ISSUE 01 |  2016


A Great Start to 2016

CI President Dennis Kowalski

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first 2016 issue of the CI Newsletter! There are a lot of exciting new things to report already this year. First, recognizing our increased growth and subsequent workload, we decided it was time to add some depth at the CI Facility in terms of full-time staff. I am very happy to welcome Hillary McCauley as our newest employee. As of December of 2015, Hillary was hired as a Perfusion Specialist and Office Administrator. We have worked with Hillary on several past occasions, including the gold standard cryoperfusion of Aaron Winborn. She is both experienced and licensed to surgically access and perform patient perfusions. We’re confident Hillary will be a hardworking, intelligent and friendly asset to CI and our members. So if you see her at CI or speak with her on the phone be sure to say hello and welcome her aboard!

Hillary has been aggressively going through member files and updating paperwork such as contract funding and other important information, so don’t be surprised if you see her name in emails as well. If you want to help yourself and Hillary, please send in your proof of contract funding on an annual basis.

We have received some generous donations from David and Connie Ettinger to replace our entire roof and start some exciting new research. Thank you both for your level of commitment. There are too many other generous donors to mention here, but, rest assured, you all are making a noticeable difference and you have the gratitude of everyone in the organization.

We are launching a new Research Initiative focusing on the latest vitrification procedures in organ preservation. Recent discoveries have shown dramatically improved tissue viability and reduced toxicity. Our hopes are to use what we learn to directly improve our patient perfusions here at CI, giving our members the latest and best technology coming from the cryobiology community. If you are interested in donating to cryonics research you can either give now directly to CI at, which frees up operational expenses to invest in more research, or you can specify that you would like your money to go directly to research. We have full funding for our 2015 and 2016 research projects, but we are always taking donations for 2017 and beyond. Money invested helps CI to bring the best service to you and your families when you truly need it most.

Great job and thanks to director Stephan Beauregard who has helped to push our Facebook membership up past the 10,000 mark. Kudos and thanks to member Shannon Blevins who has also helped our outreach efforts by growing CI’s Twitter account to over 900 followers. The new CI newsletter has reached past 1,400 subscribers and continues growing.

Reaching out to people with these social media venues has proved to be a very useful tool in our efforts to spread positive news about cryonics and the Cryonics Institute. If you haven't joined our social media channels, please take some time to do so by following the links below.


I have received a few emails from concerned CI members who asked me to mention and/or make a correction to an older reprint of a recently published article entitled “The Case for Whole body Cryopreservations” by Michael B. O’Neal, Ph.D. and Aschwin de Wolf.

While the article as titled makes a strong case for whole body cryopreservations, it also says that “the default procedure at the Cryonics Institute is to perform cryoprotective perfusion with a vitrification agent for the upper body and give the rest of the body a straight freeze”. This has not been the case for several years and our website has been corrected to reflect the current standard, which is to perfuse the head and body at virtually the same time. This is important to clarify and could result in the implication that CI’s whole body cryopreservations are not being done to the highest current standard. I can attest that not only are our cryopreservations performed to the highest standards, but that they are also some of the most affordable in the industry. We take great pride in being able to delivery this type of quality to our members. High standard affordability translates potentially into more lives saved. That’s not a trivial point.

Many people are seeing and talking about the positive changes at CI and it is bringing in more donations and noticeable growth in our membership. I am happy to announce that last year we hit record membership and the trend is increasing. Those numbers still seem small when you think of all the people of the world who are dying needlessly, but it is empowering to see us heading in the right direction.

In short, we continue to improve our facility, our operation, and our staffing levels have increased. We have new research initiatives and both interest and membership are growing at a faster pace. I am very excited and happy about what I see.

As always, I encourage members to take an active role in volunteering for one of the many initiatives and projects we have on our "to do" list. If you have special skills in programming, public relations, web development, science or just a desire to help out, please sign up at our Volunteer Page. This is a new feature on the web site, so watch for updates on volunteer projects and opportunities online and in future issues of the CI Newsletter.

We need your help to make CI stronger and especially for members to pre-plan their suspension arrangements so that we all have the best possible chance at extended life. Remember, we are all part of a cooperative organization, and you have the opportunity and responsibility to improve your own suspension through the efforts you put forth in pre-planning. We have provided a suspension checklist for you to follow and resources to help you prepare, so I urge you to take advantage of what we have available and start your suspension planning now.

Make the future yours!

Help Promote Cryonics!

If you know someone who might be interested in cryonics, share our newsletter:



What's Happening at the Cryonics Institute

2016 AGM Dates Announced

3 P.M. Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Make plans now for the Cryonics Institute’s 2016 Annual General Meeting. The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Cryonics Institute will be held at 3PM on Sunday, September 11th, 2016 at the CI facility, 24355 Sorrentino Court, Clinton Township, Michigan 48035 (USA). The Immortalist Society’s annual meeting will be held after CI’s meeting. The two meetings generally last most of the afternoon.

A buffet dinner & social follow. The CI facility will be open to guests and visitors one hour before the meeting begins. Meetings offer an excellent opportunity to see the facility, meet other members, get a sense of the status of the Cryonics Institute & Immortalist Society and to see Officers, Directors & Staff. For those who come a day early, an informal dinner will be held on Saturday evening at a local restaurant.

