ISSUE 04 |  2016

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CI President Dennis Kowalski

Hello All,

I hope everyone had a happy holiday season and that we can all look forward to a prosperous and successful 2017.

Recapping 2016, I can’t help but notice that our membership growth has exceeded expectations and continues to grow at a record pace. I certainly want this upward trend to continue and look forward to working hard to insure that it does in 2017 and beyond.

CI’s 2016 AGM was another successful and well-attended event. It was a real pleasure seeing many old friends and meeting new ones this year. However, the meetings seem to be growing larger every year while the space at CI grows smaller as we add more cryostats.  With that in mind, we’ve made the decision to host the 2017 AGM offsite at the ConCorde Inn Hotel and Conference Center rather than at the facility. For complete details, please see the 2017 AGM article in this issue of CI Magazine.

As you know, we elect our annual rotating slate of Directors at the AGM. Congratulations to all the sitting directors who were re-elected as well as our newest Director, Kevin Doyle (Canada.) Welcome aboard Kevin! For those who are interested in the specifics, the vote totals were as follows: Debbie Fleming - 105 votes, Marta Sandberg - 104 votes, Kevin Doyle - 103 votes, Alan Mole - 63 votes, Phillipe Vitu - 56 votes and John Strickland - 55 votes.

Thanks go out to all our candidates and a special note of thanks and appreciation to outgoing Director John Strickland for his service to CI and to the Board. Thanks also to Phillipe Vitu for putting his hat in the ring and running for the Board. To the elected Directors, I’m  looking forward to working with all of you to keep CI moving forward with our many initiatives.

One of those initiatives has been improvements to our facility. I’m proud to announce that we have completed a major milestone with the completed renovations of  our facility’s front office area, file room and the Boardroom / Tribute Room. The building is looking great and we only have minor upgrades planned for next year. So far the feedback has been very positive regarding the new and improved image. This was especially important in relation to the “media blitz” we experienced recently. Folks who have watched the coverage probably noticed there were a number of reporters on-site for interviews, so I am very happy that our facility was looking top-notch for the cameras and the public at large.

The media attention I mentioned was inspired by the admission of a young 14-yr old girl from England. This particular case caused quite a stir, with renewed interest in cryonics driving media personalities to all the major cryonics organizations for questions and interviews. At first, CI was reluctant to even disclose the admission of the girl at our facility out of respect for family privacy. However, after proper clearance, we were allowed to talk about the fact that the girl was, in fact, a CI patient, but still released very little in terms of personal details about the patient. We recognize how important it is to protect our members’  privacy and to respect their wishes, therefore we are always very careful to keep confidential information secure, whether talking to the media or the general public. Thanks to the efforts of Cryonics UK and others the girl received an excellent suspension. This case was also a landmark event, protecting the wishes of people to be cryopreserved in the face of attempted legal opposition to those efforts and those who would attempt to deny us our essential rights to have our last wishes respected and followed.

We have a winner in our scale model CI Cryostat contest from last issue. This model will be used as an illustrative display for CI visitors and can also be used at trade shows or conventions to help show how our patients are stored in cryonic suspension and some of the features of our cryostat construction.  This will be a useful learning tool for the annual science-related field trip we host for high school biology classes looking to understand our world and the scientific method. Cryonics provides the perfect illustration for seeing what is possible by asking questions and running the ultimate clinical trial.

In closing, I’ve taken note of  some exciting stories in the news regarding potentially game-changing new developments in both AI and Genetic engineering. These are both fields that are of keen interest to cryonicists.  It may take a very advanced AI system to work out the monumental challenges we face in cryonics revival, and recent strides show that AI progress is expanding exponentially in power and ability.  This makes me think that the first successful cryonics revival may  very well be sooner rather than later. However, the beauty of cryonics is that we have all the time in the world to wait for scientific breakthroughs.  

In the field of Genetic engineering there’s a lot of buzz surrounding the revolutionary new crispr-cas9 technology that has catapulted genetic engineering ahead by making the process cheaper, simpler and faster than ever before. Basically, scientists have found that they could use the immune system of bacteria as a very precise engineering tool to remove and place DNA within a genome.  This is very exciting news and opens doors to developing other technologies that could lead to repairing and reviving cryonics patients someday. Even more promising is the fact that these types of technologies might someday be used to even hack into and reverse the damage of aging itself. Wouldn’t it be nice to simply solve the problem of death by shutting down or reversing aging altogether? This type of technology is very exciting and encouraging, but again, the beauty of cryonics is that if these things don’t pan out in time for us individually, each of us has a logical hedge and an extraordinary “second chance” life insurance policy called cryonics.

Dennis Kowalski - CI President

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What's Happening at the Cryonics Institute

Facility Renovations

Our facility is one of the most important and lasting impressions many people have of the Cryonics Institute, especially in regard to media coverage. That said, we're pleased to report that our planned 2016 facility renovations are now completed.

In addition to the new boardroom, we have also completely renovated our office and filing areas. We have also added some cosmetic improvements including lighting features around the cryostats and a series of wall murals. The murals in the cryostat room illustrate the famous science-fiction author and futurist Arthur C. Clarke's "Three Laws," which we feel sum up cryonics' optimistic attitude toward science and the future's limitless possibilities.

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Special thanks and recognition to Facility Manager Andy Zawacki for the excellent job on the renovations and to Perfusion Specialist and Office Administrator Hillary McCauley for her tasteful interior design recommendations.

"A History of Life-Extensionism In The Twentieth Century"

FREE book available online

A new book by PhD Ilia Stambler explores the history of life extensionism, examining major lines of thought over the course of the 20th century. The book includes mentions of Robert Ettinger, the Cryonics movement and the Cryonics Institute as well as an expansive historical overview of life extension thought from around the world. The book is available in print or free in PDF and HTML formats HERE (

The book's author is Ilia Stambler, PhD, a researcher at Bar Ilan University, Israel. His research focuses on the historical and social implications of aging and life extension research. He is actively involved in advocacy for aging and longevity research. His website is

New Cryostat Display Scale Model

Last issue we put out a call for model-makers to create a scale model CI cryostat to use for trade shows, events and other display purposes.

Well, the results are in and we're pleased to show you the first model. This model was constructed by talented Milwaukee-area model-maker Phil Kershner and stands about 2 1/2 feet high as seen in the illustration left. The liter bottle has been included for scale reference.

We are considering having a second model created that can be used as a permanent display, and possibly additional models that can be used at appropriate venues and exhibits to promote cryonics and the Cryonics Institute.

CI Adds Italian Translation to Documentary

For first-time readers of CI Magazine who haven't had the chance to see it, here is a 2015 documentary from French-Canadian TV (TV Quebec.) For the convenience of our international members in English-speaking countries, France and Italy, we have included subtitles in English, French and now Italian. For subtitles, press the CC button to activate subtitles and select the gear / settings button to choose your language.

Grazie / Thanks to Federico Costantini of Italia for his translation, and also to Phillipe Vitu for his contributions on the French to English translations.

As an international organization with members on all 5 continents, CI is constantly working to provide communications in as many languages as possible for our many outreach efforts.

If you have bi-lingual talents and would like to assist with translation efforts, please sign up for CI's Volunteers List.

New Swedish Cryonics Society

CI Member Ake Brannström recently announced the formation of a new Swedish Cryonics Society.

For more information about Svenska Kryonikföreningen visit:


Facebook: Kryonikföreningen

Initially, the society will focus on providing assistance to those who wish to sign up for cryonics. Eventually, they also hope to provide practical assistance in cases, possibly in collaboration with other European groups.

We encourage everyone to review our worldwide cryonics groups list and consider joining one or even starting your own. Local support can be a critical element for good standby, so it pays to develop resources and make contacts in your area.

2016 Board of Directors Election Winners

Debbie Fleming:
105 Votes

Marta Sandberg:
104 Votes

Kevin Doyle:
103 Votes

Alan Mole:
63 Votes

2016 Election Runners-Up

Phillipe Vitu:
56 Votes

John Strickland:
55 Votes

About CI’s Board of Directors

The twelve Directors of the Cryonics Institute Board are elected from our membership for three year terms in groups of four every September via mail-in ballots sent to the membership earlier in the year. Any fully-funded member in good standing may run for the board by submitting their nomination and bio to Cryonics Institute headquarters by the established deadline for that election cycle.

Election ballots are tallied and the results announced at the Annual General Meeting held at the Cryonics Institute facility every September. All elected members of the Cryonics Institute Board are Directors. The Officers (President, Vice-President, Finance, etc.) are elected by the Board from among the sitting Directors.

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CI Announces New Location for 2017 AGM

Sunday, September 10, 2017: 3:00 pm

ConCorde Inn
44315 Gratiot Avenue
Clinton Township, MI 48036

Be sure to mark your calendars and reserve the date - Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017 for the Cryonics Institute's Annual General Meeting.

2017 will mark what we expect will be a positive departure from CI's longstanding practice of holding our Annual General Meeting on-site at the facility. Due to a steady increase in attendance at the annual AGM's, as well as the addition of new cryostats in our current meeting space, we are simply running out of room at the facility. This is a good problem to have, so we are pleased to announce the 2017 AGM will be hosted at the ConCorde Inn in Clinton Township, MI.

We will still be conducting tours of the CI facility prior to the meeting but the meeting itself will now be held at the new location, starting at the normal 3 p.m. time. So be sure to arrange your schedule accordingly if you’ll be taking a tour prior to the meeting.

Dinner arrangements are still being worked out, so be sure to watch for those details in future issues of the CI Newsletter.

Please note that reservations for rooms at ConCorde are on a first-come, first-served, so please book your reservations as soon as possible. Of course, if you can’t get a room at the ConCorde, there is other lodging available, but it would be preferable to have the majority of our group staying “on-site” at the hotel for convenient socializing and camaraderie before and after the official meeting agenda concludes. We have the room booked until 7 p.m., so there will be plenty of time to get to know your fellow members, speak to Directors and relax. After that, there is also a lounge available and other public areas where folks can gather if they like.

The ConCorde features an impressive meeting room, an outdoor seating area adjacent to the hall, plus a lounge, pool & fitness center and other amenities we’re sure everyone will enjoy. ConCorde Inn's website is

2016 AGM

40th Anniversary Celebration

3pm Sunday, September 11, 2016

2016 Annual General Meeting Report

The Cryonics Institute’s 2016 Annual General Meeting marked the 40th Anniversary of our organization. This year’s meeting was well-attended, including members, speakers and guests from Canada, Argentina, the Ukraine and China. We’re very proud to be able to count such a diverse turnout among our guests, and even more honored to be entrusted with carrying on the life-saving mission Robert Ettinger started back in 1976.

The celebration started Friday evening at the traditional “Night Before” dinner at Ike’s Restaurant, where folks gathered to catch up with old acquaintances, make new friends and enjoy spirited discussions about cryonics and the upcoming day’s event. Notable attendees included CI President, Dennis Kowalski, Mr. David Ettinger, son of Robert Ettinger, Board of Directors candidates Debbie Fleming and Kevin Doyle and author & 2016 keynote speaker Dr. Robin Hanson. As always, the group had a great time and everyone left that evening upbeat and excited for the following day’s activities.

Ci’s staff had an early start on Saturday at the facility, taking care of final preparations for the meeting and spending time visiting with the occasional members and guests who stopped by to say hello and to get a look at CI‘s renovations. Special thanks to CI President Dennis Kowalski and our full-time on-site team of Facility Manager Andy Zawacki and Perfusion Specialist & Office Administrator Hillary McCauley who took time out from their preparations for the meeting to chat with guests, answer questions and conduct impromptu tours. Several familiar faces were also on hand to help out, including IS President York Porter.

Guests began arriving in earnest around 2:00 p.m. and were directed to beverages and coffee while they mingled with one another and took a look around the facility. Many AGM veterans remarked enthusiastically on how much the facility had changed since their last visit just one short year ago. Visitors also had the opportunity to browse a display of CI Merchandise, and, for the first time, to review and bid on the items in our first Silent Auction. 

