeting off-site at a brand-new location. It’s also a great sign of CI’s growth and momentum that we have effectively outgrown our current facility both in terms of patient storage and the number of attendees we can accommodate for the Annual Meeting. We’re growing in patients, members and attendance numbers for the AGM,, and I view these all as positive signs we’re headed in the right direction. I’m confident this new location will be a welcome change and the beginning of a new tradition at CI.

With that in mind, I encourage everyone to make your reservations today at the ConCorde Inn to ensure you get a room on-site for the meeting. I also would like to extend a personal invitation to our non-member readers to join us on September 10. If you’re intereted in Cryonics, but not yet a member, this is an excellent opportunity to learn more about CI, tour the facility, meet our leadership team and make new friends in the cryonics community.

This issue also features our roster of 2017 Board of Directors candidates. This year we have four incumbents running for re-election (including myself) as well as two new candidates. One of the great strengths of CI has always been the involvment and enthusiasm of our members, and i think this is reflected in the dedication of our member-elected Board of Directors leadership team and the individuals who choose to run for the opportunity to serve CI as Board Members. As funded and contracted members ourselves, each of our Directors has a vested interest in making sure Ci remains a growing, successful and stable organization for both ourselves and generations to come.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone September 10.

Dennis Kowalski - CI President

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What's Happening at the Cryonics Institute

We are pleased to report that we’ve been very busy here at the CI facility as a result of our organization’s continuous growth. Here is a quick look at what’s new at CI and in the world of cryonics!

Professor Adam Higgins Announced as AGM Speaker

Associate Professor Adam Z. Higgins, who is currently conducting research for CI on organ perfusion techniques, will be a featured guest speaker at the 2017 AGM. Professor Higgins’ talk will focus on research results to date and strategies moving forward.

“Development of organ perfusion strategies to reduce CPA toxicity”

We previously developed a mathematical optimization strategy for designing minimally toxic CPA equilibration procedures and demonstrated its effectiveness for cryopreservation of endothelial cells and induced pluripotent stem cells.  Current efforts focus on extending this optimization approach to 3D tissues and organs. In particular, we are exploring the effects of the tonicity of the CPA carrier solution during kidney perfusion.  Our results show that the response of kidneys is analogous to that of isolated cells, suggesting that toxicity minimization strategies developed for isolated cells can be adapted to organs.

Adam Z. Higgins, Associate Professor
School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering
Oregon State University

For a detailed report on this research, please see this article in CI Magazine (page 18.)

CI-Sponsored Research Featured at Cryo2017 in Hefei, China

Ross Warner presented the organ preservation work CI helped support at the annual meeting of the International Society for Cryobiology in China July 21-23. Warner was also selected as the Society’s 2017 Critser Award winner for his submission “Examination of Toxicity Reduction During Organ Cryopreservation by Manipulating the Composition of the CPA Loading Solution” based on this research.

Warner, a PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University, is a member of Professor Adam Higgins’ team of researchers who are working with CI to study improved preservation techniques. This research was also presented by Professor Higgins at the Organ Banking Summit held in Boston August 3-6.

The Critser Award is sponsored by the family of late cryobiologist and former President of the Society for Cryobiology, John K. Critser. The award recognizes the best extended abstract submission by a student and carries an honorarium of $1500 USD to attend the Society’s annual meeting.

CI will be conducting our Second Silent Auction at the 2017 AGM, allowing attendees to bid on a number of items. All monies raised will be donated to the Cryonics Institute, so we’re hoping this will be a fun and rewarding addition to our Annual Meeting as well as a great way to raise donations.

The success of this project will depend in large part on the items received, so we’re actively looking for nice items for this auction. Interested individuals, companies or other sponsors who would like to participate by donating items or by helping to solicit donors can contact:

Stephan is also looking for positive volunteers who will be attending the AGM to help with the event.

* Please see CI Magazine, Issue 1 - 2017 for the complete auction rules.

New French Organ Donations Law Will Impact Cryonicists: Take Action Now!

The French Parliament passed the new law on April 14th 2016, effective beginning January 1st, 2017. According to this law, all French citizens over 18 years of age are now considered consenting donors. At the time of death, before considering organ & tissue removal, medical teams will be required to check whether the deceased has claimed an opposition to the donation of organs & tissues during his or her lifetime. First of all, the medical team will ask for the consultation of the National Register of the refusals to know if the deceased is registered on it. If not, they will be required to consult surviving relatives to confirm the deceased’s prior consent.

This law could have serious ramifications for CI Members in France, so it is important they take action to help prevent an automatic, and unwanted donation. French cryonicists will need to complete the registration form of the National Register of refusals, making sure it is on record that they don’t want to donate their organs & tissues after their death. Send the completed form to 1, avenue du Stade de France, 93212 Saint-Denis La Plaine Cedex.

Nouvelle Loi en France sur le Don d’Organe.

La loi votée le 14 avril 2016 par le Parlement Français sur le don d’organes est applicable depuis le 1er Janvier 2017.

Elle fait de tous les Français majeurs des donneurs présumés consentants. Au moment du décès, avant d’envisager un prélèvement d’organes & de tissus, les équipes médicales vérifieront si la personne décédée a fait valoir de son vivant une opposition au prélèvement de ses organes & tissus. En premier lieu, l’équipe médicale demandera la consultation du Registre National des refus pour savoir si le défunt y est inscrit. Dans la négative, on vérifiera auprès des proches si le défunt n’a pas fait valoir de son vivant son opposition aux prélèvements de ses tissus & de ses organes à son décès. Bref, que doivent faire les cryonicistes français(e)s ? Et bien ils doivent remplir le formulaire d’inscription du Registre National des refus, ce qui signifie qu’ils ne souhaitent pas donner leurs organes & tissus après leur mort et envoyer par la poste (Courrier Recommandé) le formulaire à 1 avenue du Stade de France, 93212 Saint-Denis La Plaine Cedex. (J.R.M.)

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SUNDAY, SEPT. 10: 3:00pm

ConCorde Inn
44315 Gratiot Avenue
Clinton Township, MI 48036


Sept. 10 - 12:00-2:00pm

Cryonics Institute Facility
24355 Sorrentino Court
Clinton Township, MI 48035-3239
(586) 791-5961


ConCorde Inn
44315 Gratiot Avenue
Clinton Township, MI 48036

Annual General Meeting

The annual meeting offers an excellent opportunity to see the facility, learn more about cryonics, meet members and guests from around the world, get updates on the Cryonics Institute & Immortalist Society and to talk to Officers, Directors & Staff.

The Annual General Meeting usually lasts about 2 hours, featuring reports from CI Board Members, guest speakers and a few other surprises. The Immortalist Society Meeting will follow directly after the CI AGM, and typically lasts about 45 minutes.

CI will be providing light snacks and beverages at the meeting, but no formal dinner arrangements. Guests are invited to dine prior to the meeting or, preferably, socializing with new friends and associates after the meeting concludes. The ConCorde Inn has a restaurant on-site, and there are several excellent dining locations nearby.