Agenda items for the CI AGM will include the President’s Report, Treasurer’s Report and Investment report as well as business issues that arise. The winners of the 2016 CI Board of Director election will also be announced. Tours of the CI Facility will also be avalable for interested guests. There is no charge for the buffet dinner, but we need to know how much food to order. The Annual Meeting is open to the general public. We request that we be informed if you wish to attend. For driving directions, more meeting information and to confrm attendance, send e-mail to, phone (586) 791-5961 or visit

Night-Before Dinner

CI members & the public are welcome to join us the night before the offcial CI AGM at Ike's restaurant for a casual dinner and drinks (all foods include Vegan options.) We will meet Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 6pm at Ike's Restaurant, 38550 Van Dyke Avenue, Sterling Heights (MI) 48312, near the Cryonics Institute. For a complete menu and directions,please visit Ike's Restaurant


We’re excited to report that CI is now represented on all 5 continents, having added two new members in Ghana, Africa. We also set a new record in 2015, adding 116 new members over the course of the year! Let’s keep up the positive momentum in 2016 and beyond - share this newsletter with your friends and family, participate in our social media forums and help spread the word about CI!

Radical Life Extension Conference

August 4-7, 2016 | San Diego, CA

RAAD Fest combines the energy and fun of a festival, the empowerment and interaction of personal development, with cutting edge science presented for a lay audience to create the "first and best holistic radical life extension event ever."

Hear from top scientists, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders addressing every aspect of radical life extension, from nutrition and new gene therapies, to the power of personal intention, the sociology of immortality and advancement in artificial intelligence.

You will also have the opportunity to interact with our experts as well as share your own views.To learn more, see the RAAD Festival ad later in this magazine or visit .

CI Director Joe Kowalsky Speaks at Perpetual Life Meeting

CI’s own Joe Kowalsky was the feaured speaker at the Church of Perpetual Life onThursday, January 28 in Hollywood, Fla. Joe’s topic was “how will “being human” change when humans can change themselves?” View the video at

From the Perpetual Life website: “Perpetual Life is a science-based church that is open to people of all faiths. We are non-denominational and non-judgmental. We hold faith in the technologies and discoveries of humanity to end aging and defeat involuntary death within our lifetime.""


Sign up now!

The Life Extension Foundation’s popular Teens and Twenties event for Young Cryonicists is scheduled for Fri-Sun, April 8-10, 2016 in Ontario, California. The event is open to fully signed up (financially covered and contracted) cryonics enthusiats ages 18-30 or 13-17 accompanied by a parent or guardian (age as of April 10, 2016.) The event will give attendees the chance to network with current cryonics experts as well as the cryonics leaders of the future, all while being updated on the latest scientific research. There will be presentations, "get acquainted" activities and much more. Additonally, the Life Extension Foundation is offering 40 paid scholarships to attend the event. Applications must be received by March 4, 2016. For complete details download the event package HERE.

Meet Hillary McCauley

CI's New Perfusion Specialist & Office Administrator

CI is pleased to welcome Hillary McCauley to our team as a Perfusion Specialist and Office Administrator working out of our Clinton Township Facility.

Hillary was born and raised in the Detroit area and is currently a resident of Clinton Township, Michigan. She graduated from Roseville High School in 2009 and began to attend The University of Detroit Mercy’s Nursing Program until deciding to switch her major to Mortuary Science. She was accepted into the Mortuary Science Program at Wayne State University and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in 2014. Hillary is a Licensed Funeral Director/Mortician for the State of Michigan. Prior to working for the Cryonics Institute, she worked for several funeral homes in the Metro-Detroit area. She got involved with CI by assisting with multiple patient perfusions while working for Jim and Sara Walsh of Faulmann & Walsh Funeral Home. Hillary now works for CI as a Perfusion Technician and Office Administrator.

We had a chance to ask Hillary a few questions about her new role at CI.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in Roseville, MI and moved to Clinton Township, MI just before I graduated from Roseville High School in 2009. My boyfriend's name is Michael, we met in mortuary school. We have been together for over two  years now and have plans to get married towards the end of 2017. I have no children and do not plan on having kids in the future.

Please explain your educational & professional background.

First, I attended the University of Detroit Mercy for their McAuley School of Nursing, which would have been a bachelor's degree. I stopped half way through the program after getting a nurse technician job at a hospital and realizing that was not the career I wanted.

I then transferred to Wayne State University and worked on some pre-requisite classes before being able to apply to the Mortuary Science program there. (I attribute my interest in that field to losing my mother to cancer when I was young. I was 16 and she was 42. I wanted to help people get through what I went through with my loss and grieving) I got accepted into the program and began at the end of the summer in 2013. I graduated from the program in July of 2014 with my bachelor's in mortuary science. (I chose to do the full time program in order to finish in a year. The other option was a part time, two year program). I then had to take a national board exam and a state board exam to become licensed. I am licensed in Michigan as a Funeral Director/Embalmer and have been for almost a year now. However, I have been working in the funeral business for three years now and worked for three different Metro-Detroit area funeral homes.

How does working for CI fit with your chosen career path?