Soon enough, the moment arrived to start the meeting, and at 3:00 p.m. sharp CI President Dennis Kowalski stepped up to the podium to kick off the 2016 AGM.

Kowalski opened with a greeting, an overview of the day’s agenda and some general housekeeping items including the fact that ballot counting was almost complete for the election and to remind everyone of volunteer opportunities. He then recognized CI Director Stephan Beauregard for his social media efforts, noting that CI’s Facebook page has grown to over 20,000 members under Stephan’s management. He also thanked Stephan for setting up the Silent Auction and encouraged guests to participate.

CI’s President’s Report followed, highlighting our 2016 achievements and looking ahead to 2017. Kowalski recognized David and Connie Ettinger, thanking them for funding a new roof for the CI facility. On the topic of the building, Kowalski noted that the entire facility had been renovated over the course of the last two years, including the perfusion room in 2015 and the boardroom, front offices and file room in 2016. He noted that 2016 was a great year for membership growth, and followed up noting that with the extra workload, CI had made the decision to hire a second full-time facility employee to help Facility Manager and Board Member Andy Zawacki. He then introduced Hillary McCauley who received a warm round of applause. (For a profile of Hillary, see CI News V1, 2016)

Next up was a research report from Oregon State University, where CI has made arrangements to fund research into vitrification solutions with a noted OSU cryobiology professor. Kowalski read a letter from the professor written specifically for the AGM to report to our members. The professor’s letter thanked CI for their funding, provided an overview of their preliminary work and findings and noted that the researchers would be following up with a more conclusive report. That report is in this issue of the CI Newsletter. 

Following the formal President’s Report, Kowalski announced that the 2016 Election ballots had been tallied and verified. The results were: Debbie Fleming - 106 votes, Marta Sandberg - 104 votes, Kevin Doyle - 103 votes and Alan Mole - 63 votes. Runners-up were Phillipe Vitu with 56 votes and John Strickland with 55 votes. Kowalski congratulated the winners and reminded everyone that apart from serving on the board there were plenty of volunteer opportunities available for members to help with CI’s many initiatives.

Before concluding and introducing the next speaker, Kowalski received a vigorous round of applause in response to a public invitation from Stephan Beauregard to thank Dennis for his outstanding work as CI’s President.


The next speaker was CI Director Patrick Heller, who provided an overview of CI’s financials. Heller provided copies of CI’s financial reports and the annual Treasurer’s Report for everyone interested in the specific numbers. He noted CI saw a $34,500 increase in total assets over the year and explained how our numbers are calculated, balancing expenses against revenue in various categories. One of those major expenses being cryostat construction, Heller reported that CI presently has sufficient cryostat backup to accommodate several years of new patients, including potential patient transfers should any of the current units ever require repairs. Regarding maintenance, Heller also noted that CI is seeing tremendous efficiencies in liquid nitrogen cost and usage.

Heller concluded with the welcome news that CI’s financial position is very good and that we saw a net positive in 2016, with revenues expected to continue outpacing expenses in 2017.


CI Director Steve L. followed Heller to delve deeper into CI’s investments, which account for a significant portion of our financials. His presentation was titled “Accounting for the Layman” and did an excellent job of breaking down complex professional accounting practices, in particular, with regard to how those practices are affecting CI’s investments. He proceeded to break out CI’s major expenses and assets noting: 1) Our land and budget are undervalued, which helps with any tax liabilities. 2) Cryostats constitute our biggest annual expense 3) CI holds over $4m in investments and 4) that CI has no debt.

After covering the current situation, Steve reported that the investment committee believes CI can improve our investments’ performance in 2017. The stated plan is to divide assets among three management strategies, compare the performance of each and adjust allocations based on results. Those three strategies will be 1) Auto Investments, which can be adjusted based on level of risk.  2) Active management by CI Director Joseph Kowalsky, J.D. (Kowalsky is a Senior Financial Consultant with Upstream Investment Partners with 30 years experience in investing) and 3) Kowal Investment Group - a professional investment company.

Steve stressed that as a long-term operation CI’s primary financial goal is to achieve modest growth, even under the most extreme market conditions, and that CI remains extraordinarily sound financially.



Loraine Rhodes is Vice President of Terasem, an organization started by Martine Rothblatt who is famed as the creator of the satellite radio and vehicle tracking industries as well as Bio-Tech company United Therapeutics.

At Terasem, Loraine manages the areas of legal and technology research, event coordination of their annual workshops and colloquia. She also serves as the Managing Editors of Terasem’s online journals of Geoethical Nanotechnology and Personal Cyberconsciousness. 

Especially noteworthy, Lori also started the local Terasem Cryonics Standby Team. This is the team that led the standby for longtime cryonicist and CI pioneer John Bull, father of CI Director Debbie Fleming.

Lori may be reached by email at

Loraine (Lori) Rhodes’ presentation discussed the work of the Terasem Movement, highlighting their efforts to preserve human consciousness through a variety of innovative techniques. Of especial interest to cryonicists, she also provided a roadmap for organizing and managing a Cryonics Support Team, drawing on her personal experiences creating a standby team for Terasem and sharing details from their first cryonics case.

Lori talked about the Terasem Movement, a 501c3 not-for-profit charity whose primary mission is education on the importance and practicality of extending life with an emphasis on revival strategies and techniques. Terasem maintains an active web site and social media channels, operates Terasem Radio and hosts Annual Symposiums. Their Cryonics Response Team operates out of central Florida.

She then explained the CyBeRev project, designed to collect and preserve the human mind as digital information for the purpose of revival. She likened it to a “Digital Diary,” and noted that this could be a useful resource should revived cryonauts suffer memory loss. Terasem offers this as a free service to interested persons at A particularly interesting concept introduced was the idea of “Spacecasting,” which would involve beaming collected digital information into space to be decoded and recreated at a future date. 

Closer to home, Lori then moved into a discussion on Terasem’s Cryonics Standby Team and offered practical considerations and suggestions from her experiences on how to create and operate a local standby group. Suggestions included tips on personnel, equipment, logistics and budget, among others. She stressed the need to work within local community regulations and to reach out to coroners, paramedics and other first-responders. She likened a standby team to a first response medical team, noting that it is a small step from the traditional purpose of saving a life to instead, preserving a life. She concluded with a detailed overview of her team’s experience “running point” for SA during the standby phase of long-time cryonicist John Bull’s preservation. According to Rhodes, their team provided critical care and support during this case, and she emphasized the absolute importance of proper communication and preparation.


Martin Bluth, MD, PhD is president of BBI. Dr. Bluth is a serial entrepreneur and has matured companies in healthcare diagnosis (Genome Dynamics International) therapeutics (Biomedica corporation) and commercialization (First Point Biotech Ventures.)

Dr. Bluth is an accomplished professional who is well-published in a number of peer-reviewed journals. 

He is also Editor-in-Chief / Founding Editor for the journals Pharmacogenomics and Personalized medicine, The Journal of Blood Medicine and the Journal of Biorepository Science for applied medicine. 

Dr Bluth currently serves as Director of Translational Research, Director of Clinical Programs Asia-Pacific and as Associate Director of the Transfusion Service for Department of Pathology at Detroit Medical Center / Wayne State School of Medicine where he holds the rank of professor.

He is trained in Lean / Six Sigma and applies translational / medical algorithms to increase efficiency of biomarker discovery for disease diagnosis and response to therapy.

CI Director Joe Kowalsky introduced Dr. Martin Bluth, adding his own observation that having a respected and published medical professional speaking at our AGM represented a new high water mark for the cryonics movement. Kowalsky reflected how much public perception of cryonics has improved over the decades, and especially in recent years. He cited Dr Bluth’s agreement to speak as a noteworthy example of that positive shift in opinion.

Dr. Bluth reinforced Kowalsky’s comments when he took the podium and thanked Dennis and Joe for inviting him, remarking that he was happy and honored to be speaking at the meeting.

Dr. Bluth’s presentation titled “Cryopreservation - A view from the medical treetops” took a look at the evolving history, perceptions and efforts of the medical community’s cryonics-related initiatives from his own professional perspective and experiences. Dr. Bluth expressed his longstanding interest in the exciting medical potential of cryogenic processes, citing the international, peer-reviewed journal “Journal of Biorepository Science for Applied Medicine,” which he created specifically to explore these concepts. 

He explained Biorepository Science as a discipline focused on all things that maintain cellular function - micro or macro, in an effort to better understand the processes and issues involved. This involves biospecimen procurement, processing, preservation and banking for application to applied medicine.

Regarding cryopreservation, Dr. Bluth referred to his professional experiences running a blood bank, preserving stem cells, plasma and other tissues in such a way that they would function when returned to their natural environments. This work, he said, logically lead to his exploring ultra-low-temperature, cryogenic preservation techniques and applications like vitrification which are familiar to cryonicists. He discussed the history of cryoprotectant agents, how they function in cells and stated his experience has indicated they are very effective. From this success with cellular and small tissue samples, Dr. Bluth reasoned medicine today is well on the way to preserving larger structures, and that he believes the likelihood of whole body preservation is not unreasonable in the future.

Dr. Bluth followed with examples of medical applications that benefit from this interest in cryopreservation and developments in stem cell and other regenerative tech research, and pointed out that the more practical applications that are discovered, the easier it is to acquire federal and other funding to develop further advances that may lead to revival technologies for cryonics. He followed with a discussion about the many applications currently in use, observations on the roles media, public perception and government policies play in research and examples of celebrities pushing the envelope for stem cell research.

Dr. Bluth concluded with a list of pros and cons, with pros including biobanking applications, treating currently uncurable diseases by “stopping the clock,” nanorobotics and even applications for space travel.


Dr Rudy Goya received his PhD in biochemistry in 1982 from the University of La Plata, Argentina. He did his post-doctoral training in neurological disciplines at the Department of Physiology at Michigan State University. At MSU he began his research into brain aging, and he returned to Argentina in 1987 to found a dedicated brain aging research group at La Plata University.

He currently leads a team of 17 researchers, graduate students and technicians who work on the implementation of intervention strategies including gene and stem cell therapy for restoring memory and other functions associated with the aging process in the brain. He has authored over 140 peer-reviewed, international publications and has mentored over 35 graduate students and junior researchers.

Rudy is the Senior Investigator of the Argentine Research Council and has a keen interest in cryonics and related emerging technologies including Nanomedicine and Artificial Intelligence. He is a member of the Cryonics Institute.

Dr Rudy Goya’s presentation, “The Feasibility of Cryonics” offered an in-depth look at his University Team’s cryonics research and his analysis and observations as to what those results suggest for the future of cryonic preservation and potential revival. 

Dr. Goya began by reviewing the several current instances of and uses for cryopreservation. Examples included many instances of both animal and human cell preservation, including embryos, sperm and stem cells. He pointed out that all of these tissues have been successfully frozen and restored, which suggests similar principles can be explored further to duplicate the process for larger organs and eventually the whole body. Dr. Goya reasoned that an embryo, which consists of very few cells, is but a very simple human. If embryos can be successfully revived, the same principles should apply to the much larger and more complex collection of cells that constitute a grown human being.

Another interesting current application he discussed was the preservation of ovarian tissue in aggressive cancer cases. Dr Goya showed a video illustrating how adult ovarian tissues can be removed and preserved prior to chemo and radiation therapy in these cases and reintroduced into the patient at the conclusion of treatment, thereby maintaining fertility. He further explained that in these cases, speed is critical to the success of both the freezing and thawing processes. He also offered the example of tardigrades, animals that naturally freeze in winter then thaw and revive with no cellular damage in the spring.

Dr. Goya acknowledged that although vitrification techniques are currently available, we still do not have the technology to reanimate these tissues, however he is confident those technologies will come to pass. With this in mind, he said that we can help advance that future technology by undertaking studies aimed at determining the impact of today’s vitrification procedures. He proceeded by presenting a detailed analysis of his team’s current research with several slides comparing brain tissues vitrified under varying conditions against a non-vitrified control sample. His results showed differing levels of cellular integrity that he says will be valuable to better understanding and improving cryonics procedures.