Please note, the 2017 AGM will be hosted at the ConCorde Inn in Clinton Township, MI, not at the CI Facility.

The ConCorde features an impressive meeting room, an outdoor seating area adjacent to the hall, plus a lounge, pool and fitness center and other amenities we’re sure everyone will enjoy. Rooms at the ConCorde Inn are on a first-come, first-served basis, so please make your reservations now.

Facility Tours

Tours of the CI facility will be available prior to the meeting from approximately 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. The facility will be closed to both members and the general public outside of these scheduled times, so if you would like to visit, please plan accordingly.

Night Before Dinner and Social

CI will be hosting a “Night Before” Social and Dinner event at 6pm on Saturday, September 9 at Sajo’s Restaurant. Everyone is welcome, but please remember, guests are responsible for their own checks.


36470 Moravian Clinton Twp, MI 48035


CI’s AGM is open to the general public, but we request that we be informed if you will be attending. For driving directions, more meeting information and to confirm attendance, send email to or phone (586) 791-5961.

Everyone is Welcome! Our meeting is open to the general public, so feel free to bring a guest or join us yourself if you’re not a member!


Make your voice heard!

The Cryonics Institue is a member run organization, electing our leadership positions from among our membership. Board Members serve three-year terms, with four positions up for election each year on a rotating basis. Board positions are open to Voting Members only. To qualify as a Voting Member of the Cryonics Institute a CI Member must be age 18 or over and either be a Lifetime Member or have been a Yearly Member for at least three years. Additionally, only CI Members with an executed Cryonic Suspension Agreement and having full funding for the Cryonic Suspension Agreement may be Voting Members.

Voting members should have received their ballots via mail by this magazine’s publication date, or shortly thereafter accounting for International Postal delivery times.

Ballots are to be counted on September 10, prior to the CI Annual General Meeting. Registered votes not received at CI Headquarters prior to the official ballot-counting time and date (8:00 a.m on September 10, 2017,) are at risk of not being counted, so please return your election votes as soon as possible after you receive them. Because of the timing, we do not encourage members to bring their ballots with them to submit in person at the meeting, but prefer to have them mailed back in advance. Please return your ballot as soon as possible and avoid the risk of missing your opportunity to vote.



Hi, I’m happy to run for my re-election as a Director of this great organization. I presently serve as the Director that deals with Communications & Social Media.

I’m 48 years old & I have been interested in cryonics since 1993. I did several public relations activities for CI & I intend to do more. I did also many interviews about cryonics. I’m in touch with our President practically everyday to give him advice & suggestions to try to improve CI. I convinced & helped many persons to get signed up. I found willing people to help my fellow cryonicists. I also translated CI documents & Cryonics videos for more widespread understanding for those in countries other than the USA. As I promised, I set up a partnership in Canada (pick up the patient, ice bath, perfusion with CI-VM-1 & shipment to CI). No matter your country, you will be able to have me to help & defend our organization. If you want a friendly Director who likes working as a team, with family values, leadership, a positive outlook, clear goals with real results for CI & 110% loyal, vote (4) me. Thanks / Merci / Danke


Blake Delaney was educated in biochemistry and computer application development. His professional career includes corporate programming and investment management. He and his wife are lifetime CI members. Blake is a volunteer in the cryonics community, especially in the area of emergency preparedness. He works with our current president in efforts to improve the statistical risks and returns of CI’s investment holdings.

His goals for the Cryonics Institute include: 1) Maintain beneficial investment profiles so that CI can continue its financial health while keeping our lower member prices. 2) Encourage controlled growth, including expanding membership counts and geographic reach to improve high-speed emergency response. 3) Maintaining CI’s core services with high reliability and redundancy. and 4) Staying abreast of scientific or technological advancements that could help with CIs primary mission.

"I would be honored to have your vote, and serve as a director. CI fulfills an essential role in the advancement of human life extension."


Dennis Kowalski is a Fire Fighter and a Nationally Registered EMT-Paramedic (NREMT-P). He is certified in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), advanced pediatric life support (PALS), and as a AHA CPR Instructor. He also teaches emergency medicine to other emergency responders. His experience in emergency services has made him a vital asset as a CI director and he is eager to share what he has learned as a bridge between conventional emergency medicine and cryonics. Dennis’s goals are to see positive growth and stability in CI membership. He’d like to see local support groups formed to promote unity, education and faster cryonics response. He is currently serving as CI’s President and has overseen many positive changes, including a revised CI website and social media channels, the new Standby Kit and manual, coordinating the annual AGM, member outreach, public and media relations, CI Magazine, membership growth initiatives, negotiations with international organizations on behalf of CI, cost-savings measures, investment growth strategies, an updated members-only forum, facility and operational improvements and more. If you like the direction Dennis has taken CI to date, please vote to reelect him.


Steve Luyckx was born in Detroit, Michigan, the fifth of six children. He graduated from Michigan State in 1986 with a BA in Logistics and a Masters degree in Finance a few years later. His professional career includes Kraft Foods, Chrysler/Daimler Financial and in 2009 became the President of a joint venture between ADP and Reynolds. He first became interested in Cryonics when a neighbor friend who was an important influence in his life introduced the topic. He has been one of the longest devoted board members dating back over 20 years and has attended every annual meeting since 1988. | cell phone number 248 840 3936


Dirk is a 39-year-old German, but has also lived, worked and studied in Benin (West Africa), Costa Rica, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway and the US. His background is in forestry/biology and with further training in digital marketing. He currently works for an international organization on sustainable forestry and reducing tropical deforestation to keep our planet green and livable for our long and prosperous future.

Dirk signed up with the Cryonics Institute in 2007 and has been volunteering vividly for cryonics in Germany ever since. As a CI director he would aim to contribute to: (1) strengthening standby and field cryopreservation through testing and feedback, also from the German/European perspective; (2) enhancing options for interaction among interested members, including through online meetings; (3) professionalizing CI’s social media outreach strategy and updating the CI website (e.g. ensuring that all information is up-to-date).

Physical mailing address: Dirk Nemitz, Neuenhofer Str. 52, 53773 Hennef, Germany
Email address:


I have worked for the Cryonics Institute for more than thirty two years. At the Cryonics Institute facility I am in charge of the day to day operations, patient suspensions, patient care and member services. I have served as a director of the Cryonics Institute for nine years and I also serve as the corporate secretary.

Revival Breakthrough?

Potentially groundbreaking news for the cryonics community appeared in a recent article published by the journal ACS Nano. Scientists may have taken what has been hailed as a significant step toward conclusively answering one of the most critical questions, (and most frequent criticism) of cryonics with a successful cryogenically-preserved specimen reanimation test.

In the article “Gold Nanorod Induced Warming of Embryos from the Cryogenic State Enhances Viability” researchers reported successfully reanimating frozen zebrafish embryos from cryogenic temperatures. Zebrafish embryos have been used as specimens for this type of research for decades, but until today familiar problems, chiefly the destructive formation of ice crystals during the thawing process, have stymied progress. For this particular test, the researchers made a critical adjustment to the process: faster thawing via the introduction of conductive particles to help speed heating.