CI fits with my career path quite well because I am still dealing with end of life matters, or maybe it would be more appropriate to say end of first life cycle matters. While it is certainly different than planning/running a funeral, there are similarities and I am able to apply what I have learned from previous jobs to my job here at CI. The perfusion of the patients is very similar to the embalming process that I would perform on decedents while working at funeral homes. Communicating with members or their families is also similar to how I would communicate with families at the funeral homes. The families of CI will be grieving a loss when we receive a patient and I have a great amount of experience handling those kind of situations. I think a very important matter is that while this is a very unique disposition choice, it is a choice that should be taken seriously and be dealt with respectively. At the funeral homes, people would choose either cremation or burial and I would respect that choice and do my best to uphold the wishes of the deceased and their families. The same applies here at CI.  I will do everything necessary to uphold the trust that our members and their families place in us and work towards the best perfusion/suspension possible in each situation. I feel the same when it comes to dealing with pets as well. I assisted at a pet funeral home while working for Faulmann & Walsh funeral home and it is just as important to make sure the pet and their family are taken care of with dignity and empathy. The trust that members and their families place in us is something I take very seriously and gained a lot of experience with while working in the funeral business.

What are your responsibilities at CI?

The title I have been given is Perfusion Technician/Office Administrator.

My responsibilities include office administration procedures such as maintaining/updating the database and files with our members' information, handling membership dues/payments, preparing documents, etc. Another responsibility is assisting during perfusions, both human and pet.  This includes being able to perform the surgery on the patient, operate the perfusion pump and operate the computer controlled cooling chamber.  These are all things that I have become familiar with and I am capable of filling the position that is needed at the time. I can also take the readings for the storage units to check the level of the liquid nitrogen and am able to fill the storage units when necessary. 

How did you first become involved with the Cryonics Institute?

I first became involved with CI while I was working as an apprentice for Jim and Sara Walsh at their funeral home, Faulmann & Walsh Funeral Home. Sara asked if I was interested in assisting her here as a contract worker if they ever needed an extra set of hands for a perfusion. I was more than willing to help and was very interested in learning about cryonics because I had not heard of it prior. I assisted with several perfusions with Sara before I was hired here full time.

What is your overall impression of CI as an organization?

I think CI is a great organization. One of the things I like most is how much pride our members take in belonging to the Cryonics Institute and how important it is to them. I think it's great that it's a non-profit organization and is owned by its members. Members are given a chance to vote and have a contribution to how things are run. I think that shows that CI has its members' best interest in mind. If members are interested in volunteering time and would like to share their skill sets they can Click Here to be entered in our volunteer data base.

What are your thoughts about the cryonics movement and being a part of it as a CI employee?

I think it is very exciting. I am happy and proud to be a part of it. I am looking forward to what the future might hold for the science of cryonics.

What are your impressions of the staff and other people you're working with?

So far I have had all good experiences with the people involved with CI. Many people have been very welcoming to me. I work most often with Andy and he is easy to get along with.  Dennis has been very helpful to me. He has been checking in on me regularly to see how things are going and answers any questions I have.  My experiences with Doug Golner and David Fulcher have been positive, as well.

How do you like working for CI so far?

I very much enjoy working here. The only challenge I can foresee is the uncertainty of when we will receive patients, but there were situations like that at the funeral homes I worked for, too. It is just a part of being in a business like this, dealing with death and time sensitive situations.

How do you like interacting with CI members?

Working with the members is great. Most of the members I have had contact with have been very cooperative and welcoming. Having experience with communicating professionally with consumers/clients at other jobs makes that part of this job relatively easy for me. As I learn more about CI, I will become even more confident interacting with the members. I want to be able to be a helpful resource to them. I am looking forward to hopefully meeting many members at the Annual General Meeting this year.

What do you think is your biggest contribution to CI's mission?

I think my experience as a funeral director and embalmer is a good contribution to CI on a few different levels. The embalming experience could be very beneficial as it pertains to the surgical aspect of a perfusion. As a funeral director, you have a lot of responsibilities and many people relying on you during a stressful, difficult, and critical time. The same things apply here at CI. I am here to work hard and I am dedicated to our members and will be just as dedicated to them when they become our patients.

Are there any special projects or initiatives you're involved with or want to become involved with to help CI grow as an organization?

Currently, my focus is on training and learning the procedures so that I can offer advice and tips to try and make things more efficient or organized. Being new to the organization, I have a fresh perspective and can offer different insight. I eventually would like to get involved in ways to make CI become more popular and widely known. I found it surprising that as a Mortuary Science student, I had never heard of cryonics. Many of my colleagues, family, and friends had also never heard of it until I became involved. Obviously, the more we can spread the word that this is an option, the better chance we have of growing as an organization. Educating people about what we do here at CI is very important for our continual growth.  The CI newsletter is a great source of education. If you are not subscribed to the CI newsletter please subscribe here.

Any advice or feedback you want to share with the membership?

Right now I am working on going through each individual member's file to make sure we have all of the necessary documents and current funding in place. It is very important that we are prepared for an emergency involving any one of our members. I have been reaching out to members as I go through each file in an attempt to get everything in place for them so that the best cryonic suspension is possible. It is part of our contract that we require annual verification of a member's funding. It is not an easy task to keep up on these things for every member, and as our member count keeps growing, it will be an even harder job. My advice to members would be to help us keep up on things like this. It will only benefit the member to help keep us up to date. As we all know, very unexpected things happen in life and emergencies can happen to anyone. Being prepared is the best way to ensure that a member receives the best cryonic suspension possible. It is not just current funding that is important. Letting us know when there has been a change of address, phone number, email, or any other form of contact information would be tremendously helpful and would allow us to better respond in an emergency. I guess what I am trying to say is that communication is key. Cryonics is a time-sensitive matter so every detail can make a difference in whether a suspension is successful or not. Having help from our members in these areas would be wonderful and would help us to better serve them. So it really is a "help us to help you" situation. Check here for suspension planning tips and advice.