Dr Robin Hanson

Dr. Robin Hanson is associate professor of economics at George Mason Universty and research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University. He holds a doctorate in social science from the California Institute of Technology, masters degrees in physics and philosophy from the University of Chicago and has nine years experience as a research programmer at Lockheed and NASA.

Professor Hanson has over 3,000 citations in over 60 academic publications on a diverse range of subjects including  Applied Optics, Economics and Governance, Artifical Intelligence, Evolution and Technology and many, many others.

Oxford University Press recently published his book "The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life When Robots Rule the Earth." in June of this year, and will publish his book "The Elephant in the Brain" in Spring of next year. Professor Hanson has had over five hundred media mentions, given 200 talks and his blog has had eight million visits.

He has a diverse range of interests and expertise to share, including Prediction Markets, a new discipline he pioneered.  Professor Hanson has also developed new technologies for conditional, combinational and intermediated trading.

Professor Hanson has written and spoken widely on the application of idea futures to business and policy and has been an integral advisor on may ventures.

Dr. Hanson’s presentation offered a glimpse of a potential future where engineered copies of human beings called Brain Emulations are in widespread use worldwide. His book “The Age of Em,” explores this idea in far greater depth.

Dr. Hanson started with a review of growth throughout three historic periods. He explained that growth rates are steady, but experience exponential growth at critical times. The examples he offered were a doubling rate of 1.4 million years for the Forager Era, 1,000 years for the Farming Era, and 15 years for our current Industrial era, illustrating a marked increase in the speed of human progress. Assuming those patterns continue, Dr. Hanson estimated that sometime in the next century or so, progress could begin doubling at a remarkable rate of every month.

He then posed the question of what could possibly cause such an exponential change. He hypothesized the evolution of smart robots and software that could perfectly copy and emulate the human brain, becoming a new and unique form of human being or consciousness. These replicas would be what he refers to as Brain Emulations, or “Ems.”

He then explained his methodology for predicting such a future by projecting current technology, trending disruptive technology and drawing conclusions based on a wide range of disciplines including economics, politics, sociology and many others. His next question was to ask what this world would look like to a cryonics patient revived as a Brain Emulation. 

He proceeded to describe a fascinating world dominated by these Brain Emulations. In this world, Hanson predicted that most Emulations would be based off the very best human beings - great scientists, artists, athletes and the like. These “robots” he surmised, would have a very different life than we understand today, being able to create copies of themselves at will to conduct a variety of tasks at the same time. They would live in virtual reality environments, colossal cities and, surprisingly, still live lives we can relate to with a cycle of training work and retirement. After a detailed discussion of the various aspects and realities of living in this remarkable new world, he concluded his talk with a list of the pluses and minuses to consider, and an invitation to read his book to learn more.

Dr. Hanson's remarks concluded the speakers’ portion of the AGM. Dennis Kowalski returned to the podium to thank all the speakers and conclude the offical program with a few closing remarks. IS President York Porter followed to conduct the Immortalist Society’s Annual Meeting, details of which can be found in Long Life Magazine, available on the IS website.

After the formal meeting, guests were invited to enjoy food and beverages, facility tours and hands-on demonstrations of CI’s Standby Kits presented by CI President Dennis Kowalski.

Photographs of the 2016 AGM are avaialable at the link below.

2016 AGM Photo Gallery

Special thanks to CI Director Stephan Beauregard for his efforts organizing and conducting the Silent Auction at the recent AGM. Stephan acquired a number of fantastic one-of-a-kind items for the auction, including several personal donations. The event generated a lot of excitement at the meeting and was well-received by the attendees. Thanks as well to everyone who bid on prizes and congratulations to the winners!

All monies collected were donated to CI. A list of the prizes and winners follows.

Special Edition Takamine Acoustic Guitar:
Donated by: Jeff Fortin, Lifetime CI Member
Winner: Charles Engelke, CI Member

Special Edition Harley Davidson Commemorative Plate
Donated by: Jeff Fortin, Lifetime CI Member
Winner: Charles Engelke, CI Member

Rare Celine Dion Signed Promo Photo (signed in Las Vegas)
Donated by S. Beauregard, CI Director
Winner: Patrick Heller, CI Director

Original Ted Williams Boston Red Sox Baseball Card
Donated by S. Beauregard, CI Director
Winner: Nicholas R. Van Der Meulen, Lifetime CI Member

Star Wars Collectible Stamp Set
Donated by S. Beauregard, CI Director
Winner: DT Golner, CI Marketing

Rare French Magazine Sciences-Avenir - 1959 edition featuring Cryonics
Donated by S. Beauregard, CI Director
Winner: Dennis Kowalski, CI President

Melanie Griffith Autographed Planet Hollywood Hat - (signed at Disneyland, Paris)
Donated by S. Beauregard, CI Director
Winner: Dr Robin Hanson, 2016 AGM Keynote Speaker

Original Book Draft signed by Robert Ettinger
Donated by Cryonics Institute
Winner: Steve Lucyx, CI Director

Original Collectible 50¢ Coin (Quebec Winter Carnival Edition)
Donated by S.Beauregard, CI Director
No Bids

Original French Edition of “The Prospect of Immortality”
Donated by S.Beauregard, CI Director
No Bids

Cryonics Institute Research Update

Reducing Toxicity During Cryopreservation of Organs

Funding from the Cryonics Institute was recently provided to cryobiology researchers to investigate strategies for reducing the toxicity of cryoprotective agents (CPAs) during cryopreservation of organs. The work is based on recent research which shows that mathematical optimization can lead to effective CPA equilibration methods for vitrification of endothelial cell monolayers. With funding from the Cryonics Institute, the researchers proposed to test two key features of the optimized procedures in the context of organ perfusion: (1) inducing swelling during CPA loading using a hypotonic concentration of salts; (2) leveraging fast water transport to concentrate intracellular CPA during the last step prior to vitrification.

Over the last few months, the researchers have established methods for acquiring pig organs from a local slaughterhouse as well as methods for perfusion of those organs in the lab. The initial tests have focused on kidneys. They have demonstrated that kidney perfusion with a CPA solution containing a hypotonic concentration of salts causes organ swelling, confirming that the major feature of the previous optimized methods can likely be harnessed for minimizing toxicity in organs as well. The experimental results were shown to be consistent with a simplified mathematical model of the organ perfusion process.

In particular, the researchers tested 10% ethylene glycol solutions similar to those used by the Cryonics Institute in the first step of brain perfusion, but differing in the composition of the carrier buffer. The results, while preliminary, suggest that there may be substantial benefits associated with the use of a hypotonic carrier solution.

Organ Perfusion System

Porcine kidneys were obtained from the slaughterhouse and immediately cannulated at the renal artery for perfusion with 500 mL of cold extracellular-like hypothermic preservation solution [1,2]. The kidneys were then placed on ice for transport back to the laboratory, where they were attached to the gravity-fed perfusion system illustrated in Fig. 1. The perfusion system contains two separate reservoirs, each of which has its own perfusion line. The two lines come together at a ‘Y’ joint that is attached to the tubing in the renal artery. With such a setup, two different solutions can be perfused through the kidney per experiment. To maintain a constant fluid level in the reservoirs, holes were drilled in the bottles at the desired height and fitted with tubing that drained to a collecting beaker. Fluid was returned to the bottles from the collecting beaker using a peristaltic pump. In essence, the pump replaced the solution that fed into the kidney.

The kidney itself rested on a mesh platform over a funnel which diverted fluid exiting the renal vein and ureter into a collection reservoir. The volume of fluid collected per minute was measured using graduated cylinders. The entire kidney platform was placed on a laboratory scale, such that the kidney mass could be measured throughout a perfusion experiment.

The kidney itself rested on a mesh platform over a funnel which diverted fluid exiting the renal vein and ureter into a collection reservoir. The volume of fluid collected per minute was measured using graduated cylinders. The entire kidney platform was placed on a laboratory scale, such that the kidney mass could be measured throughout a perfusion experiment.

Figure 1. Gravity-fed perfusion system

Effect of Carrier Solution during Kidney Perfusion with CPA

Perfusion experiments were performed to compare CPA solutions prepared using an isotonic carrier (as is typically done) to solutions prepared using a hypotonic carrier. In both cases, kidneys were first brought to mass equilibrium with isotonic solution. Kidneys were then either perfused with 10% ethylene glycol in an isotonic carrier solution, or with 10% ethylene glycol in a hypotonic carrier solution. The hypotonic carrier solution contained buffer (NaHCO3) and an oncotic agent (20 kDa PEG) and had a total tonicity of approximately 85 mOsm. Throughout the experiments, the inlet arterial pressure was maintained constant at approximately 100 mmHg, and measurements were taken of the kidney mass every 30 seconds and the volumetric flowrate every minute.

Figure 2. Mass change after perfusion of 10% ethylene glycol in isotonic carrier solution. For Kidney 1, the solution change came at 21.5 minutes, and for Kidney 2, the change came at 23 minutes.

Figure 2 shows the mass change of two kidneys that were perfused with ethylene glycol in isotonic carrier solution, and Figure 3 shows the mass change of two kidneys that were perfused with ethylene glycol in hypotonic carrier solution. In all cases kidney mass increased during the initial perfusion with isotonic medium, eventually leveling off at an equilibrium value. At this point, the perfusion solution was changed to 10% ethylene glycol, which led to an abrupt drop in mass, followed by a slower mass recovery. As shown in Figures 3 and 4, there was substantial variability between kidney masses, making it difficult to discern differences between isotonic and hypotonic carrier solutions.

Figure 3. Mass change after perfusion of 10% ethylene glycol in hypotonic carrier solution. For Kidney 3, the solution change came at 12 minutes, and for Kidney 4, the change came at 21 minutes.

To facilitate comparison between kidney perfusion with ethylene glycol in isotonic and hypotonic carriers, the results for all four kidneys were expressed as a percent mass change and time zero was set to the time at which perfusion solutions were switched. As shown in Figure 4, there are clear differences in the response of kidneys to perfusion with isotonic and hypotonic carrier solutions. When a hypotonic carrier was used, the organ recovered mass much more quickly, reaching its original mass in about 3 minutes. In comparison perfusion with ethylene glycol in isotonic carrier resulted in recovery of the original kidney mass in about 10 minutes. In addition, the kidneys perfused with ethylene glycol in hypotonic carrier swelled beyond their original mass by about 8% after about 20 min, whereas the kidneys perfused with ethylene glycol in isotonic carrier reached a final mass that was within 3% of the original mass.

Together, these results highlight two key features of CPA loading using a hypotonic carrier that are expected to reduce toxicity. First, the kinetics of CPA loading is faster, as exemplified by the faster recovery of the original kidney mass. Second, the hypotonic carrier results in kidney swelling, which is advantageous because it enables exposure to a more concentrated CPA solution in the second step without inducing excessive shrinkage. Both of these features are expected to reduce CPA toxicity.

Figure 4. Mass percent change of all four kidneys relative to their individual equilibrium masses during perfusion with isotonic solution. Time zero is the point at which the perfusion solutions were switched. The blue data points represent the two kidneys exposed to 10% ethylene glycol in isotonic carrier (kidneys 1 and 2), and the red data points represent the two kidneys exposed to 10% ethylene glycol in hypotonic carrier (kidneys 3 and 4).

While the results presented in Figure 4 are promising, it is important to understand the effects of perfusate composition on the vascular flow resistance in the kidney. Figure 5 compares the volumetric flow rates measured at the outlet for all four kidneys. Since pressure drop was held constant, the flow rate is inversely proportional to resistance. For the kidneys exposed to ethylene glycol in isotonic carrier, the flow rate dropped initially but then rebounded back to its original value. In contrast, kidneys perfused with ethylene glycol in hypotonic carrier exhibited a more dramatic drop in flow rate to about 5 mL/min, without any evidence of flow rate recovery. This can likely be attributed to cell swelling and concomitant impingement of blood vessels. The reason for the transient drop in flow rate for the kidneys exposed to ethylene glycol in isotonic carrier is unclear, but could be a result of blood vessel constriction during the transient decrease in kidney mass (see Fig. 4).