The scientists conducting the experiment prepared the embryos in advance using standard vitrification procedures - replacing the blood and other major fluids with a vitrification solution designed to resist freezing and the formation of ice crystals that can rupture cells and damage tissues. This is a critical stage in the cryonics process, and CI similarly vitrifies patients before cooling using our CI VM1 solution, developed through extensive research and ongoing refinements.

Standard thawing methods were unsuccessful in initial tests. The researchers write “[The] large size of the yolk still impedes rapid cooling and warming, thereby yielding lethal ice crystal formation during cryopreservation.” Even with vitrification protections in place, if the defrosting process is too slow, a process called devitrification can occur, where the vitrified fluids “[reverts] from glass to ice.”

The solution was to speed up the thawing process. According to the paper, “Here we address this zebrafish cryopreservation problem by using gold nanorods (GNRs) to assist in the warming process. Specifically, we microinjected the cryoprotectant propylene glycol into zebrafish embryos along with GNRs, and the samples were cooled at a rate of 90 000 °C/min in liquid nitrogen. We demonstrated the ability to unfreeze the zebrafish rapidly (1.4 × 107 °C/min) by irradiating the sample with a 1064 nm laser pulse for 1 ms due to the excitation of GNRs. This rapid warming process led to the outrunning of ice formation, which can damage the embryos.”

The zebrafish embryos that had been frozen (however, only for a short time) were rapidly thawed with this technique. Upon their return to normal temperatures, approximately 10 percent of those embryos survived the process and continued to develop normally for the next 24 hours before expiring.

These results may not seem particularly encouraging, however they have the potential to be an important first step to ultimately discovering the key to successful suspension and reanimation. It is also encouraging to consider how this new research can be applied in combination with work CI and others are doing to refine and further perfect both the freezing process and vitrification solutions.

Although researchers have had limited success in the past with individual cells or tissues, this experiment marks the first time a more complex organism has been successfully revived from cryogenic suspension. These results point out that currently-available technologies, applied in the right way can potentially be used to revive cryogenically preserved tissues. If we can achieve these limited results with our current technology, logically we will be able to do even more as that technology advances. This also helps support the viability of the core thesis of cryonics - that frozen organisms can, in fact, be revived with the proper combination of freezing and thawing techniques.

Admittedly, these results are a long way from reanimating the complex brain and organ structures of a human body, but they are an encouraging start. Positive results, even with the limited success of this experiment, focus attention on the fundamental concept of cryonics and help bring our message to a wider mainstream audience. This test may not be the complete proof-positive revival skeptics need to accept cryonics, but for the wider majority of people, even a limited success at achieving “life after death” through cryonic suspension is sure to excite the imagination.

Standby Notebook

Essential tips to prepare for your suspension

Worst Mistakes in cryonics

#4) Not Planning

Many think cryonics is a turnkey service where once you sign up your worries are over and everything proceeds like clockwork without any additional input or effort on their part.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. A successful Cryonics Suspension requires effort and planning on the member’s part, particularly in regard to contracts, payment arrangements and local Standby Preparation and planning.

No matter how much you pay for cryonics you are the only one who can make sure that you will have the best chance by planning and preparing in advance to avoid potentially fatal delays in the actual Standby and suspension process when the time comes

CI provides a wealth of information on our website and in our standby manuals to help you with this process. Those who plan succeed - those who don’t fail.

In an emergency

Call 1-586-791-5961 Immediately!

For more information:

Don’t wait to make your plans.
Your life may depend on it.

Suspended Animation fields teams of specially trained cardio-thoracic surgeons, cardiac perfusionists and other medical professionals with state-of-the-art equipment to provide stabilization care for Cryonics Institute members in the continental U.S.Cryonics Institute members can contract with Suspended Animation for comprehensive standby, stabilization and transport services using life insurance or other payment options.

Speak to a nurse today about how to sign up.

Call 1-949-482-2150

or email


Help us stay up to date

If you live in one of the countries listed, we’d appreciate if you would please take a moment to contact the groups listed in your country to confirm their details. Also, if you know of, or are considering starting a support, standby or other cryonics-related group in your area, please send details to

AUSTRALIA: The Cryonics Association of Australasia offers support for Australians, or residents of other nearby countries seeking information about cryonics. Their Public Relations Officer is Philip Rhoades. GPO Box 3411, Sydney, NSW 2001 Australia. Phone: +6128001 6204 (office) or +61 2 99226979 (home.)

BELGIUM: Cryonics Belgium is an organisation that exists to inform interested parties and, if desired, can assist with handling the paperwork for a cryonic suspension. The website can be found at To get in touch, please send an email to

BHUTAN: Can help Cryonics Institute Members who need help for the transport & hospital explanation about the cryonics procedure to the Dr and authorities in Thimphou & Paro. Contacts : Jamyang Palden & Tenzin Rabgay / Emails : or Phones : Jamyang / 975-2-32-66-50 & Tenzin / 975-2-77-21-01-87

CANADA: This is a very active group that participated in Toronto’s first cryopreservation. President, Christine Gaspar; Vice President, Gary Tripp. Visit them at: There is a subgroup called the Toronto Local Group. Meeting dates and other conversations are held via the Yahoo group. This is a closed group. To join write:

QUEBEC: Contact: Stephan Beauregard, C.I. Director & Official Administrator of the Cryonics Institute Facebook Page.

Information about Cryonics & perfusion services in Montreal for all cryonicicts. Services available in French & English:

FINLAND: The Finnish Cryonics Society, (KRYOFIN) is a new organization that will be working closely with KrioRus. They would like to hear from fellow cryonicists. Contact them at: Their President is Antti Peltonen.

FRANCE: SOCIETE CRYONICS DE FRANCE is a non profit French organization working closely with European cryonics groups. For more information: J.Roland Missionnier: phone: 33 (0) 6 64 90 98 41 or email:

TOULOUSE AREA: Can help Cryonics Institute Members who need help for the transport & hospital explanation about the cryonics procedure to the Dr and authority in Toulouse Area. Contact : Gregory Gossellin de Bénicourt / Email : Phone :

GERMANY: There are a number of Cryonicists in Germany. Their Organization is called "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Angewandte Biostase e.V.", or short "DGAB". More information on their homepage at  If there are further questions, contact their Board at

INDIA: Can help Cryonics Institute Members who need help for the transport & hospital explication about the cryonics procedure to the Dr and authority in Bangalore & Vellore Area. Contacts : Br Sankeerth & Bioster Vignesh / Email : Phones : Bioster / 918148049058 & Br Sankeerth / 917795115939

ITALY: The Italian Cryonics Group (inside the Life Extension Research Group (LIFEXT Research Group)) and relative forum: The founder is Bruno Lenzi, contact him at or Giovanni Ranzo at:

JAPAN: Hikaru Midorikawa is President Japan Cryonics Association. Formed in 1998, our goals are to disseminate cryonics information in Japan, to provide cryonics services in Japan, and eventually, to allow cryonics to take root in the Japanese society. Contact or

NEPAL: Can help Cryonics Institute Members who need help for the transport & hospital explanation about the cryonics procedure to the Dr and authorities in Kathmandu. Contact : Suresh K. Shrestha / Email : Phone : 977-985-1071364 / PO Box 14480 Kathmandu.