As I mentioned before, being prepared is the best way to ensure a successful cryonic suspension. That being said, I would have to encourage our members to take action any way that they can. Whether it be signing up for standby services or establishing local standby, communicating your wishes to those around you, wearing your CI identification bracelet or necklace, carrying your CI wallet card, or having a prepared File of Life. Every little thing can help.

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CI Introduces New Inspection and Audit Procedures

Beginning this year, CI will be conducting regular formal inspection audits and publishing the results in our magazine and on our web site. These procedures are a routine part of our normal operations (checking and maintaining equipment, cryostat levels, financial reporting, record-keeping, etc.) and have been for years. All this information has been available to members on a per-request basis, however, the process was time consuming and wasn't readily available in one easy-to-review report. Our new Inspection Report now provides that service, giving our members easy public access to important organizational and operational information they need to know.

We appreciate the need for protective procedures and open records to show that cryonics providers are honest and effectively delivering on their promises to their members. At CI, we have many internal methods of self-governance and built in checks and balances in addition to our normal maintenance checks. We have our bylaws, our 12 directors, and many rules of operation designed to keep everything on the up and up. For instance, we have CI directors with access to keys to bank security boxes and different directors who hold the exclusive signing authority for those security boxes. Therefore, we need all these people working together to move or shift funds. Fortunately, CI has never had any cases of embezzlement, because for that to happen we would need many directors working in collaboration to overcome our built in checks.  Our motto is redundancy and we are careful to mentor and vet only the most reliable and honest people to control sensitive operations.

A previous attempt at providing oversight for CI has been through annual inspections. While these have served a positive purpose in the past, there have arisen some inefficiencies in these external inspections. As a result, we have decided to run our own internal inspection and audits and make all the information available for everyone's external review. Any organization affiliated with CI or any member of CI is free to review these records and reports. This method of inspection is efficient and cost effective while providing pertinent and useful data. Any additional requests of information beyond our own inspection process will be reviewed and, if reasonable, will be incorporated into our annual internal inspection. In this way, we can make sure all vested parties have a say in our reviews and audits and that they are done in the most efficient and useful fashion. In essence, every member provides a watch over our system. CI belongs to all of us and we have a responsibility to keep it safe and running at 100%.

Our primary goal is to provide maximum security and transparency so that you can have complete faith and confidence in CI as your cryonics provider. We're confident this extra layer of protection will help to provide that.

Full Report and Documentation Here


Reducing Toxicity During Cryopreservation of Organs

Research Prospectus

The protective effects of chemicals such as glycerol and dimethyl sulfoxide have made it possible to successfully cryopreserve a variety of different living biological systems, including embryos and stem cells. However, these chemicals, known as cryoprotective agents (CPAs), can also be toxic, especially when administered in high doses. The toxicity of CPAs is particularly problematic for cryopreservation of large samples such as tissues and organs.

There are two reasons why CPA toxicity is such a significant challenge for cryopreservation of tissues and organs. First, the three-dimensional structure is susceptible to damage caused by formation of extracellular ice, and as a result, the use of high CPA concentrations to suppress ice formation appears to be the most promising cryopreservation strategy. This approach is known as vitrification. There are two interrelated strategies for achieving vitrification, cooling and warming rapidly so that water molecules don’t have time to rearrange into a crystalline structure, and adding CPAs to inhibit ice crystallization. Because of their size, organs cannot be cooled and warmed very rapidly. As a result, relatively high CPA concentrations are required to prevent ice formation. This increases the potential for damage due to CPA toxicity.

The second reason that toxicity is such an important problem for tissue and organ cryopreservation is that their large size increases the time required for equilibration with CPA solutions. To achieve adequate protection, the CPAs much reach all areas of the sample, and the larger the sample the more time is required for CPA permeation. This longer exposure time also introduces a higher potential for damage due to CPA toxicity.

The Cryonics Institute has provided funding to a leading cryobiology researcher to investigate strategies for reducing toxicity during cryopreservation of organs. The research will be based on a recently developed a mathematical optimization strategy, which was validated using experiments with endothelial cell monolayers, as described in a recent issue of  PLOS ONE. The optimization approach involves cell membrane transport predictions of cell volume and intracellular CPA concentration, and estimation of CPA toxicity using a mathematical model that accounts for the effects of exposure time, concentration and temperature. The optimization algorithm iteratively varies the procedural details (solution composition, exposure time, temperature) to find the least toxic CPA equilibration method that does not produce excessive cell volume changes.