The practical implications of these flow rate changes have not yet been determined. The mass change data shown in Fig. 4 suggests that CPA loading using hypotonic carrier results in faster delivery of CPA to the kidney, but clearly the perfusion rate is substantially lower, particularly for times longer than 4 min. What is not clear from this preliminary data set is whether the kidneys are uniformly perfused with CPA. This will be explored in future studies. If perfusion is uniform, then the lower flow rate may actually be an advantage because it reduces the volume of perfusion solution needed to complete the CPA loading process.

Figure 5. Volumetric flow rate at kidney outlet. Time zero is the point at which the perfusion solutions were switched. The blue data points represent the two kidneys exposed to 10% ethylene glycol in isotonic carrier (kidneys 1 and 2), and the red data points represent the two kidneys exposed to 10% ethylene glycol in hypotonic carrier (kidneys 3 and 4).

Future Directions

Together, these recent results highlight the potential for achieving faster CPA loading and reduced CPA toxicity by using a hypotonic carrier solution. However, two key questions remain: (1) Does the use of a hypotonic carrier lead to a non-uniform CPA distribution within the kidney? (2) Will the hypotonic carrier cause unacceptable cell death? The first question stems from the observation of a substantially decreased effluent flowrate after CPA loading using a hypotonic carrier. It is thought that this phenomenon is due to vasculature constriction induced by tissue and cell swelling; this could lead to an uneven CPA distribution. The second question addresses the mechanical integrity of the kidney’s cells upon hypotonic carrier addition. The hypotonic carrier is expected to induce cell swelling, which, if excessive, could cause cell death.

With continued funding from the Cryonics Institute, the researchers will explore these issues. Specifically, the objectives of the next phase of this research are to (1) compare the CPA distribution within the kidney under both hypotonic and isotonic carrier conditions; and (2) assess cell death incurred during CPA loading using a hypotonic carrier compared to an isotonic carrier. Completion of these experiments will further establish the potential for using a hypotonic carrier solution to reduce CPA toxicity and lay the groundwork for the development of improved organ vitrification methods.


  1. Arretier MIC, Ugene MIE, Andewalle AL V, Expe DT. Polyethylene glycol reduces the inflammatory injury due to cold ischemia / reperfusion in autotransplanted pig kidneys. Kidney Int. 2002;62:654-667.
  2. Pierre J, Petit I, Dutheil D, et al. Protective Roles of Polyethylene Glycol and Trimetazidine against Cold Ischemia and Reperfusion Injuries of Pig Kidney Graft. Am J Transplant. 2004;4:495-504. doi:10.1111/j.1600-6143.2004.00365.x.

Is Cryonics Worth A Shot?

Cryonics for Beginners - by Theo Rogers

About the Author

Theo Rogers suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome, and so spends most of his time lying down. However, he’s managed to complete a master’s in wealth management by distance education. Prior to assuming his present horizontal state, he also achieved degrees in psychology and linguistics at the Australian National University, as well as a graduate certificate in banking and finance.

Theo has completed two non-fiction books: one on the Amazon reviewer subculture and the other on Investing. He is currently working on his third book: a hard science fiction novel with strong posthuman themes.

His interest in cryonics is all-but lifelong: “I still remember the first time I heard about cryonics – I would’ve been just a toddler. I’m not sure exactly how old. There was a story on TV about a person who was being frozen. As you can see, it made quite an impression. Ever since then, it’s always seemed to me that you’d have to be crazy not to have this done. Of course the future will see breakthroughs we can’t even imagine. And if there’s a chance, why on Earth wouldn’t you take it?”

If you were dying and there was a highly experimental procedure that just might save your life, would you choose to undergo that procedure? Knowing with absolute certainty that death was inevitable without it?

You may like to think about that for a moment before continuing…

You see, that’s what cryonic suspension is: it’s a highly experimental procedure that just might save your life when death is otherwise inevitable. It’s an ambulance into the future. That ambulance may or may not make it all the way to a time with the technology to restore you to health. Nobody knows. The one thing we do know for certain is what will happen without cryonics. Given that alternative, some of us choose to roll the dice.

So let’s say you’re a complete newbie, contemplating cryonics for the first time. Or maybe you’re already committed, but you want to convince a friend or loved one to make this choice. Why should you – or anyone else – believe that cryonics is, at the very least, worth a shot?

There are three levels on which this question can be addressed...

1. The first, and simplest, is to ask “Can we resuscitate a cryonically preserved patient with today's medicine?” The answer, of course, is no. No cryonicist I have encountered has ever suggested otherwise. What cryonicists are doing is speculating on what the medicine of the future, decades or even centuries ahead of our own, might be able to accomplish.

2. Given that starting point, the second level on which we might address this question is to observe that if we don't destroy ourselves, the one thing we can be certain of is that the future will see breakthroughs the likes of which we can't even imagine. Picture a physician of 1917 trying to predict the medicine of 2017. Suppose we then put to that same physician some of the things that the medicine the upcoming century would in fact achieve: antibiotics, open heart surgery, organ transplants, gender reassignment, gene therapy... it would all have seemed like science fiction; and even that is putting it politely. More likely, it would have seemed like a complete fantasy. The one thing we can be certain of is that the unimaginable will happen.

Of course, this is not the same as saying that all unimaginable breakthroughs will happen, and so does not mean that the resuscitation of cryonically preserved patients will happen. It only means that it would be foolhardy to claim that it won't.

Everyone knows the track record of respected scientists who choose to claim that certain things are impossible, or predict that they will never happen. It's so abysmal that it's inspired “Clarke's first law,” which states that “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”
It is very, very easy to find countless examples of highly respected scientists and engineers being proven wrong when they claim that things are impossible. Often within little more than a decade. Here are just two links to get you started:,6595098&dq=all-that-constitutes-a-wild-dream-worthy-of-jules-verne

It's also not hard to find well respected scientists who have gone on the record stating that cryonics is, at the very least, a reasonable thing to try. Sixty-nine eminent researchers and physicians from around the world have been signatories to the following open letter, which states that: “Cryonics is a legitimate science-based endeavor that seeks to preserve human beings, especially the human brain, by the best technology available ... there is a credible possibility that cryonics performed under the best conditions achievable today can preserve sufficient neurological information to permit eventual restoration of a person to full health.”

You can read the letter in full here:

Signatories include:

  • Roy Walford, MD: UCLA prof of physiology, expert advisor on immunology to the WHO and senatorial delegate to the White House conference on aging.
  • Jain Ravin, MD: Assistant clinical prof in neurology, UCLA
  • Peter Gouras, MD: Prof of ophthalmology, Columbia University.
  • Marvin Minsky, PhD: MIT prof and one of the founding fathers of cognitive science. Minsky also served as a scientific advisor to the board of Alcor, one of the principle organizations engaged in cryonic preservation today. Following his death it has widely been reported that Minsky himself has been preserved at Alcor, although in accordance with its privacy policy, Alcor will neither confirm or deny the presence of any specific individual within its facilities.

Starting about three quarters of the way down the same page where this open letter appears, there is also a list of scientific papers that can reasonably be interpreted as providing evidence in support of the cryonic endeavor. More on that in the next section.
Again, I stress that none of this is intended to lead to the conclusion that cryonics will work. It does, however, lead us to the conclusion a person contemplating cryonic suspension is in a situation not so different to that of any patient who, faced with certain death, is offered a highly experimental procedure as a last ditch heroic attempt to save their life (and yes, this is where we came in). There is no guarantee that the procedure will work. The only thing that's guaranteed is what will happen without it.
Under such circumstances, I personally choose to roll the dice. I hope you will too.

3. The third level on which we may address this problem is to think in more concrete terms about the kind of technology that would be needed to bring resuscitation about. If you would like to know what peer reviewed science has to say about this problem, I suggest you follow the links at the bottom of the last of the three web pages I linked to above. Starting about three quarters of the way down the page there is a list of articles on point written by people who possess a much better grasp of the fundamental science than I do.

As a layperson I find it difficult to weigh the merits of these different works. But if I were to pick just a few from that list, it does seem to me that some particular highlights include:

First paper showing recovery of brain electrical activity after freezing to -20°C. Suda I, Kito K, Adachi C, in: Nature (1966, vol. 212), “Viability of long term frozen cat brain in vitro“, pg. 268-270.

First paper showing partial recovery of brain electrical activity after 7 years of frozen storage: Suda I, Kito K, Adachi C, in: Brain Research (1974, vol. 70), “Bioelectric discharges of isolated cat brain after revival from years of frozen storage“, pg. 527-531.

First paper suggesting that nanotechnology could reverse freezing injury: Drexler KE, in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (1981, vol. 78), “Molecular engineering: An approach to the development of general capabilities for molecular manipulation“, pg. 5275-5278.

First paper showing ice-free vitrification of whole brains, the reversibility of prolonged warm ischemic injury without subsequent neurological deficits, and setting forth the present scientific evidence in support of cryonics: Lemler J, Harris SB, Platt C, Huffman T, in: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, (2004 vol. 1019), “The Arrest of Biological Time as a Bridge to Engineered Negligible Senescence“, pg. 559-563. PDF here.

First successful vitrification, transplantation, and long-term survival of a vital mammalian organ: Fahy GM, Wowk B, Pagotan R, Chang A, Phan J, Thomson B, Phan L, in: Organogensis (2009, vol. 5), “Physical and biological aspects of renal vitrification” pg. 167-175. PDF here.

First demonstration of whole brain vitrification with perfect preservation of neural connectivity (“connectome”) throughout the entire brain: McIntyre RM, Fahy GM, in: Cryobiology, (2015, vol. 71), “Aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation“, pg. 448-458. PDF here.

Beyond the specific papers listed above, I encourage you to peruse the full list and decide what makes the most sense to you. This should give you a decent coverage of the science.

If you'd like to know what I personally think (again speaking as a complete layperson), then this is it:

If brains are simply information processing machines, and cells are simply biological machines built on a molecular level, then brain death, cell death, and indeed, all forms of death are simply the point at which the machine has broken down beyond its own ability to self repair, and beyond the ability of our current technology to repair it, to the point where entropy takes over. To suggest anything beyond this is to revert to the idea of some once-present force that somehow imbued mere matter with the spark of life, but which is now sadly absent. So barring a return to vitalism, what we’re left with is the purely technical problem of putting the machine back together in working order. This, of course, is why so many cryoncists have such a keen interest in nanotechnology.

Cryonic suspension itself is merely a means of grinding to a near-halt the march of entropy, in the hope that some future technology will be able to repair what we cannot. The only question then is as to how far our own ability to repair the machine is likely to advance, and on what timetable.

Of course, if we are concerned with resuscitating cryonically preserved patients, we must also deal with the damage done by the preservation process itself. The better the preservation process, the lower the demands we make on future technology. There is no point at which I personally would give up the ghost entirely. Mainstream physics now seriously debates the existence of a “law of conservation of information,” which holds that on a quantum level, information can never truly be destroyed. But even if this law is sound on a theoretical level, on a practical level we need to remember that the worse the job we do in the here and now, the more we depend on ever greater advances in future technology – which may or may not eventuate.

As hinted at before, if we are particularly concerned with cell death, and damage on a cellular level, then the most obvious means of repair would be an advanced medical nanotechnology, combined with the massive amounts of computing power required to organize that technology and direct it to repair something as massive and complex as a brain when viewed from a molecular level up.

The important thing to remember here is that this is not on par with something like homeopathy: no new laws of physics are required to make it work. All we need to do is apply the known laws of physics and chemistry in a way that is orders of magnitude more sophisticated than anything we are currently capable of. This kind of improvement – improvements in degree, however vast, as opposed to improvements depending on the invention of some as yet unknown principle – seem particularly likely to occur, and particularly well grounded in reality.