NETHERLANDS: The Dutch Cryonics Organization is the local standby group and welcomes new enthusiasts. Contact Secretary Japie Hoekstra at +31(0)653213893 or email:

* Can help Cryonics Institute Members who need help, funeral home, transport & hospital explication about the cryonics procedure to the Dr and authority at Amsterdam with branches in other cities. Contact : Koos Van Daalen / Phone (24 Hours) +31-20-646-0606 or +31-70-345-4810

NORWAY : Can help Cryonics Institute Members who need help for the transport & hospital explication about the cryonics procedure to the Dr, funeral home and authority at Sandvika. Contacts : Gunnar Hammersmark Sandvika Begegravelsesbyraa / Phones : 011-47-2279-7736

RUSSIA: KrioRus is a Russian cryonics organization operating in Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe that exists to help arrange cryopreservation and longterm suspension locally, or with CI or Alcor. Please contact or for additional information or visit http://www.kriorus,ru. Phone: 79057680457

SPAIN: The Spanish cryonics group in Sociedad Crionica The president is Dr. Lluis Estrada. This is a large group of people, and those interested in cryonics are welcome to contact them at


CRYOSUISSE  The Swiss Society for Cryonics. To join, email

UNITED KINGDOM: Cryonics UK is a nonprofit UK based standby group. Cryonics UK can be contacted via the following people: Tim Gibson: phone: 07905 371495, email: Victoria Stevens: phone: 01287 669201, email: Graham Hipkiss: phone: 0115 8492179 / 07752 251 564, email: Alan Sinclair: phone: 01273 587 660 / 07719 820715, email:

Can help Cryonics Institute Members who need help, funeral home, transport at London. Contact : F.A. Albin & Sons / Arthur Stanley House Phone : 020-7237-3637

INTERNATIONAL: The Cryonics Society is a global cryonics advocacy organization. Website is They publish an e-newsletter FutureNews. Phone: 1-585-643-1167.

First human embryo editing experiment in U.S. ‘corrects’ gene for heart condition

Scientists have successfully edited the DNA of human embryos to erase a heritable heart condition that is known for causing sudden death in young competitive athletes, cracking open the doors to a controversial new era in medicine.

This is the first time gene editing on human embryos has been conducted in the United States. Researchers said in interviews this week that they consider their work very basic. The embryos were allowed to grow for only a few days, and there was never any intention to implant them to create a pregnancy. But they also acknowledged that they will continue to move forward with the science, with the ultimate goal of being able to “correct” disease-causing genes in embryos that will develop into babies.

Read the full story at the
A living programmable biocomputing device based on RNA

Can sense and analyze multiple complex signals in living cells for future synthetic diagnostics and therapeutics

Long-term preservation methods like vitrification cool biological samples to an ice-free glassy state, using very low temperatures between -160 and -196 degrees Celsius, but tissues larger than 1 milliliter (0.03 fluid ounce) often suffer major damage during the rewarming process, making them unusable for tissues.Synthetic biologists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and associates have developed a living programmable “ribocomputing” device based on networks of precisely designed, self-assembling synthetic RNAs (ribonucleic acid). The RNAs can sense multiple biosignals and make logical decisions to control protein production with high precision.

As reported in Nature, the synthetic biological circuits could be used to produce drugs, fine chemicals, and biofuels or detect disease-causing agents and release therapeutic molecules inside the body. The low-cost diagnostic technologies may even lead to nanomachines capable of hunting down cancer cells or switching off aberrant genes.

Read the full story at
Programmable shape-shifting molecular robots respond to DNA signals Neural stem cells steered by electric fields can repair brain damage

Electric fields can be used to guide transplanted human neural stem cells — cells that can develop into various brain tissues — to repair brain damage in specific areas of the brain, scientists at the University of California, Davis have discovered.

It’s well known that electric fields can locally guide wound healing. Damaged tissues generate weak electric fields, and research by UC Davis Professor Min Zhao at the School of Medicine’s Institute for Regenerative Cures has previously shown how these electric fields can attract cells into wounds to heal them.

Read the full story at
Drinking coffee associated with lower risk of death from all causes, study finds

People who drink around three cups of coffee a day may live longer than non-coffee drinkers, a landmark study has found.

The findings — published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine — come from the largest study of its kind, in which scientists analyzed data from more than half a million people across 10 European countries to explore the effect of coffee consumption on risk of mortality.

Read the full story at
‘Mind reading’ technology identifies complex thoughts, using machine learning and fMRId

CMU aims to map all types of knowledge in the brain

By combining machine-learning algorithms with fMRI brain imaging technology, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) scientists have discovered, in essense, how to “read minds.”

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to view how the brain encodes various thoughts (based on blood-flow patterns in the brain). They discovered that the mind’s building blocks for constructing complex thoughts are formed, not by words, but by specific combinations of the brain’s various sub-systems.

Read the full story at
Scientists Prove That Cryogenically Frozen Life Can Be Reanimated

Zebrafish can do it. Are humans next?

To survive the 90-year-long journey between Earth and the far-off planet Homestead II, humans on the ship in the 2016 sci-fi bomb Passengers were cryogenically frozen, suspending them in the throes of youth. The assumption is that thawing will bring their bodies and minds back to their normal, living states, and then life will resume where it left off. It’s wishful thinking: While scientists have figured out how to thaw and unthaw individual cells, whether it’s possible to reanimate life has remained a mystery.

But a new discovery puts them well on their way to finding out.

Read the full story at

Member Readiness Checklist

You’ve signed up for cryonics - what are the next steps?

Welcome Aboard! You have taken the first critical step in preparing for the future and possibly ensuring your own survival. Now what should you do? People often ask “What can I do to make sure I have an optimal suspension?” Here’s a checklist of important steps to consider.

Become a fully funded member through life insurance or easy pre-payments

Some members use term life and invest or pay off the difference at regular intervals. Some use whole life or just prepay the costs outright. You have to decide what is best for you, but it is best to act sooner rather then later as insurance prices tend to rise as you get older and some people become uninsurable because of unforeseen health issues. You may even consider making CI the owner of your life insurance policy.

Keep CI informed on a regular basis about your health status or address changes. Make sure your CI paperwork and funding are always up to date. CI cannot help you if we do not know you need help.

Keep your family and friends up to date on your wishes to be cryopreserved. Being reclusive about cryonics can be costly and cause catastrophic results.