The resulting optimized procedures deviated substantially from the conventional CPA equilibration approach. In particular, the conventional approach is to gradually increase the CPA concentration in multiple steps, in order to prevent excessive shrinkage during exposure to the hypertonic CPA solutions. The optimized methods, in contrast, emphasize swelling during CPA addition. Swelling is achieved by adding CPA to a hypotonic carrier medium, and cells are exposed to this CPA loading solution until they swell to the maximum volume limit. This approach is advantageous because it minimizes the CPA concentration required to achieve a given amount of intracellular CPA, and hence reduces CPA toxicity. Another key feature of the optimized methods is that the last step prior to vitrification primarily involves cell shrinkage due to water efflux, rather than transport of additional CPA into the cells. This takes advantage of the fact that water crosses the cell membrane much faster than CPA and reduces the time that the sample must be exposed to the full strength vitrification solution.

The experimental results with endothelial cell monolayers described in the PLOS ONE article show that the optimized methods work much better than conventional methods, enabling substantial improvements in recovery of metabolically active cells (81% vs. 10%). Funding from the Cryonics Institute will allow initial steps to be taken toward applying these methods to perfusion of organs with CPA solutions. One of the key observations made in experiments with endothelial monolayers was that causing cell swelling during CPA loading is advantageous. However, it is not known whether or not a similar approach could be used during organ perfusion because cell swelling could impinge blood vessels and impair perfusion. Another key feature of the optimized procedures for endothelial cells was that the procedures take advantage of the fact the water crosses the cell membrane much faster than CPA. This allowed the final vitrification solution concentration to be achieved rapidly by loss of water from the cells (rather than the relatively slow transport of CPA into the cells). However, it is unclear how this would play out for loading CPAs into organs. There is evidence that water moves faster than CPA through the extracellular matrix, so it is quite possible that analogous results could be achieved in organs, but this needs to be tested.

The research funded by the Cryonics Institute will pursue two complimentary objectives to explore the potential for adapting the key features of the mathematically optimized methods to organ perfusion:

  1. Perfuse organs (heart, liver and kidney) with hypo- and hypertonic solutions (with various compositions) and measure the pressure drop across the organ and change in organ mass. This should allow detection of impingement of blood vessels (which will manifest as an increased pressure drop) and will also give useful information about how much organs swell in hypotonic conditions.
  2. Perfuse organs with CPA solutions in two steps – an initial loading step that induces swelling and a final step that induces shrinkage in the full strength vitrification solution – and measure the composition as a function of time at the outlet. The second step should allow the full strength CPA concentration to be achieved relatively quickly because it should rely mainly on removal of water from the tissue rather than CPA transport into the tissue. These results will be compared to a more conventional CPA loading process. The conventional CPA loading process is expected to take longer to achieve the full strength CPA concentration at the outlet.

Completion of these preliminary studies will establish the feasibility of adapting the key features of the mathematically optimized procedures described in the PLOS ONE study to organ perfusion and lay the groundwork for future studies to more rigorously design and test minimally toxic methods for organ cryopreservation.


Every issue, we’ll be highlighting a single aspect of standby to provide our members with a simple incremental program for setting up their own standby arrangements. Proper standby arrangements can seem like an overwhelming task, so our goal is to help you by breaking down the process into “bite-sized” pieces that can each be easily accomplished in a reasonably short time with a minimum of effort. Some tasks will be more involved than others, but remember - in an emergency situation, even the smallest step taken today can prove to be a lifesaver tomorrow.


Most CI Members have arrangements in place for insurance to fund their suspension contracts. However, you may not be aware this funding needs to be verified with CI on an annual basis to avoid any delays when the time comes for your suspension. Right now, many members have not updated their insurance or sent their proof of insurance to CI. We strongly recommend if you are in this category, you take action to resolve this immediately.

If we don't have your information on file, but your policy is, in fact, active and in force when it's time for your suspension, we may still be able to verify the policy independently and move ahead with your suspension. But why add an avoidable delay to such a critically time-sensitive process? Standby planning can be simple or more inclusive, but either way at some point we all need to do things for ourselves that no cryonics organization can do for us.

The lesson to learn from past case reports of both great and not so great suspensions is to start planning now even if you are just doing small things like making sure your insurance funding has been updated with CI. If this is a burden, one recommendation would be to sign over your life insurance policy to make CI the owner. You still maintain control of the policy and can still cancel the policy or change it back. Simply let us know your wishes. If you want your CI-owned life insurance to go away, all you have to do is to stop paying on it or request us to transfer ownership back to you. If we own your policy, CI will not need to be notified on an annual basis because your insurance company will do this for you. All you have to do is make your payments to keep the policy in place. An added benefit to having CI as an owner also ensures that it would be much harder for an anti-cryonics family member to make changes if you became sick and couldn't speak for yourself.

Either way, take this important step today and ensure that you have submitted proof of insurance funding making CI the beneficiary to your policy. You must do this on a yearly basis or switch ownership of your policy to CI. For more information on other steps you can take to improve your chances of survival, please see our Next Steps for Cryonics page.

Action Steps:

  • Make a copy of the annual statement you receive from your insurance company.
  • Mail, FAX or email the statement to CI.

  • If you don't receive an annual statement from your insurance company:

  • Contact your insurance company to request a letter verifying your policy. The letter should include:
    • Statement the policy is in force
    • Policy Number
    • Beneficiaries and Amounts
    • Mail, FAX or email the letter to CI.

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 Roland Missionnier would like to hear from cryonicists in Switzerland, Luxembourg and Monte Carlo, CELL: (0033) 6 64 90 98 41, FAX: (0033) 477 46 9612 or

Can help Cryonics Institute Members who need help for the transport & hospital explication 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 homepage is: (English version in preparation.) if there are further questions, contact Prof. Klaus Sames:

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


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.