So “all” we need to make this particular vision of resuscitation a reality are a sophisticated medical nanotechnology, and vast amounts of computing power: both of which many distinguished, respectable, and entirely mainstream scientists of today believe will become available sometime this century.

To draw on to an analogy used by others before me, I suspect that right now we're in the same position as an engineer contemplating the possibility of a modern airport, maybe five or ten years before the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. Say, sometime in the 1890's. Of course the sheer complexity of the thing together with its massive demand for resources would have made it seem completely beyond reach – to say nothing of the leaps of technology required.

And yet, it did happen. It did not happen in a single step. But it did happen.

None of the arguments I have made here are intended to convince the reader that the ultimate resuscitation of cryonically preserved patients will happen. I personally believe it will, but clearly, it would be delusional for me to claim that I know this for a fact. What the arguments presented here are intended to do is convince the reader that cryonics is, at the very least, worth a shot.

This could work...And consider the alternative

1st international conference of CryoSuisse, Basel, November 2016

Report by Frank Seifert

The weekend of November 12th was a highly interesting one for cryonics in Europe. CryoSuisse, the cryonics organisation of Switzerland, held their 1st international conference on cryonics in Basel. An unexpected high number of groups and group-representatives came together with some of the premier bames in cryonics like Ben Best, former director of the Cryonics Institute, Max More, president of Alcor, Aschwin de Wolf, CEO of Advanced Neural Biosciences, and Tim Gibson from Cryonics UK. The goal was an exchange of information about the different groups in Europe and also the latest developments in cryonics methods and research. Eventually, also to get to know each other and the individual group capabilities and plans regarding cryonics, to discuss the future of cryonics in Europe and how we can best synergize and profit from each other.

After the president of CryoSuisse, Patrick Burgermeister, gave a warm welcome in the Technologie Park Basel, the programme started with short presentations by the various countries' organisations. Additional information about national specifics in law and practical work were provided. It was encouraging to see how many countries cryonics movements and cryonics groups have been started in over the last few years. Patrick Burgermeister started with an introduction to CryoSuisse in Switzerland, followed by Torsten Nahm from Cryonics Germany. Subsequently Tim Gibson described the team and work of Cryonics UK (CUK). He reported on typical cryonics cases, the preparation of them, the usual problems and also some exciting stories. Jappie Hoekstra presented the Dutch Cryonics Organisation in the Netherlands which was founded in 2002 and currently has 14 members. Of similar member strength and also basic equipment is the Finland group introduced by Antti Peltonen. In a short presentation on the status of cryonics in Italy, Alberto Pasquini described the regulatory difficulties faced by Italy's three currently active cryonics members. Italian law currently only allows burying and embalming of the deceased. To help overcome this issue, the Italian Cryonicists recently founded the Association for the Protection and Extension of Life (APREL) in 2016.

Also very interesting was the report of the Belgian group given by Anthony Lamot. The Belgian group has around 10 members and basic equipment in place. They reported on their first cryonics case involving a 90-year old female patient. The legal situation in Belgium is remarkable: every citizen is an organ donor by default and suicide is allowed on principle.

The next presentation was from the Swedish group represented by Åke Brännström who have general procedures and organisational structures in place. Jose Cordeiro and Gonzalo Ruiz introduced the Spanish group, which works with several medical doctors and has already supported the cryopreservation of three patients in Spain. The individual country presentations were concluded by Prof. Krzysztof Herman, reporting from Poland and describing interesting and ambitious plans for supporting a European cryonics organisation.

After a lunch break, Ben Best gave an overview presentation about the cryonics progress in several additional countries worldwide. This includes Russia with the well-known company KrioRus, China, India, Australia, Argentinia, Canda and also two newer organisations in the USA. It was nice to hear that Ben was very active in visiting several countries, meeting with the local people and giving help and advice where he could. An interesting point is that in both large Asian countries, China and India, there are very enthusiastic people who unfortunately have to face a public attitude and practical situation where nearly everyone is cremated quickly after death. However, a larger perfusion and storage facility is currently under way in China with the help of a former Alcor employee. The patients are planned to be classified as research subjects. Regarding Canada, Ben reported about a very active group cooperating with US institutes and also planning for a Canadian storage facility. It was great to hear that a similar situation applies also for Australia where a storage facility is planned to be opened in 2017 near Sydney.

We continued with a presentation about the VIDAPLUS FOUNDATION, a life extension organisation in Spain, by Jose Cordeiro. Progress has been made in creating a network between cryonicists, research institutes and also politicians to give cryonics a push from the practical and quality point of view, as well as regarding the public opinion and acceptance. Next was Max More who gave a keynote speech about the development and his own experiences of the public acceptance of cryonics in the USA and in general. This has also changed e.g. in hospitals when talking to doctors and personnel and asking for their help in cryonics cases mostly in a more constructive and open direction. Also the situation and interest in Europe has developed positively, especially when considering all the activity reported during the conference. The first day was finished by a practical training performed by Tim Gibson and his team which came with their cryonics ambulance from UK to Basel. This was especially useful for all participants as the UK team is fully equipped and experienced in handling cryonics cases. They demonstrated, for example, their "thumper" unit and perfusion cycle and explained the most important difficulties to consider. This applies also to legal and organisational challenges like the very typical case of a young lady who suffered from cancer and was cryopreserved by CUK and stored by CI recently. Finally, the attendees got the chance to inspect the newly procured ambulance with the complete cryonics equipment inside.

The second day was opened by Prof. Patrick Hunziker with an exciting excursion into the area of up-to-date intensive care medicine using hypothermia and organ replacement. He addressed practical applications as well as methods currently under consideration for treating people between life and death. Interesting developments are, for example, miniaturised cardiac pumps and extracorporeal membrane oxygenators in cardiac arrest cases. The talk went on from remote telemedicine concepts for early diagnoses up to discussing cryogenic methods, nano-sensors and nano-systems to treat cell defects. Thereafter, David Gifford followed with a talk about extra-corporeal perfusion in cases of circulatory death. He also covered brain cooling methods for safe cerebral ischema and the possible use of neuroprotective agents. Furthermore, aspects like perfusion, cooling and oxygen supply of organ donation methods and outcomes were discussed. For cryonics, these topics might build a bridge between the methods applied currently or in the near future and those needed for a successful vitrification, unfreezing and revival procedure someday.

Going from state-of-the-art medicine to developments and research in current cryonics procedures, the scientific presentations were finalised by Aschwin de Wolf, one of the few researchers actually working specifically on cryonics procedures. Aschwin brought some good news with him, presenting the first results from recent developments of a new vitrification solution. This chemical is contrary to older versions not based on dehydration of the brain and the related strong loss in volume. Hence, a vitrification of the brain with better structural and cellular conservation and with it better conservation of the connectome is conceivable. This was a very optimistic outlook to probably witness one more small step in improving the cryonics storage quality soon.

After lunch, Udo Schifer and Torsten Nahm talked about life insurance policies for cryonics contracts. They shed light on several legal and organisational aspects and discussed a refunding model in favour of cryonics based on the situation in Germany. This might also be applied to other countries with the help of local insurance agents to give the general cryonics coverage a push. In the last talk of the conference, Torsten Nahm passionately proposed a further integration and more structured organisation of the different groups in Europe and beyond. In brainstorming with Hubert Braendle and Udo Schifer, several possible characteristics and functions of such an umbrella organisation have been sketched. The goal is a better synergy and efficiency of the remarkable efforts currently seen in Europe. The talk passed over into a very lively and fruitful discussion among all participants and a large amount of agreement and willingness in participation in this idea was expressed.

Patrick Burgermeister finished the conference with a very positive conclusion and outlook for cryonics. At this point, as a participant, I would like to express my gratitude to the CryoSuisse team for the professional and complaisant organisation of the conference.

First Annual RAAD Fest

by CI Director Stephan Beauregard

The first RAAD Festival (Revolution Against Aging and Death) took place August 4-7 with hundreds of people from all walks of life and every corner of the planet attending the event in San Diego, CA. Attendees were there to explore revolutionary approaches to promoting life extension and fighting, or even reversing, the effects of aging.

The event, the first ever to focus on the topic of aging reversal, featured some of the world’s leading authorities on life extension and aging-related topics, including physicians, scientists, inventors and health experts.

Ray Kurzweil appeared via teleconference rather than in person, which disappointed a few people, however the majority of the attendees were very happy with the event, which also included entertainment in the form of live music and dancing.


The program was divided into 6 categories, each with several speakers. 

Highlights included:



It was an exciting and colorful event with a lot of energy and great information of interest to all cryonicists. I applaud the organizers and look forward to seeing more of these types of high-profile events in the future.

Photos (RAAD 2016) Courtesy of Jean W. 

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: Giulio Prisco is Secretary of the Spanish Cryonics Society. Website is He lives in Madrid and he’s a life member of CI and is willing to serve as a contact point for Europeans. He can be contacted at: cell phone (34)610 536144 or

SWEDEN: or Facebook: Svenska Kryonikföreningen. Initially, the society will focus on providing information and assistance to those who wish to sign up for cryonics. Eventually, we also hope to provide practical assistance in cases, possibly in collaboration with other European groups.


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 phase 1 human aging reversal trials (GDF, Myostatin) in a year or two and George Church discusses how to affordably rejuvenate the whole body

The new goal is to reverse aging, not only in animals, but in humans. And age reversal is essential, as significant age-related disruption has already occurred in most people due to changes in our gene expression profiles.

Gene expression patterns change with age. This influences the rate at which an individual ages, and also determines what senile disorders they are likely to contract. But innovative gene-editing methods based on a unique technology called CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) are now being successfully harnessed for use as an age-reversal therapy for humans.”

Read the full story at
Nvidia is the new Intel and its chips are used by most of the 3000 AI startups worldwide

In a fascinating bit of silicon serendipity, it turns out that the same technology that can conjure up a gorgeous alien landscape or paint a picture-perfect explosion is also nearly optimal for the hottest area of AI: deep learning. Deep learning enables a computer to learn by itself, without programmers having to code everything by hand, and it’s leading to unparalleled levels of accuracy in areas like image and speech recognition.

Tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon are buying ever larger quantities of Nvidia’s chips for their data centers. Institutions like Massachusetts General Hospital are using Nvidia chips to spot anomalies in medical images like CT scans. Tesla recently announced it would be installing Nvidia GPUs in all of its cars to enable autonomous driving. Nvidia chips provide the horsepower underlying virtual reality headsets, like those being brought to market by Facebook and HTC.

Read the full story at
Cellular reprogramming turns back the aging clock in mice

Salk Institute scientists have extended the average lifespan of live mice by 30 percent, according to a study published December 15 in Cell. They did that by rolling back the “aging clock” to younger years, using cellular reprogramming.

TThe finding suggests that aging is reversible by winding back an animal’s biological clock to a more youthful state and that lifespan can be extended. While the research does not yet apply directly to humans, it promises to lead to improved understanding of human aging and the possibility of rejuvenating human tissues.

Read the full story at
How diabetes drug metformin prevents, suppresses cancer growth

Ancient genetic pathway suggests new ways to fight cancers and support healthy aging

A team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School investigators has identified a pathway that appears to underlie the apparent ability of the diabetes drug metformin to both block the growth of human cancer cells and extend the lifespan of the C.elegans roundworm.

That finding implies that this single genetic pathway may play an important role in a wide range of organisms — including humans. “We found that metformin reduces the traffic of molecules into and out of the nucleus — the ‘information center’ of the cell,” says Alexander Soukas, MD, PhD, of the MGH Center for Human Genetic Research, senior author of the study, published in the Thursday, Dec. 15 issue of Cell.

Read the full story at
Trump considering libertarian reformer to head FDA

Peter Thiel associate advocates anti-aging medicine and patient freedom to use new drugs found safe, at their own risk

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is considering libertarian Silicon Valley investor Jim O’Neill, a Peter Thiel associate, to head the Food and Drug Administration, Bloomberg Politics has reported.