Keep your doctor, lawyer, and funeral director up to date on your wishes to be cryopreserved. The right approach to the right professionals can be an asset.

Prepare and execute a Living Will and Power of Attorney for Health Care that reflects your cryonics-related wishes. Make sure that CI is updated at regular intervals as well.

Consider joining or forming a local standby group to support your cryonics wishes. This may be one of the most important decisions you can make after you are fully funded. As they say-”Failing to plan is planning to fail”.

Always wear your cryonics bracelet or necklace identifying your wishes should you become incapacitated. Keep a wallet card as well. If you aren’t around people who support your wishes and you can’t speak for yourself a medical bracelet can help save you.

Get involved! If you can, donate time and money. Cryonics is not a turnkey operation. Pay attention and look for further tips and advice to make both your personal arrangements and cryonics as a whole a success.

Keep up to date! Read CI Magazine and follow the simple “STANDBY WORKBOOK” exercise in each issue.

Membership Benefits

Why join the Cryonics Institute?

Welcome Aboard! You have taken the first critical step in preparing for the future and possibly ensuring your own survival. Now what should you do? People often ask “What can I do to make sure I have an optimal suspension?” Here’s a checklist of important steps to consider.

  1. Cryonic Preservation
  2. Membership qualifies you to arrange and fund a vitrification (anti-crystallization) perfusion and cooling upon legal death, followed by long-term storage in liquid nitrogen. Instead of certain death, you and your loved ones could have a chance at rejuvenated, healthy physical revival.

  3. Affordable Cryopreservation
  4. The Cryonics Institute (CI) offers full-body cryopreservation for as little as $28,000.

  5. Affordable Membership
  6. Become a Lifetime Member for a one-time payment of only $1,250, with no dues to pay. Or join as a Yearly Member with a $75 inititation fee and dues of just $120 per year, payable by check, credit card or PayPal.

  7. Lower Prices for Spouses and Children
  8. The cost of a Lifetime Membership for a spouse of a Lifetime Member is half-price and minor children of a Lifetime Member receive membership free of charge.

  9. Quality of Treatment
  10. CI employed a Ph.D level cryobiologist to develop CI-VM-1, CI’s vitrification mixture which can help prevent crystalline formation at cryogenic temperatures.

  11. Locally-Trained Funeral Directors
  12. CI’s use of Locally-Trained Funeral Directors means that our members can get knowledgeable, licensed care. Or members can arrange for professional cryonics standby and transport by subcontracting with Suspended Animation, Inc.

  13. Funding Programs
  14. Cryopreservation with CI can be funded through life insurance policies issued in the USA or other countries. Prepayment and other options for funding are also available to CI members.

  15. Cutting-Edge Cryonics Information
  16. Members have access to both the Cryonics Institute Newsletter and Long Life Magazine online, as well as our Facebook page, member forums and more.

  17. Additional Preservation Services
  18. CI offers a sampling kit, shipping and long-term liquid nitrogen storage of tissues and DNA from members, their families or pets for just $98.

  19. Support Education and Research
  20. Membership fees help CI to fund important cryonics research and public outreach, education and information programs to advance the science of cryonics.

  21. Member Ownership and Control
  22. CI Members are the ultimate authority in the organization and own all CI assets. They elect the Board of Directors, from whom are chosen our officers. CI members also can change the Bylaws of the organization (except for corporate purposes).

    The choice is clear: Irreversible physical death, dissolution and decay, or the possibility of a vibrant and joyful renewed life. Don’t you want that chance for yourself, your spouse, parents and children?

CI is the world’s leading non-profit cryonics organization, bringing state-of-the-art cryonic suspensions to the public at the most affordable price. CI was founded in 1976 by the “father of cryonics,” Robert C.W. Ettinger as a means to preserve life at liquid nitrogen temperatures. As the future unveils newer and more sophisticated medical nanotechnology, it is our hope that the people preserved by CI may be restored to youth and health.


Serializing Essential Works on Cryonics

Robert C.W. Ettinger's "Man Into Superman" - Chapter 10


Copouts and Dropouts: The Threat of Immortality

Because of lack of interest, tomorrow has been cancelled.


What fools these mortals be!


Today Shakespeare might have Puck say, “What fools they be, who choose mortality!” This foolishness remains nearly universal; almost everyone rejects his chance of extended life, as well as his chance to become superhuman, for reasons we shall now discuss further, with some naming of names.

Certainly I am not pessimistic about the success of the cryonics revolution. Human stupidity is formidable, but not invincible, and sooner or later most of us will set our sights on immortality and transhumanity. Patients who have “died” will be routinely stored in coolers or freezers to await help. Only a few would-be martyrs will insist on their right to rot. The nastiest four-letter words in the language will be “melt” and “thaw”, and the vilest epithet will be “mother- melter”.

The trouble is “sooner or later” may not be soon enough for many of us, and despite a great deal of activity of many kinds, the actual score in frozen patients is far from impressive. In 1971, seven years after publication of The Prospect of Immortality, the score in the United States seems to be roughly: Grave, 14,000,000--Freezer, 14.

Most peculiar! Somebody must be crazy. Even if the idea were pure crackpot, it should have had more success than that. People can be found to try yoga, vegetarianism, astrology, naturopathy, or almost anything else that promises more or better life. To be sure, the proponents of LTA--low temperature anabiosis or latent life, a term suggested by Professor G. J. Gruman--do not promise anything, but only point out that a real chance exists, and this may be part of the trouble: we are not rabid enough. Even so, there is in one sense nothing to lose by freezing after death--at worst, you will merely remain dead--and it might be thought that many a rich man, at least, would bet part of his estate on a chance at a long and fascinating future life. In fact, there were alarmed predictions that the project would instigate countless swindles, with hysterical millionaires showering money on freezer salesmen and with sick people changing their wills in favor of anyone who held out any hope, however slim, of cheating death. “Die now, pay later” was seen as a potent lure for the suckers.

Please Kick the Tires

Nothing even remotely like this has happened, for a variety of reasons, almost all of them psychological rather than logical. In one large class of resisters, the diagnosis is plain: they are rigid because they are frigid; their minds are frozen by fear. They are, sometimes literally, scared to death. What is it they fear?

In a sense, they fear the prize itself: immortality, or indefinitely extended life, and its concomitant, the outgrowing of our humanity. They see this not as an opportunity, but as a threat. The threat is mainly to their peace of mind, and this can seem fearsome indeed.

Ordinary people are often frankly petrified by the prospect of the great journey: they won’t buy our vehicle, or even kick the tires, but simply announce after profound thought lasting in some cases for as much as a minute and a half, that they intend to go when their “time comes.”

To such, one is tempted to give a snotty answer. Goodbye. So drop dead already. We’ll try to get along without you. You have a right to rot. You’ll soon be rotten and forgotten. Good; that will leave more room for the rest of us. We’ll give your regards to Broadway. It’s a free country. Suit yourself. Who needs you?