Cryoprize Launches New Online Promotions

The Immortalist Society is promoting their Organ Cryopreservation Prize (the "Cryoprize") with a new website, Facebook page and a special video by internet Vine celebrity Evan Breen.

Proposed several months ago, the purpose of the prize will be to award a minimum of fifty thousand dollars to any individual or group of individuals who are able to place certain mammalian organs at cryogenic temperatures and to transplant those organs for a period of nine months and to show, during that time period, proper clinical function of them. The organs in question are the heart, lung, kidney, liver and pancreas. Other organs may be the subject of research leading to the awarding of the prize if pre-approved by the Immortalist Society.

Fundraising is underway now.To donate to the Cryoprize fund or for more details please visit

Dr. Robin Hanson Announced as Keynote Speaker for CI's 2016 AGM

by Stephan Beauregard- CI Director: Communication & Social Media

The Cryonics Institute is pleased to announce Dr. Robin Hanson as a guest speaker for our 40th Anniversary AGM in September. Dr. Hanson is a Professor of Economics at the George Mason University in the United States and a researcher with the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. He is an expert on prediction markets, the social implications of future technologies, nano-technology and how these technologies influence the economy and society. Politically he supports futarchy , a society where policy decisions are made based on open prediction markets. He has a doctorate in social science from the California Institute of Technology, master's degrees in physics and philosophy from the University of Chicago, and nine years experience as a research programmer at Lockheed & NASA.

Professor Hanson has over 2,800 citations, with a citation h-index of 25, and over sixty academic publications, including in Algorithmica, Applied Optics, Communications of the ACM, Economics Letters, Economica, Econometrica, Economics of Governance, Foundations of Physics, IEEE Intelligent Systems, Information Systems Frontiers, Innovations, International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Journal of Evolution and Technology, Journal of Law Economics and Policy, Journal of Political Philosophy, Journal of Prediction Markets, Journal of Public Economics, Maximum Entropy and Bayesian Methods, Medical Hypotheses, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Public Choice, Science, Social Epistemology, Social Philosophy and Policy, and Theory and Decision.

Oxford University Press will publish his book The Age of Em: Work, Love & Life When Robots Rule the Earth in June 2016, and The Elephant in the Brain, co-authored with Kevin Simler, in spring 2017. Professor Hanson has had over four hundred media mentions, given over two hundred invited talks, and his blog has had over eight million visits.

Professor Hanson has pioneered prediction markets, also known as information markets and idea futures, since 1988. He was the first to write in detail about creating and subsidizing markets to gain better estimates on a wide variety of important topics. He was a principal architect of the first internal corporate markets, at Xanadu in 1990, of the first web markets, the Foresight Exchange since 1994, of DARPA's Policy Analysis Market, from 2001 to 2003, and of IARPA™'s combinatorial markets DAGGRE and SCICAST from 2010 to 2015. Professor Hanson developed new technologies for conditional, combinatorial, and intermediated trading, and studied insider trading, manipulation, and other foul play. He has written and spoken widely on the application of idea futures to business and policy, and has advised many ventures.

Dr Hanson has diverse research interests, with papers on spatial product competition, health incentive contracts, group insurance, product bans, evolutionary psychology and bioethics of health care, voter information incentives, incentives to fake expertise, Bayesian classification, agreeing to disagree, self-deception in disagreement, probability elicitation, wiretaps, image reconstruction, the history of science prizes, reversible computation, the origin of life, the survival of humanity, very long term economic growth, growth given machine intelligence, and interstellar colonization.

Dr Hanson has a diverse background: he has a Bachelor's & Master's degree in physics but a PhD in social sciences. Robin's ideas often cause controversial reactions and he wishes to find ways to more effectively decentralize the government's tasks.

Don't miss the chance to see him ** LIVE ** at the Cryonics Institute, Sept 11, 2016.

New cryopreservation procedure wins Brain Preservation Prize

First preservation of the connectome demonstrated in a whole brain

The Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF) has announced that a team at 21st Century Medicine led by Robert McIntyre, PhD., has won the Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize, which carries an award of $26,735.

The Small Mammalian Brain Preservation Prize was awarded after the determination that the protocol developed by McIntyre, termed Aldehyde-Stabilized Cryopreservation, was able to preserve an entire rabbit brain with well-preserved ultrastructure, including cell membranes, synapses, and intracellular structures such as synaptic vesicles.

Read the full story at
Impact of automation puts up to 85% of jobs in developing countries at risk

A new report from the Oxford Martin School and Citi considers the risks of job automation to developing countries, estimated to range from 55% in Uzbekistan to 85% in Ethiopia — a substantial share in major emerging economies, including China and India (77% and 69% respectively).

The report, Technology at Work v2.0: The Future Is Not What It Used to Be, builds on 2013 research by Oxford Martin School’s Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, who found that nearly half of U.S. jobs could be at risk of computerization (as KurzweilAI reported), and on the first Technology at Work report, published in 2015.

Read the full story at
Mitochondria trigger cell aging, researchers discover

How to rejuvenate or prevent aging in human and mice cells

An international team of scientists led by João Passos at Newcastle University has for the first time shown that mitochondria (the “batteries” of the cells) are major triggers for aging, and eliminating them upon the induction of senescence prevents senescence in the aging mouse liver.