O’Neill, the Managing Director of Mithril Capital Management LLC, doesn’t have a medical background, but served in the George W. Bush administration as principal associate deputy secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. He’s also a board member of the Seasteading Institute, a Thiel-backed venture to create new societies at sea, away from existing governments.

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A machine-learning system that trains itself by surfing the web

And so it begins...

MIT researchers have designed a new machine-learning system that can learn by itself to extract text information for statistical analysis when available data is scarce.

This new “information extraction” system turns machine learning on its head. It works like humans do. When we run out of data in a study (say, differentiating between fake and real news), we simply search the Internet for more data, and then we piece the new data together to make sense out of it all.

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Google’s new multilingual Neural Machine Translation System can translate between language pairs even though it has never been taught to do so

Machine translation breakthrough has been implemented for 103 languages

Google researchers have announced they have implemented a neural machine translation system in Google Translate that improves translation quality and enables “Zero-Shot Translation” — translation between language pairs never seen explicitly by the system.

For example, in the animation above, the system was trained to translate bidirectionally between English and Japanese and between English and Korean. But the new system can also translate between Japanese and Korean — even though it has never been taught to do so.

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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 7


Morality for Immortals

Didst thou not know that men prefer peace, even death, to freedom of choice in the knowledge of good and evil? -Dostoevsky

Now we must wrestle with our consciences, and win. The emphasis must now shift from superhumanity to immortality, from the third person to the first and second, from motivations to values and from aspirations to ethics. In particular, we must try to clarify the conflict between immortalism and traditional morality.

There is indeed, I think, such a conflict, on at least two levels. First, life extension will bring important practical changes in the effects of policies and actions; what may be “good” for a mortal may be “bad” for an immortal, because of altered perspectives and other changes. A few examples are offered.

Second, the very criteria of “good” and “bad” will change, especially in the related issues of selfishness vs. altruism, self-preservation vs. self-sacrifice, solitude vs. community, expediency vs. loyalty, pragmatism vs. principle, and growth vs. stability. The immortal superman, I believe--yourself and myself, day after tomorrow-will shift the balance substantially toward the first of each of these pairs, although with important qualifications. And again I hope to convey a feeling that these shifts are not only probable but desirable, that after the wrenching changes our position will be more comfortable as well as more logical, that the gains will far outweigh the losses. But we must begin with some emphatic disclaimers.

The Need for Relatively Stable Values

It must not be imagined that there is much connection between immortalist morality and the “ethical relativism” or “situation ethics” currently popular in some quarters, or that immortalist morality is reflected in the decadent lifestyles of some self-proclaimed avantgarde elements. The resemblances are superficial and the differences profound, as we shall gradually see.

Circumstances do indeed alter cases, and scarcely anyone now denies that cultural and individual differences bear on one’s value system. But a sudden liberation from traditional values can have the same effect as “liberation” from a safety belt in a racing car. It is astonishing how few people understand the real rationale behind the rules against cheating and stealing, or the chief danger that premarital sex poses for most girls in contemporary society. I have never had a student give the answer which I believe is valid to either of these questions-viz., that these activities tend to corrode the personality and self-image

To be sure, the notion of “natural law” is fuzzy and dubious, especially in the grotesque exaggerations of an Aquinas. Aristotle was not exactly on target in saying, 11 every ideal has a natural basis, and everything natural has an ideal development.” Kant’s “categorical imperative” has not been shown to exist. But men have enough in common, and psychology is sufficiently advanced, to make it clear that values cannot be tampered with lightly.

Maslow says, “The human being needs a framework of values, a philosophy of life, a religion or religion surrogate to live by and understand by, in about the same sense that he needs sunlight, calcium, or love.... The value illnesses which result from valuelessness are called variously anhedonia, anomie, apathy, amorality, hopelessness, cynicism, etc., and can become somatic illness as well. . . .”

Weinberg writes, 1” there is perhaps no more successful way of living than by carefully defining a value system, examining it from time to time, and upholding it. Among its numerous advantages, a code of ethics provides us with exemption from too great a dependence on other people’s opinions of us.... Being stable would seem almost a requisite for mental health.... Whenever we undertake to change our personality, we must make ourselves unstable for a time. The disequilibrium we experience as anxiety.

With these warnings soberly in mind, we must nevertheless prepare for change.

Some Effects of Longevity and Perspective

Some of the changes to be wrought by extended life and controlled personality are fairly easy to guess and to accept; let us tick. off a few, both general and specific:

(1) Misbehavior due to weakness and stupidity will decline sharply, as we become less weak and stupid. Many affronts to society, and to oneself, are simple misjudgements or failure to take the long view. Crimes of impulse, rudeness, drug abuse, berserker syndromes, acts of desperation, shortend risks, naive greed-all these should dwindle to a trickle when we are nearly all longlived, informed, capable, and in control of our personalities.

(2) The Golden Rule should work much better for immortals than for humans, even as a mere tactic of expediency. Erich Fromm, although he seems to have fallen into the humanist trap about which we shall speak later, has written: “If the individual lived five hundred or one thousand years, this clash (between his interests and those of society) might not exist or at least might be considerably reduced. He then might live and harvest with joy what he sowed in sorrow; the suffering of one historical period which will bear fruit in the next one could bear fruit for him too.”16

(3) Greater self-confidence and control of personality implies we should be less thinskinned, leading, among other things, to more gracious giving and receiving. Aristotle considered it a mark of superiority to confer a kindness, and a mark of subordination to receive one; contemporary proverbs recount the resentment of the debtor for his benefactor; and today’s militant minorities fiercely reject what is “given,” prizing only what they can seize for themselves. All this touchiness is clearly neurotic and to be outgrown.

(4) Notions of dignity and honor, for the same reason, should become much more elastic in some respects. In Athens, a gentleman had to look and sound the part-sedate carriage, deep voice (!), measured speech, narrow norms of dress, etc. In certain circles of postmedieval Europe, a sidewise glance might be a deadly insult, to be avenged on the field of honor; the same thing is said to be true among some of today’s motorcycle gangs. We are not likely to lose our need for formal courtesy, nor our sensitivity to insults but our reactions should be under much better control, responding only to real threats, our egos being very bard to bruise.

(5) Tolerance of diversity, of individual idiosyncrasy and cultural pluralism, may increase while remaining responsible. (Much “tolerance” heretofore has just been a closing of the eyes and rejection of responsibility.) There is likely to be a strong tendency to live and let live, when psychopaths and neurotics are few.

(6) When we are immensely wealthy in material and inner resources, we should have greatly reduced need for outside help, encouragement, flattery, approval, or almost any kind of interaction; there may be many solitaries and a highly fragmented, loosely-knit society. This may lead, during a certain period of history, to a devaluation of some elements of morality. We may not exactly wash our hands of other people’s troubles, nor refuse in all circumstances to be our brother’s keeper, but ‘May still tend to go our own ways, assuming the other fellow can take care of himself.

(7) Yet under some conditions there also exists the possibility of a much higher sense of community and greater esprit de corps. Paul T. Young has discussed morale in military forces, saying, “The impersonal threat of injury from the enemy, affecting all alike, produces such a high degree of cohesion throughout the unit that personal attachments become intensified.””’ Superhumans could deliberately create moral values analogous to this, with nature in the role of the “impersonal threat”, our broader perceptions and longer attention span allowing a lively and permanent sense of our beleaguered position a tiny speck of struggling consciousness, banded together against the cold and careless cosmos. This would not be a “brotherhood of man” in any syrupy sense, but a sober sense of duty born of practical necessity.

(8) There will almost certainly be a much higher price on human (or transhuman) life, for reasons obvious and otherwise. In certain kinds of industrial and construction work, costs may rise tremendously for a while because we will no longer tolerate the fatal accidents that always accompany current construction methods. We may accept great inconvenience in traffic for the sake of slightly greater safety. And a heightened sense of human dignity is almost certain to rule out prison or physical punishment for any purely financial or technical offense. (In current circumstances, however, talk of “human rights” vs. “property rights” can be very misleading.)

(9) Individual freedom may gradually come close to anarchy-and when freedom is abridged, the limits will be clearly recognized. (Is there anything more exasperating than the smug asseveration that service to God, or service to the state, is the “real freedom”? Submission may or may not be better than freedom, and one kind of freedom may or may not be consonant with another; but to say that submission is freedom is a mockery of language.) The freedom or “license” of one is not likely to be dangerous to others, because families should have ample resources to protect themselves against intrusion and their children against undesired conditioning. Freedom as a “moral” value is likely to be more exalted than it is now.

But now it is time to take a more systematic look at basic questions.

Classic Moral Philosophy

There are only two choices of basic moral guideline-to serve the whole self, or to serve society. (Erich Fromm’s third criterion, that 11 revealed or postulated,” is even less distinct.) Writing in the context of humanity and mortality, the classic philosophers have leaned heavily toward society.

A few have taken a bold stance for selfinterest, but the results, as in Epicureanism, have almost always been embarrassingly naive; the hog at the trough is no one’s ideal. Nietzsche exalted pride over humility, but in the end nevertheless sacrificed the individual to a neurotic idealism. (He had some unusually forward looking ideas, however, on the relation of biology and chemistry to temperament, speculating that the Asiatic outlook might derive from rice and the German from beer.) Spinoza purports to “prove,” through logic, that self-preservation is man’s primary motivation, but from this naive beginning be proceeds to the conclusion that supermen will free themselves from the individualism of the instincts and “desire nothing for themselves which they do not also desire for the rest of mankind. “ 160

Most of the others came down heavily for the herd, often making explicit such principles as “The greatest good for the greatest number” or “Do as you would wish others to do.” Immanuel Kant said, “We know ... by vivid and immediate feelings, that we must avoid behavior which, if adopted by all men, would render social life impossible.... Morality is not properly the doctrine how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.” Plato said that morality is the effective harmony of the whole, that all moral conceptions revolve about the good of the whole. Thousands of years later John Dewey, the “modern,” the “humanist,” was still saying morality is in community and acknowledging that in this community we seek a kind of immortality. The ecclesiastics offered essentially similar views, shored up by theology and tortured logic, culminating in the amazing St. Thomas Aquinas, who tamed logic to “prove” such propositions as the immortality of the soul and to investigate such questions as “whether one angel moves another angel’s will.”

There have been occasional oases in these deserts of thought, however-notably in William James, who emphasized pragmatism-”hanging loose”-and the value of the individual; be reminded us that the state is the trustee and servant of the interests of individuals, and promoted a philosophy that shall “offer the universe as an adventure rather than a scheme.”” But these ideas must be elaborated considerably to be appreciated, both as to background and the new context.

The Natural History of Idealism

The idealist is about to become extinct, I believe, because the lies be lives by are no longer useful. The human race has always been psychotic, but now it is time to go sane and face reality. Being stripped of our delusions may be a little less painful if we are more clearly aware of their origins.

Until very recent times, dedication to a principle or cause was nearly essential both to society and the individual. Society required certain loyalties, even unto death, for military and disciplinary reasons; the individual needed just as much to commit himself, for a sense of worth and purpose in a world otherwise seemingly bare of both. (Our young, especially in changing times, have always been hollow with selfdoubt, pathetically anxious for “identity” and eager to latch on to any apparent mooring; when old flags become too obviously threadbare, there is a desperate search for new ones.)

Among the lower animals the evolutionary necessity or value of certain types of behavior is obvious. The spider lays thousands of eggs, and some will mature without protection: in fact, about the same number would probably survive with or without parental protection. Hence parental devotion has no particular value to the species, and is unknown.

With birds, the case is different: the small number and early helplessness of the young means that parental devotion is indispensable for survival of the race. The mommy and daddy birds may or may not benefit from their protective feelings. If they could think about it, they would probably feel their attitude is “good” and “right,” and would have only contempt for the selfish and uncaring spiders. (And the birds would have very reasonable explanations for their habit of forgetting the young beyond nestling age.)