But of course these aren’t real answers, only expressions of irritation. We certainly have a moral duty to try to persuade these people: for being a little slow, the death penalty is somewhat severe. More than that, we do need them. If the cryonics program is to be efficient--if the cost is to be within the reach of all, and if help is to be quickly avail- able at every place and time--then it must be a large scale project. We do not need everybody, or even a majority, but we do need substantial numbers.

The illogic and shabby psychological defense mechanisms so often observed in the man in the street are displayed a trifle less blatantly by the intelligentsia, who frequently outsmart themselves in rather slick and plausible-sounding ways. It will be worth our while to mention a few by name, and I hope they will forgive me for being used as horrible examples. Their usefulness lies in the very fact that they are brilliant men--if they can err so grossly, then the average man need not be ashamed of his own obtuseness and can change his mind without humiliation. Let us begin with the least extreme example.

Alan Harrington

Writer Alan Harrington is not one of life’s dropouts, not one of the apologists of death; on the contrary, his book, The Immortalist, is built on the theme that “Death is an imposition on the human race, and no longer acceptable .” (69) Yet after this brave beginning, after many flourishes and gallant aphorisms, he emerges a copout; he appears to be not an immortalist, but only a talkative dilettante.

Incredible! Consider, first, how deftly he dissects the old myths, how shrewdly he pulls the scabs off our psychoses: The disguised message in the Tower of Babel story is that if we get together and talk in one language we can erect a structure that will reach heaven-in other words, become gods ourselves and attain immortality.... We created the Devil to express our most radical and dangerous intent. Through history he has been the host, the standard-bearer of man’s aspiration to become immortal and divine.... (The) habit of doubt creates habitual reservations about entering fully into any emotional life that might be possible--because in the end there is death. And unfortunately a negative reflex comes into being; that the only way to hold off death is to refuse to jump into the life that leads to it. If you don’t buy death you may refuse to buy life.... Purchasing eternal life has become increasingly common in our supposedly enlightened time. This is done, for example, by starting a foundation and giving it your name. ... All mass-action, for good or ill, gives members of the crowd an illusion of being immortal and vaguely god-like.... The devout Chinese Communist. running around and waving his little red book of Mao’s aphorisms, may appear psychotic to me. Yet he is less conscious of death than I am, closer to ‘the All’, much farther from death and less afraid of it, safer, and secure from cosmic anxiety.... To be sure, his arguments are often weak and loose. Surely he goes far beyond the evidence when be asserts that the “’problem of alienation’ . . . derives from a single cause: the fear of aging and death . . . feelings of isolation; aggressive behavior toward one another; massive paranoia, and the common inability to believe, commit, or care--derives, going back to the beginning, from a single cause . . the fear of aging and death.”

Again, his phrasing of the goal seems ill chosen--to become “divine,” “deities,” “gods.” This phrasing brings unpleasant and inaccurate connotations, such as a desire for worshippers and a static utopia. This last, especially, is astonishingly shallow and short-sighted.

Harrington visualizes a “utopia beyond time,” an “immortalist state” in which we--or our descendants--will be periodically roused from sleep or hibernation to “pursue lost dreams and careers, becoming doctor, space explorer, artist, athlete, scientist--fleshing out in free play all of the myths that have ever occurred to mankind. . . .”

What a dwarfed and puny vision! Essentially, Harrington seems to see a future not much different from the present, except bigger and better--eternal variations on the same old themes. This is not only unrealistic but uninspiring, playing into the hands of the thoughtless who say they wouldn’t want “another time around.”

The worst, however, is that finally Harrington’s nerve fails him. He acknowledges, “The frozen casket does hold out a faint promise, and currently the only promise of survival.” But his ultimate conclusion is that “. . . members of the transitional generations will almost surely not live to experience the immortal state (but) ... through our efforts we honor the human species by helping to turn it into the divine species. We may fairly consider ourselves the heroes and heroines of the evolutionary process. . . .”

What a splendid conclusion! Our descendants will conquer aging: this is news? We will find solace in the nobility of martyrdom: this is different? It is nothing more than the same old humanist copout, the same sick delusions that Harrington himself has gone to so much trouble to debunk. What it amounts to, then, is that Harrington is just another “futurist,” someone who enjoys mental games, talking about the future with no intention of participating. He shares, in the end, the common paralysis of will.

Or so it would appear from reading The Immortalist. In mid-1970 the grapevine had it that Harrington had become actively involved at least on the fringes of cryonics. Perhaps he will turn out to be an immortalist after all.

Joshua Lederberg

If the universe has no malice, neither has it mercy; it accepts no excuses, and a miss is as good as a mile. The rarest genius has but to take one misstep in New York City traffic, and the universe will judge him incompetent and sentence him to death.

Joshua Lederberg, a Nobel prize winner, is a professor of biology at California Institute of Technology. Despite his acknowledged genius, Professor Lederberg appears a little too confused to survive.

Pondering the puzzle of identity, of the nature of soul or self, he has written,’ “The whole issue of self-identification needs scientific reexamination before we apply infinite effort to preserve a material body, many of whose molecules are transient anyhow.” (99) Someone who loves him should take him gently by the hand and tell him, 

“Dear Joshua, it is not a question of ‘infinite effort,’ which is impossible in any case and was doubtless just an unscientific slip of your scientific tongue, but of moderate effort; and your poor material body, of which I am quite fond, transient molecules and all, is almost certain to break down long before you solve the profound and subtle riddle of identity, thus assuring that you never will know the answer, and leaving me desolate besides. There is always time to choose death, but you have very little time to choose life. Please choose life, while you still can; then we shall see.”

Such men as Professor Lederberg may not be manifestly frightened of the future, not obviously intimidated by the magnitude of the immediate personal challenge; what I would ungenerously describe as paralysis would be seen by many as an understandable dubiety, a prudent hesitation, indeed a virtuous sense of cautious responsibility. But it all comes to the same thing, in the end, and his end will soon come.

Furthermore, one begins to understand a little more the actual reasons for opposition, in listening to those who feel they must do more than shake their heads and mumble, who feel obliged to offer “positive” reasons for negativism.

Isaac Asimov

Dr. Isaac Asimov is a very well-known writer of popular science and science fiction, formerly a biochemist at Boston University, a man of prodigious knowledge and towering IQ, who has spoken and written about the cryonics program several times. In a magazine article early in 1967 he allowed as how: (1) no one would want to live more than five cen- turies at most because by then he would be bored to death; (2) greatly extended life (through freezing or other means) would petrify society because it would perpetuate in positions of influence a bunch of old dogs who can’t learn new tricks and who have already contributed whatever their potential included; and (3) even our species must die eventually, but that’s all right if the evolutionary process is allowed to produce a new and better species first. “Surely, if the species must die, let it die while leaving behind a greater species that can take up more effectively the eternal struggle with darkness, and stride to the kind of victories we can’t even imagine. Properly viewed, such a death is no death at all, but another step toward the only worthwhile immortality--that of life and intelligence in the abstract.”