As we grow old, cells in our bodies accumulate different types of damage and have increased inflammation, factors that are thought to contribute to the aging process.

Read the full story at
CMU announces research project to reverse-engineer brain algorithms, funded by IARPA

A Human Genome Project-level plan to make computers learn like humans

Carnegie Mellon University is embarking on a five-year, $12 million research effort to reverse-engineer the brain and “make computers think more like humans,” funded by the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). The research is led by Tai Sing Lee, a professor in the Computer Science Department and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC).

The research effort, through IARPA’s Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks (MICrONS) research program, is part of the U.S. BRAIN Initiative to revolutionize the understanding of the human brain.

Read the full story at
New acoustic-tweezer design allows for 3D bioprinting

Makes possible 3D multicellular architectures for applications in biomanufacturing, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, neuroscience, and cancer metastasis research

A team of researchers at three universities has developed a way to use “acoustic tweezers” (which use ultrasonic surface acoustic waves, or SAWs, to trap and manipulate micrometer-scale particles and biological cells — see “Acoustic tweezers manipulate cellular-scale objects with ultrasound“) to non-invasively pick up and move single cells in three mutually orthogonal axes of motion (three dimensions).

The new 3D acoustic tweezers can pick up single cells or entire cell assemblies and deliver them to desired locations to create 2D and 3D cell patterns, or print* the cells into complex shapes — a promising new method for “3D bioprinting” in biological tissues, the researchers say in an open-access paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Read the full story at
Scientists decode brain signals to recognize images in real time

May lead to helping locked-in patients (paralyzed or had a stroke) communicate and also to real-time brain mapping

Using electrodes implanted in the temporal lobes of seven awake epilepsy patients, University of Washington scientists have decoded brain signals (representing images) at nearly the speed of perception for the first time* — enabling the scientists to predict in real time which images of faces and houses the patients were viewing and when, and with better than 95 percent accuracy.

The research, published Jan. 28 in open-access PLOS Computational Biology, may lead to an effective way to help locked-in patients (who were paralyzed or have had a stroke) communicate, the scientists suggest.

Read the full story at
Brain Preservation Foundation project thaws without damage rabbit’s brain frozen using cryogenics

The success of cryogenics in freezing the human body and later reviving the person when there is a technology available appears to move closer to reality. The Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize, a challenge to thaw a brain without damage to its component neurons, was successfully completed after five years.

The prize, won by a team called 21st Century Medicine, involved the storage of a rabbit brain in a deep-frozen state and thawed with no damage, reports Nature World News. To prevent damaging the brain due to ice crystals, which happens when traditional freezing methods are used, the researchers used vitrification. The process uses cryoprotectants to stop neuron damaged during the cooling and thawing stages.

Read the full story at

Suspension 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.


Thank you so much! I just downloaded the newsletter and checked out the section with me in it. It's perfect!

I wonder how coincidental it is that I met Aubrey DeGrey yesterday, the day before the newsletter is published. I attached a picture.

Besides that, please feel free to include my questionnaire answers in the next newsletter.

You can also mention that I wrote  a book about cryonics  that illustrates all of the suggestions I mention in the questionnaire portion.

About volunteering, I am happy to help with anything you guys need! Something I've already been doing is make the cooling curves for all the new patients (Sample attached.)


Nicholas Van Der Muelen


It is summer time here and the activity at my university slows down substantially. So I profited of the peace of mind I enjoy during this period and wrote a short text that I would like to submit to the CI Newsletter to be considered for publication.

Best regards,

Rudy Goya

29 January, 2016


Life seems to be a highly infrequent phenomenon in the Cosmos, and more so the emergence of technology-creating species. Indeed, the idea that Earth might be one of a very few planets in the Universe where a technology-creating civilization has arisen, does not seem inconceivable to me. The first unicellular organisms appeared on our planet some 4 billion years ago and evolved at a very slow pace. It took evolution 3.5 billion years to give rise to the first multicellular animals endowed with a complex nervous system. Technology-creating intelligence emerged with the genus Homo, some 2.7 million years ago, the blink of an eye in the cosmic calendar. This remarkable achievement of evolution required that during a very long time (4 billion years) our planet kept its exceptionally favorable life-supporting conditions. Even so, the modest, by cosmic standards, changes that took place on Earth throughout that time span caused the extinction of over 97% of all the species that ever lived on the planet. One particular species, Homo sapiens, that represents a tiny fraction of the surviving 3%, throve and dominated the planet to an extent that no other species achieved before, not even the dinosaurs, who ruled Earth for 150 million years. Indeed, being a member of the human species is an almost unimaginable privilege. Everything within us is a coincidence bordering on the impossible. The atoms of our bodies were created thousands of millions of years ago in the heart of ancestral stars, millions of light years away. We are a portion of the Cosmos that has become conscious and can know itself, marveling at what it sees through our eyes. We could go on with this kind of considerations and everything will take us to the growing certainty that being alive is a unique and unrepeatable occurrence. This is why death is a tragedy for the individual; it dispels the miracle of our existence, consciousness and memories lost forever.