Even higher orders of devotion are exhibited by some birds; in certain species, the individual who observes a fox may scream a warning to the flock, even though this draws attention to himself and reduces his chances to survive. His loyalty tends to improve the chances of the flock as a whole, including his own offspring; hence the trait is perpetuated.

What avian odes might be warbled and screeched about the plumed paladins of copse and cove!

Astronomer Fred Hoyle has remarked how the flower of civilization grows from a swamp. Imagine, if you can, the billions and trillions of lesser creatures, our subhuman predecessors, who lived in misery and died in agony that they might, bit by bit, blindly and unconsentingly, build to a higher species. The “shriek in the jungle,” multiplied a trillionfold, reverberates down the bloody tunnels of time. Imagine the thousands of generations of our human ancestors who walked the tightrope between cave and grave, maintaining always the necessary precarious balance between selfpreservation and selfsacrifice. We can think of them with respect, and gratitude, but also with pity, and we can consider following a sharply divergent path-if our body chemistry will stand it. Of this, more later.

In the past, our actions had to pass several survival tests-for individuals, for families, for societies, for institutions. Those patterns of action, and hence those patterns of thought and feeling underlying the actions, tend to be perpetuated which favor survival and dissemination. Yet, it is apt to give us a very queer sensation to turn it around and reflect that, in effect, we were forced to think the way we do by a blind bookkeeper; many of our most important feelings and decisions arise not out of nobility, not even out of reason, but merely out of obedience to evolutionary laws of cause and effect.

Devotion to our children is a nearly universal trait among mankind. Yet rationalize it or idealize it bow we will, it arose as an evolutionary adaptation; just so coldly unromantic is its basis. We are no better than the spiders, only perhaps unluckier in that the fewness and puniness of our offspring severely restrict our freedom of action. Are we better than the birds and bears, because these turn their children out when they can fend for themselves, and there-after know them not? In fact, it is believed that in early human or prehuman societies the sons would kill the fathers, or the fathers drive out the sons, when the boys neared maturity; but the preservation of acquired wisdom, and the stability of clans, have survival value for the species able to deal in these complexities, and so our habits developed to a “higher” order. (Among royalty, however, the old habits frequently recurred.)

Why do we defend our homes and countries? Sometimes, of course, such defense is appropriate to preservation of self and family and property, and seems quite rational. But we may be just as vigorous in defense even when survival and well-being might seem better served by other actions; in particular, there might seem little logic in an individual accepting risk in a modern war-is not malingering often more reasonable? Clearly, a degree of idealism, of loyalty to causes and totems, has played a part in helping tribes survive and prevail; thus we are born with these loyalties, or the tendency to them, in blood and bone. (Many of our Vietniks were stayed from service, not by selfishness, but by a competing ideal.)

Robert Ardrey has written a whole book (The Territorial Imperative) on the thesis that man is a territorial animal, like many other species, and that he defends his stake instinctually-he just can’t help it, and reason makes no difference.’ Ardrey’s ideas, although similar to some of Konrad Lorenz, have not been particularly well received by anthropologists, and the impulse to defend territory may not rest on a full-fledged biological compulsion, but on a biological predilection developed by culture. What does it matter? Whether it is narrowly the species preserving itself, or the society, or institution, is not the individual just as much a pawn?

Consider the soldier who falls on a hand grenade to save his comrades, or the mother who gives the last bit of bread to the children, or the priest who accepts celibacy for life, or (on another level?) the woman undressed in a burning building who perishes there rather than run naked into the street. Are all of these serving noble and reasonable ends, or are some of them victims of poorly understood habits and social pressures misconstrued as ideals? Are they being sacrificed to a mindless machine-species, or state, or church, or culture-which has developed its own imsensate but relentless techniques of survival?

Most of us will defend and admire the mother, and refuse to put her in the same category as the woman who feared embarrassment more than death. Americans will tend to respect and defend the priest-but Russians will think him deluded; and Americans will be inclined to rationalize the soldier’s sacrifice only if he is an American or allied soldier, a gook being not a hero but a deluded fanatic.

One may ask, what does it matter the origin of our ideals, what does it matter the biological basis of our motivation? Are we not, in any event, stuck with them, and should we not,  not, therefore, make the best and most of them?  Whatever it was that made us men, are we not now committed to humanity?

The answer is negative: first, because our “humanity” consists of warring elements which cannot be reconciled; consists of warring elements which cannot be reconciled, second, because times have changed, the old balances are out of kilter, and even the biological basis of our humanity will soon be a question of  policy and deliberate change.

The Secular Religions

The flakiest forms of the traditional insanity-idealism-are seen in Eastern Communism and Western humanism, which are the principal secular religions. (A “religion” seems to be characterized mainly by dedication and fellowship, with a divinity and formal worship not essential.) These represent extremes of idealistic behavior which reveal the full degree of the aberration.

The Communist, and the humanist, may be thought “nobler” than the Christian or Moslem (i.e., crazier) because they make their sacrifices without hope of personal reward in any afterlife; they labor, and if need be suffer, merely for the “holy joy of doing good” for the community, or for posterity. The very purity of this dedication reveals its absurdity.

They seldom ask why the state, or posterity, is so important. If they did, the only reasonable answers would be inadequate: the state has some importance because of its interaction with the individual and support of him; posterity has some importance because we are interested in the welfare of our grandchildren. But the Communist and humanist attach unquestioning and overriding importance to the state, or posterity, in their most extreme and sterile concepts, just for the mystic delusion of merging with the universal. An ideal of this kind represents a sanctuary, a haven from certain unpleasant thoughts and unwelcome responsibilities. It offers psychic safety, secure mooring, an apparently honorable place in some grand scheme.

In the context of modem dynamism and the new biology, the “noble sentiments” of the idealist become maudlin sentimentality. In the perspective of cultural and biological history, even the noblest sacrifice or grandest achievement is a drop in the tide, a snowflake in the storm, soon irrelevant and sooner forgotten. Institutions change and perish: will you lay down your life for a possible footnote in future histories, perhaps a derogatory one at that? The very genetic character of man will be transformed. Can you imagine that the supermen of the future (if you are not among them) will remember you clearly or gratefully, any more than we honor our simian and piscine predecessors? And even if they will, would that butter any parsnips?

These observations may be reminiscent of the tired views of cynics and hedonists, and it may seem that the answers of the traditional moralists apply. One such answer is that the cynic’s argument, carried to its logical conclusion, strips life of all meaning and savor; that every loyalty becomes equally meaningless and arbitrary. Another answer, or perhaps a different form of the same answer, is that experience proves the sense of reverence is fundamental in man and requisite for mental health. But in fact, the new questions are not the same as the old questions, and the old answers have not retained their force, as I shall attempt gradually to show.

The Formal Religions

It will be helpful also to consider those sects with the full trappings of religion, including rituals and prayer. It has often been argued that such are essential for the full flowering of civilization; but it seems to me they lack any unique claim, and represent merely another example of idealism.

The social argument for church-sponsored morality has been summarized by Will Durant: “The Church believed that these natural or secular sources of morality could not suffice.... A moral code bitterly uncongenial to the flesh must bear the seal of a supernatural origin if it is to be obeyed . . . in the most secret moments and coverts of life .”41 Probably most ministers today maintain this belief, especially in the face of the challenges of “Godless Communism” and “decadent relativism.”

But it is by no means clear that religious people in the United States are better behaved than irreligious ones-and if it were somehow found to be true, it would still be hard to separate cause from effect. Nor does it appear that standards of personal behavior are lower in atheistic countries; the Chinese, for example, seem just as decent as the Filipinos or Americans. In fact, one could make a case for the superiority of the Communist over the Christian, since the latter requires the carrot and stick of Heaven and Hell to make him behave. That the Communist so seldom cheats in favor of his own selfish interests is a tribute both to his character and his ideology; that the Christian so often sins, despite the dazzling promise and the blood-curdling threat, makes him all the more an object of contempt; or so a cynic might say. Furthermore, the cynic might add that the emphasis on faith rather than works for salvation tends to invite hypocrisy, the eyes raised to Heaven while the feet dance in filth.

Of course, such a cynic would be wrong-but why? One reason, paradoxically, is that the bulk of the faithful are not really all that Christian. They have frequent theological doubts, if they think about it at all; Heaven and Hell remain dim and distant; the actual, functional determinants of behavior are largely the same for them as for unbelievers, namely habit and social pressure, with an occasional flash of reason or impulse. As for those who have received the Christian vision in its full intensity (probably very few), they obviously are not just celestial bribe-takers; they are consumed by love of God (whatever they mean by that) and man (which is almost as unclear), and while they glory in their expected reward, they would serve just as whole-heartedly without it, or with a less explicit prize. After all, large numbers of Jews, and adherents of other religions as well, did and do travel what they conceive to be the high road for no reason other than to keep their feet out of the muck.

The main faults of the major denominations, it seems to me, are simply those they share with all ideals and utopias, which may be deceptive and baneful in several respects. First, they amputate abstractions from their roots in the individual and then invest the abstractions, rather than the individuals, with fundamental importance; put another way, they bloat the importance of a few (probably temporary) aspects of the individual’s psyche at the expense of the rest, and even at the expense of his existence. Second, any vision of perfection or finality entertained by such lowly savages as we is nearly certain, in the perspective of history, to be a ridiculous and diminutive illusion. Third, the utopias have in practice been mostly of a dreary, negative character, concerned with nothing more imaginative than the elimination of sin or of what the Maoists would call “incorrect behavior.” If we embrace these ideals we may remain lulled, and cozened, engrossed in our fumbling little games, even ascribing nobility and ultimate virtue to them, while all undiscovered the great world and limitless life are waiting.

The Quasi-Religions

There are many causes or ideals that rank lower than the formal religions and the major secular religions, but still have sufficient elements of dedication and fellowship to be characterized as quasireligions; among these at present might be included, say the civil rights movement, the states’ rights movement, feminism, and assorted varieties of nationalism. Since the taboos here are not quite as rigid, and since examples each with relatively few adherents can be found, we may be able to see more clearly the features of irrationality and counter-productivity. Today in America this is especially easy in connection with youth and the civil rights movement.

The saving grace of militant youth, according to the pundits, is its “idealism,” which tends (they imply) to redeem and excuse obstructive and even destructive behavior, and which could be channelled into useful efforts. But it seems to me, once more, that idealism or quasi-religion of the kind that creates martyrs is basically insane and vicious, and that educators should aim not to harness it, but to eradicate it.

Certainly idealists have contributed much to the world, and when they do good we speak of “devotion” rather than 11 obsession.” But a crusading Hitler or Torquemada would be seen from outside as at best a zealot, and more likely a fanatic. On the whole, idealists have probably done much more harm than good in the world, both to themselves and others, and the conditions of today and tomorrow particularly call for sober judgment and flexible attitudes, rather than ringing rhetoric and eternal principles.

Can an excess of virtue be a vice? Words are tricky, and differences are usually quantitative. There may not be much sky between “fanaticism” and “enthusiasm;” and one can, if be wishes, speak even of doubt and pragmatism as “ideals.” (When we are supermen, our language will be more precise.) But the kind of idealism that creates martyrs is often easy to recognize, and its logic is as crooked as its effects are pernicious.

As an extreme example, consider the two young white men, Schwerner and Goodman, who were murdered in Mississippi while participating in a Negro civil rights campaign. Although those demonstrations were largely orderly and law-abiding, still the risk was substantial. Why were these young men willing to risk the supreme sacrifice?

Cruel as it may seem to say so, I think their motives were largely neurotic. Unsure of their own worth and purpose, they sought assurance and fulfillment through attachment to a Cause. The grandeur of the Cause, they probably felt, would lend dignity and value to their own lives-irrespective of the outcome of their efforts.