How wonderful! “Properly viewed,” says be, death is not death. This man apparently would die happy--almost any time, one supposes--if only he could be assured that, a billion years from now on a planet of Antares, a race of giant spiders would discover a way to spin more beautiful webs. Can he really mean it?

And consider the blandness of the implication that, since we would grow bored within five centuries anyhow, we may as well die now, or at the end of our “natural” term, especially since we are only barnacles on the ship of state. By my arithmetic, five centuries is considerably more than 75-odd years, even if I agreed that life would be boring beyond 500 years; in fact, the difference is 425 years, and I say, vive la difference. Can Asimov be so weak in computation?

Furthermore, the very notion of boredom within a few centuries is absurd, even for a human, let alone a superman, given health, wealth and opportunity. There are endless avenues of exploration and achievement, even in a world like the present. Normal curiosity and appreciation could scarcely be exhausted in a mere 500 years.

Finally, and most puzzling, he has implicitly taken a stand of the most rigid conservatism on the question of individual improbability. If we, in our adult persons, can by various techniques be changed and improved in the course of time to become not just immortal, but immortal supermen, then obviously the questions of boredom and mental stagnation do not arise; and there are many indications that this improvement will be possible. It is true that nothing is guaranteed, and the senile rigidity problem may indeed be a tough nut, conceivably harder to crack than that of physical immortality. (On the other hand, despite popular notions, it is far from clear that old age, even Dow, necessarily causes a decline in adaptability and creativity) But this is just another problem in our bulging bag; we may solve it, or we may not--but why give up in advance? Why surrender before we are beaten? Why sacrifice our lives, and those in our families, just because one or another problem may prove insurmountable?

Since all these weaknesses in Dr. Asimov’s arguments must be obvious to a mind as sharp as his, I conclude that his real reasons for opposition are not the ones be adduces. What some of these real reasons may be, we can begin to guess by considering one of the more extreme reactions to the cryonics proposal.

Russell Kirk

Russell Kirk is an educator, writer and well-known commentator on a wide variety of subjects. That be is politically and religiously conservative is not the point; plenty of right-wingers are friendly to cryonics, and many left-wingers icy. But the vehemence of his reaction exposes rather plainly the nature of the threat many people feel, and the workings of their defense mechanisms.

In a syndicated article, “The Iceman Cometh,” he attempted to dissect the mentality of the “Shakespeare-hater” and roast the abominable iceman. (94) To prove the insanity of cryonic interment he quotes a minor passage from The Prospect of Immortality: “I am convinced that in a few hundred years the works of Shakespeare, for example, will interest us no more than the grunting of swine in a wallow. (Shakespeare scholars, along with censors, snuff grinders and wig makers will have to find new, perhaps unimaginable occupations.) Not only will his work be far too weak in intellect and written in too vague and puny a language, but the problems which concerned him will be, in the main, no more than historical curiosities. Neither greed, nor lust, nor ambition will in that society have any recognizable similarity to the qualities we know. With the virtually unlimited resources of that era, all ordinary wants will be readily satisfied, either by supplying them or removing them in the mind of the individual . . . competitive drives, in the interpersonal sense, may or may not persist; but if they do, it will be in radically modified form.”

Kirk then comments: “What a charming prospect! Thawed out after some years or centuries of cryogenic interment, we shall be as gods, for Science will have remedied all ills . . . thinking machines will perform all the work ... motherhood will have been abolished--good riddance to bad rubbish--by ectogenesis.... And how very happy and very different we defrosted survivors from quasi-Shakespearean savagery will be! . . . Mr. Ettinger, in fine, smilingly advocates what C. S. Lewis called ‘the abolition of man.’ . . . How very tidy would be the future world of cryogenic interment and resurrection! How very untidy, how nastily human Shakespeare is! Blow, 0 blow, ye winter winds: freezing’s the way to dehumanized Elysium.”

We need not belabor the non sequitur aspects of Kirk’s arguments, e.g., that I am a “Shakespeare hater” merely be- cause I predict that man, if he survives, will become superman and naturally outgrow all current literature; or the hilarious notion that my predictions about the future should affect Kirk’s decision on attempting to extend his life. Of more concern is the psychopathology which cherishes the “untidy” and the “nastily human,” which wants to perpetuate weakness, vice, suffering, and stupidity because without them we would be “dehumanized.”

There is nothing especially mysterious about it, of course: essentially, Mr. Kirk is already frozen--frozen in his convictions, frozen in his world-view--and being frozen is brittle and vulnerable. While I have not actually attacked Mother, God, or The Flag, I have made it plain enough that I do not hold them sacrosanct, but regard them (like everything else) as subject to continuous reappraisal and improvement; this raises the hackles of ice-cubical people as a conditioned response.

Hard as their heads may be, I feel some hope that, if we belt them repeatedly with the crude club of logic, perhaps we can pound in some sense. Why, for example, should anyone object that “motherhood will have been abolished” in the sense that gestation will be in an artificial womb? To “carry” and bear a child is uncomfortable and inconvenient, and also (for some people) a bit nasty; and it is scarcely conceivable that mother-love should hinge on it, since father-love does not. (Not so long ago, self-appointed defenders of traditional “humanity” complained bitterly about the wrongness of using anaesthesia in childbirth.) In any case, if I am wrong on this small point--or if my view is the wrong one for some individuals--then I will stand corrected; but I will be corrected by relevant information, and not by some vague feeling of loyalty to an outworn tradition.

The Nervous Nellies also feel that God is threatened, or that their own notion of God is threatened. Indefinite life seems to dim the luster of Heaven and pale the fires of Hell; the audacity of the would-be superman seems to say to the ice-cubes, with insupportable condescension, “Your Kingdom of God was indeed a noble vision of Utopia--but we intend to seek beyond Utopia.”

The Gulfs of Fear

And here again we really have it; once more we name it, the chill blast that penetrates to bone: it is agoraphobia. This is what the little people are afraid of--the vast black spaces, the mysterious open reaches, the vertiginous depths.

Hardly anyone has tried to look into these spaces, these reaches, these depths. Almost all our prophets, in this the dim dawn of the race, have been concerned with beating back the jungle to protect the garden, not with building the city. Virtually every visualized Utopia has been a mere negation of vice and not an affirmation of aspiration in any positive sense. But when sickness and sin are cast out, when everyone is filled with loving-kindness, when men walk in universal affluent brotherhood--what then?

Then comes our real task, the continuing exploration, exploitation and transformation of the internal and external universe. The achievement of a planetary Great Society is only getting the vessel ship-shape and seaworthy; the voyage is yet to come. And small wonder it is that many shrink and shudder before the prospect of this voyage, over seas not only uncharted and certainly dangerous but possibly endless. This is what is so frightening--the casting loose, the abandonment of moorings.