This is the insidious lure of any crusade: it is failure-proof. The valiant idealist need not win, and seldom even expects to prevail. Failure is easily excused, since (1) he is fighting an uphill battle against enormous forces of evil, and (2) victory for the Cause in the long run is assured, and be has made his contribution. Even to die is not to fail, but to become a martyr whose memory will inspire others, so that the fallen hero “lives on.”

Does this mean that everyone who battles against odds for a principle is really copping out? Of course not. In the case of some-especially the leaders-there may be a shrewd assessment of opportunities, including personal benefit. (Most of the spokesmen for the oppressed do pretty well for themselves, in one coin or another.) Even for the humble spear-carrier, there may be an emotional history that absolutely demands this kind of commitment. But what may have been compelling for a Malcolm X is not impressive for a Schwerner or Goodman; they had better choices, tinder just slightly different conditions and so do most of us.

Needless to say, the more obvious kind of copout is not restricted to racial minorities, nor to political liberals, but it is found most frequently among the young, who tend to value themselves too little and the world too much. There used to be a saying in Europe: “He who at twenty is not a Socialist has no heart, and he who at forty is still a Socialist has no brains.” Traditionally, the young have had to learn, in the school of hard knocks, that providing for a family is both more important and more difficult than “saving the world.”

A final word may be in order about the possible standing of cryonics itself  is an “ideal;” I have been explicitly challenged on that score, and asked whether I would not sacrifice myself for this cause. The answer is no: I am interested only secondarily in saving my generation, and primarily in saving my own family and friends and myself, not necessarily in that order.

The Morality of Self-Interest

Even if we have succeeded in showing that the morality of community is empty and delusory, it does not necessarily follow that the morality of self-interest is valid, or even that the latter term has any proper meaning. We had better dot some is and cross some t’s.

We note that the doctrine of enlightened self-interest is well known, but seldom effectively applied or even made sufficiently explicit. As remarked elsewhere, everyone is always motivated by self-interest in the most direct sense; that is, we act as we do to please ourselves, or to please some aspect of ourselves (even if only to avoid a worse alternative). This is true even of unconsciously motivated behavior and of self-destructive behavior. Our errors lie in misjudging the effects of our actions, on the world and on ourselves, in comparison with the alternatives, and especially in failing to realize that our criteria of value change and can be changed.

There is nothing new, startling, or shocking in advocating selfishness, if it is viewed in this light. At the risk of some confusion, I can change the terminology and say the same thing with less offensiveness: obey your conscience, and train your conscience. The confusion here arises because “conscience” has come to have connotations of altruism, when really there is no such thing as altruism in any private sense; there are only various facets of one’s personality, and more or less effective ways to satisfy their respective needs.

What some of these ways are, and how they may change, shall be touched upon presently, but there are immediate objections to be answered. For example, if every choice is properly only an exercise in mathematical decision theory, an attempt to maximize happiness, then does the word “morality” retain any meaning, beyond that of efficiency? I think there are two useful and appropriate applications of the word “morality.” First, one distinguishes between short and long-term interests, between temptations and duties to oneself; morality lies in resisting the temptation to betray one’s greater good, Second, one can continue to associate morality with intuitive ideas of “fairness ... .. justice,” “right,” and the other normative notions, while reminding ourselves that these are only working hypotheses subject to change. (And perhaps these normative ideas will include aesthetics, so that bad art or bad taste will be a form of immorality.)

There are also problems with our view of “idealism” and its origins. Does not life require convictions and enthusiasms, which could be called principles and ideals? And can these not have valid sources in our enlightened consciousness? Once more, the crucial questions are quantitative, situational, and personal. One will buy principles and ideals now and then, but his portfolio should be balanced, not over-invested in any one ideal; there should be a substantial casli reserve and frequent review; and of course, the ideals in which he invests must be suited to himself, not to any other person, natural or corporate. “Idealist” can remain a respectable word only if its meaning is watered down and its connotations cleaned up. Moral ideals must not be associated with finality or perfection; they should be hypotheses subject to continuing reappraisal. With long life, this is feasible.

A Program for Reevaluation

The actual prescription for continuing moral reevaluation is not difficult to give in sufficiently broad terms. In reviewing our value system, we use three partly overlapping criteria: selfinterest, internal consistency, and flexibility or allowance for growth. In contemplating a particular course of action three things need be considered: how it fits our current value system; how it may tend to change our values; and the respective weights of promise and risk-with an especially hard look at possibly irreversible changes.

In different words, once more: obey your conscience, and train your conscience. We want maximum growth, but a carefully controlled growth slow enough to keep one’s emotional and moral identity reasonably stable and well structured at any given time. A sudden, bard blow might shatter the personality; but a steady push in the right direction may get us where we want to go, if we can figure out where that is.

More specifically, most of us probably need to reduce our institutional loyalties-a suggestion that will infuriate and confuse many.

Remember John F. Kennedy? “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask rather what you can do for your country.” This solemn reversal of priorities is actually accepted, in varying degree, by allegedly sane people in a nontotalitarian country. What a cancerous overgrowth of the need for esteem and approval! The sane (selfish) person will always subordinate his country’s interests to his own, or his family’s, whenever there is a clear-cut choice; but we must emphasize that, in practice, the feedbacks are complex and the choice seldom clear-cut.

We emphasize also that the recent deterioration of patriotism and national unity does not represent an anticipation of the recommendations outlined here. This deterioration does not represent valid efforts to improve value systems, but merely the substitution of different totems for the flag, or else a simple disintegration. There have been many periods in history when one set of false values decayed, to be replaced by another set equally fraudulent. Despite some superficial resemblances, immortalist morality has made only a tiny, nearly invisible beginning.

What about those too brittle, still too committed to “universals,” to entertain the notion of “betraying” one’s country? If he is capable of recognizing the validity of self interest on an intellectual basis, then he may gradually bring his emotions and conditioning under control with an oblique approach, by first abjuring loyalty to less-important institutions, such as organized charity. For example, if be has been buying Care packages for an Asian country, he might quit, as a little light exercise in applied selfishness, softening up his conscience for remolding. But this suggestion, again, has important qualifications.

Force-feeding our sense of selfinterest need not necessarily wait until we are superhuman, but the external and internal results of such meddling are bard to predict. For an amateur to attempt to adjust his own psyche is a little like trying to perform brain surgery on oneself with a mirror and a hacksaw. It is a little like that; yet nearly all of us desperately need to change, and I for one intend to keep whittling on my tumors.

Despite the repeated qualifications and disclaimers, some will still think we are advocating a simplistic, hoggish-type of selfishness, and that we are ready to forego all the warmth and support of human community and loyalties. Not so. Man-let alone superman-operates on several levels and can learn to shift gears rather easily. The woman who enjoys operating complex machinery can still also enjoy a simple stroll; the most sophisticated adult can on occasion delight in childish horseplay and atrocious puns; a cynical San Franciscan can watch a band of itinerant mercenaries and still take pride in “his” Giants when they win a game; and we all know how to bask in the reflected glory of distant relatives and remote ancestors, while quietly disassociating ourselves from their failures and crimes. So it goes; there is nothing wrong with a little double think, so long as everyone understands the game. When community serves, enjoy it; when it gets in the way, stomp on it. Just don’t be sneaky about it, because then you will probably be disliked by everyone, including yourself.

To recapitulate and summarize, I envision the following protocol for a person of reasonably normal and stable personality. First, one makes his world-view as explicit as possible, and examines as carefully as he can the structure of his personality. In so doing, he will find certain elements of inconsistency or conflict; typically, he will discover himself the victim of institutional conditioning, with disproportionate emphasis on the altruistic and communal aspects of his conscience. (But some will find they have not given enough attention or respect to the traditional wisdom.) He will then-gingerly and gently, with frequent critical review-attempt to modify his emphases, or the shape of his conscience, probably in the direction of reduced altruism and a more carefully calculated selfinterest.

Whether we can really climb this spiral staircase, whether, in the long run, this growth-and-feedback process will prove viable in a community, or even in an individual remains to be seen. The enormously hopeful factor, the gloriously novel element, lies in the prospect of immortality and transhumanity, which provides the elbow room and motivation which have never been present in all the ages of man, until now.

Priorities of Loyalties

To get down to cases, my examples so far having been few and well-hedged, just how should we allocate loyalties, and how far should they extend?

As a first approximation, loyalty attaches primarily to those people, principles, and institutions closest and most important to us. Crude and obscure as this rule may be, I think we can get some mileage out of it.

Casual application of this principle would seem to tell us that the people claiming our loyalties, in descending order of priority, are oneself, immediate relatives and close friends, more distant relatives and friends, fellow citizens, and finally foreigners; and our actions and feelings often do acknowledge this sequence-charity begins at home and all that. Most of us would and do go to much more trouble to save inconvenience for a friend than to save the life of a starving Pakistani; and I think this attitude is correct-it simply isn’t feasible at this time, for most of us, to worry over much about those mountains of misery in distant places.

But intuition is by no means a reliable guide. A trivial and well-known example is that of the husband who berates his wife just because she has slightly embarrassed him, through some gaucherie, in front of a waiter or clerk or other stranger. Of course, he is not subordinating her to the waiter, but either (1) to his own vanity, or (2) to an unmanageable sense of propriety; but he can still redeem the situation and avoid recurrences by reminding himself that his wife is very close to the inmost circle. Similar remarks can be made about those (very many) who habitually are more polite and considerate to strangers than to their own families.

This crude rule of thumb-a kind of psychological inverse square law-has other easy applications as well, for those reasonably stable and self-confident. One does not ordinarily accept dares, play “chicken,” or volunteer for hazardous duty. A young woman does not forego marriage to care for her invalid mother. Parents support their children against the community, and even against the law, if that appears truly in the children’s best interests. When misbehavior and alienation reach a certain point, parents may disown their children.

Remember we said the conclusions above would be drawn by someone who recognizes our priorities, and who is “reasonably stable and self-confident.” Some parents would refuse, say, to help a son convicted of manslaughter to escape to South America; usually this would show, I think, that they were unduly under the influence of social conditioning. But this is not the only possible interpretation; perhaps social sanctions, rightly or wrongly, are near the core of the parents’ personalities, and the son is estranged, so their refusal to help him is properly selfish and correctly calculated, at least for the short term.

Let no one be misled by hypothetical questions involving physical risk and emergency situations. Most of us would risk our lives to save someone near and dear in a crisis, and this is possibly correct and necessary for a long time to come, for selfrespect and mutual esteem; but there are some very relevant things easily forgotten. For one thing, in the conditions of modern life, the question of physical self-sacrifice or even risk seldom arises. (Children sometimes agonize over hypothetical questions of this type: “If Mom, Dad, and Sister were drowning, whom would I save first?” “If I were a prisoner of the Viet Cong, would I let them cut off my testicles rather than give military information?” And so on.) In the hard practicalities of everyday life, there are indeed limits on the sacrifices we will make for those near us. Friendships are sometimes more cherished and valued than family relationships, even though there is no question of loyalty “unto death.” Those who are cowardly or timid may still be capable of giving and receiving love. And those who imagine their near ones are indissolubly bound to them are living in a fool’s paradise; have they never heard of divorce?

Superman will doubtless prize himself and his potential above everyone and everything else; but this does not mean he will be a cunning, slavering hyena, treacherous and cannibalistic, or that such a future will be cold or cruel or lonely. Our skills may grow in subjective value, but not to infinity, for obvious reasons; our courage, when we reach transhuman estate, can be expected to overtower current standards, but to serve the more fully selfconscious self, not quaint or grotesque totems.

At present, we typically give blind allegiance to various ideals-yet often the quality of our service is not high. The traditional American was a strong patriot, but lie did not always treat his neighbors well. In the future we can expect coolly to limit our allegiances, but to imbue them with vastly more value, the casual friendship of a superman being warmer and more useful than the blood oath of a human. if everyone understands exactly how far a given loyalty extends, and does not expect more, there can be no betrayal.

Each of us must be capable of standing, in the end, alone, if need be. But such a grim necessity should be a far, far more remote contingency among us as supermen than it is today.



The Penultimate Trump