Most of us by early maturity have wrestled with angels and devils--if I may change the metaphor again--and finally established some kind of shaky truce; the horrors, dangers and mysteries of the universe have been shudderingly faced, and a creaky modus vivendi developed, a tolerable world-view constructed. This world-view, however grotesque and rickety, may be the individual’s most precious possession, and he may strike like a snake or run like a rabbit if it is threatened. It is a sad syndrome, easily understandable in retrospect, even if not fully appreciated in ad- vance. The demolition of one’s world-view can entail many terrible things. At the least, it may mean a wrenchingly difficult readjustment, an “agonizing reappraisal;” but it is not only a matter of effort and inconvenience. Other kinds of menace are also involved.

One of these is the stab of “betrayal.” The proverbial woman scorned” is hellishly furious because her offering was belittled and her trust misplaced; naked and tender she proffered herself, only to be left cold, bewildered, and alone. Being ignominiously dumped seems to prove, she thinks, either that she is worthless or that her former love object is villainous--a pitiful dilemma. In a somewhat similar way, one may feel betrayed and besmirched if his painfully established convictions and commitments are called in question. if you attack a man’s most cherished beliefs, you are attacking him, and he may have no effective recourse other than a blind frenzy of counter-attack or a sullen withdrawal.

A slightly different aspect of the threat is the potential loss of status, the diminution of the values that may have informed one’s life and of the achievements on which one would like to rest. Who wants to be told, at a comfortable and respected age, that he must get out of his armchair and take up a new and perhaps endless apprenticeship, that his accomplishments are not substantial and finished but trifling and preliminary? How can a Successful Businessman or an Eminent Statesman admit that be is only beginning life and has yet to find and prove himself? How can a dedicated partisan acknowledge that Racial justice, or the Crusade Against Godless Communism, or the Revolution Against Predatory Capitalism, is only a minor episode in the Long View? If you dare tell a man that his crusade is little, this seems to imply that he is less than little, he is nothing. How does a man face the fact that he has given his heart and soul to a side issue? Imaging trying to interest Herbert Marcuse or George Wallace in the cryonics program!

Related to these problems is the threat the prospect of immortality brings to one’s ideas of his own “usefulness.” Many people have such deep feelings of insecurity, worthlessness, and timidity that they cringe from any idea that they may be other than ants in a hill, good little helpers in some Great Design. They feel safe only as toilers in the vineyard, working pluckily and loyally for Humanity or Posterity or The State or some other absurd or distorted phantasm.

And this prepares us to state, more clearly and explicitly, the character of the principal threat, the reason we fear the gulfs. It is this: the prospect of becoming an immortal superman deprecates every work, ideology, and manner of life as uncertain, unfinished and unsatisfactory, and hence imposes the nearly intolerable burden of total responsibility. Decision-making is the hardest and most nerve-wracking kind of work, and most of us will do almost anything to avoid its necessity. Many of us settle the large questions, and “solve” the problem of personal survival and meaning, by self-abnegation, by the tacit admission that institutions and ideas are more important then self. While this admission forfeits much--even life itself--it also gains much, viz., the calm of surrender, the luxury of rest, the relief from responsibility and the delusion of virtue. A creed or a cause bestows the comfort that one’s actions are of limited importance: the individual may fail, but he will have done his bit and others will carry on and the cause will triumph; to put forth the last ounce of personal effort is heroic but unnecessary.

Every potential immortal, on the other hand, must take Harry Truman’s famous reminder for his own: the buck stops here.

Reactions and Crises

The reactionaries, in their muddled thinking, cherish a delusion as dangerous as it is pathetic, viz., that somehow by rejecting biological improvement and extended life for themselves, by choosing humanity and mortality for their families, they can stay the tide of history and assure the perpetuation of their quaint and squalid little world. The danger lies in their reaction when it gradually dawns on them that they are only consigning themselves to oblivion in what is a quite needless and thankless sacrifice, that their descendants will neither emulate nor admire them. What will be their dismay, what their fury, when they perceive that they have cast themselves on the rubbish-heap of history, that they will soon be one with Australopithecus!

In particular, a major crisis of history may occur when it becomes unmistakably clear that Homo Superior is being born, and perhaps officiating at his own delivery. Any or all of four events will signal this condition: (1) fully perfected freezing and thawing methods will make revival of the dead a virtual certainty and not just a debatable possibility; (2) new medicines or techniques will greatly extend the maximum life span; (3) genetic engineering will allow great improvement of succeeding generations; (4) new medicines or techniques will permit substantial improvement of normal, living, mature individuals.

Quite possibly these events will be so well heralded that they will be almost anticlimactic, with nearly everyone prepared and eager; this, of course, is my hope and a reason for my writing. But one or more of them could just possibly occur suddenly and very soon, perhaps provoking an hysteria of reaction among the lovers of the “nastily human,” a frenzied effort by the agoraphobes to drag us all back into the cave to avoid the view of the vaulting sky, a murderous and suicidal spasm of hate and terror.

The fearful man will be faced with a bewildering and maddening prospect: his mythos a dead letter, his creed a curiosity, his God a superstition, his institutions relics, his community a backwater, his ideas irrelevant, his power evaporated, his influence attenuated, his presence only tolerated, his person shamefully debilitated. With what insane despair might not such a one lash out!

The depth and pity of his predicament may perhaps be seen a bit more clearly by analogy with a case once presented to one of the newspaper agony columns--Dear Abby or Ann Landers. A woman wrote about her problem with her husband, who wanted normal married love while she--although, she said, she loved her husband in other ways--regarded sexual intimacy as disgusting and degrading. Her question was only how to persuade her husband to demand less; she did not want to change herself. Given the premise, this was logical; could one of us, if assured that homo- sexuality, say, or drug addiction was pleasurable, want to become a homosexual or addict? It is impossible to demand of someone that he deliberately alter emotional attitudes that are close to the core of his personality.

At least, it is impossible if the demand is direct and sudden; but if the approach is subtle and gradual, something can be done. There is nothing subtle about my approach, but its gradualness has been excessive, and unless things are speeded up the signal of emergent superman may trigger a paroxysm of destruction.

What form this destruction might take is hard to say. It might be simply an explosion of the smoldering East-West controversy--because of plans in the East to breed or build super-soldiers; or just because totalitarian regimes could not afford to allow their people immortality. Or it might be multiple civil wars between New and Old. Or, without much bloodshed, it might be a ruthless clamping down on all progress, resulting in a universal frozen totalitarianism approaching those of the social insects.

The foregoing picture, of course, has been painted in deliberately dark shades of gray; the outlook is not quite that bad. The freezer program has begun and is progressing (see Chapter 11 for a report of the current situation). The survival instinct, while in most practical situations less potent a motivation than social pressure or simple laziness, does yet exert some influence. Familial love, while weak and scarce enough to justify cynicism, can still betimes provide a mighty driving force. And the cryogenic and biological revolution, terrible threat to some though it be, will probably take place so gradually and so well within the framework of existing laws and institutions that effective opposition will be impossible.

Nevertheless, there exists the possibility of public crisis, and the certainty of private crisis. In planning to meet these crises, it is already late.



Cryonics and the New Meliorism