If we lived indefinitely, we would not be immutable as stones, we would steadily change and our view of the universe would continuously evolve. But we would keep our identity and memories. It would be like when we transitioned from childhood to adulthood. We remember our childish ideas about the world with tenderness and a smile. Our perception of reality was simple and naïve, very different from our adult views. We evolved yes, but there is an unbroken continuity between us and that child; our sense of identity remains unchanged. In contrast, death terminates that identity, dissolves our mind and brings an irreversible decay to our bodies.

The longing of Man for immortality and eternal youth is universal and time immemorial. It is in our nature and we will always seek to defeat death or at least postpone it indefinitely. In the past, men hoped to live forever through religion; now we are beginning to undertake the conquest of immortality through technology, the hallmark of our species.

Rudy Goya


Serializing Essential Works on Cryonics

Robert C.W. Ettinger's "Man Into Superman" - Chapter 4


Changes in the Chassis

The word “superman” is laden with emotional freight, clouded with semantic confusion and distorted by childish romanticism. To some, it immediately conjures up specters of the Master Race and the Nazis, a connotation of arrogance and coldness, if not brutality, To others, the word is objectionable because it suggests accentuation, rather than transcendence, of human qualities.

I will retain the word in spite of these handicaps, and indeed partly because of its shock value. I want to take by the scruff of the neck the dainty, the timid and the supercilious, and rub their noses in it; we must aspire to be, and intend to become, superior to mankind and to all its past heroes, individually and collectively, and in all aspects--physical, intellectual, emotional and moral.

The most difficult and disturbing questions concern superman’s mentality and personality, and these are deferred to later chapters. Less frightening-if often startling-are the physical options, those of anatomy and physiology in the narrow sense, which will now be investigated.

I shall not attempt to conceptualize superman as a single, integrated entity; not only would that be beyond the scope of this essay and the skill of the writer, but it would be false to the spirit of the immortalist, who sees everything as open-ended, tentative and incomplete. Rather, I shall select certain traits for attention, without implying that these are necessarily the best or most important, and without fixing the date at which their implementation might become feasible. I am dealing here only in conjectures and suggestions, although it is hoped that the guesses are shrewd and the suggestions reasonable.

Assembly vs. Invention

Superman does not have to be invented. We reject, as a trivial example, the “Superman” of the comics, the “man of steel” who is “more powerful than a locomotive” and “can leap tall buildings at a single bound.” We reject not his banality but his dishonesty; barring super-flatulence, for example, there is no apparent way for him to alter course or maintain thrust in midair.

We likewise reject the super-powers of most heroes of science fiction, who have the magical ability to exert direct control over other minds, over matter, or over space and time-the dealers in telepathy, psychokinesis, teleportation, precognition, etc., who beat the game by changing the rules. It is true that we don’t yet know all the rules, and we are probably mistaken about some we think we know; nevertheless, it is more honest, and will probably be more fruitful, if we give our superman briefly those powers that are extensions of reasonably well-established phenomena. As we shall see, this will still provide immense scope for quantitative and qualitative improvement.

Instead of inventing superman, we can assemble him. We already have examples of all the traits and abilities required for a very respectable superman indeed. New ideas will undoubtedly occur, but we need postulate no more than already exist, their sources being: (1) rare human talents, (2) talents of other species, and (3) machine talents. After this, we can build speculation on flimsier hints and clues-in fact, we must, since long-range development will surely dwarf our boldest imaginings.

In the first category, there are several subdivisions. First, there is the obvious lode of variance among men. Most races need warm beds, but the Indians of Tierra del Fuego sleep nude in a climate worse than Chicago’s. Most of us just want to lie down, but now and then we notice a Jim Ryun or a Dick Fosbury. And by far the majority of men can function in bed at most once a day, but Dr. Kinsey assures us there are those who can jump in and out like jackrabbits, several times a day, week in and week out. (Or so they say.) (9) Since such capacities are known to exist, they must have some anatomical and physiological basis, which can be discovered and (eventually) duplicated by various means, including not only genetic manipulation but also treatment of the mature individual by chemistry, surgery, special virus inoculations, and other means.

This is not exactly self-evident, and it is conceivable that certain traits tend to be mutually exclusive, making it difficult for a single individual to embrace them all, even if desired; but the over-riding presumption is that, once we thoroughly understand something, we can duplicate its effects sooner or later, and even improve on them. As supermen, all of us will have the important talents of the best of us, and anyone who doesn’t like the monotony can choose to remain inferior.

In the category of “rare human talents” I include not only the fairly constant talents of exceptional people, but also the occasional creative successes of more ordinary people. All of us, at times, have performed “over our heads,” reaching a peak not matched before or after. There was some reason why we could do it, and it should be possible to make such ability routinely available. Again, children have certain capacities that are often gradually lost as they grow older; in particular, the young have acute senses. Their hearing everything is not just nosiness, but sharp ears; their finickiness about food is not just temperament, but sensitive taste. Still again, systems such as yoga and hypnosis seem able to unlock hidden stores of perception and control, stores which will inevitably be made public.

A little more difficult, perhaps, will be the appropriation of the skills of other species, because of the greater likelihood of incompatibility. Nevertheless, the hybridization of animals, including man, through artificial means has been predicted by competent biologists, based on work already in progress. (44) If some animal is doing it, then it can be done; and if it can be done, it can scarcely be doubted that we will do it, if we wish. It is only and always a question of effort, money and time.

The third category is really bluesky, because in principle a machine can be made to do anything that is physically possible; and if we envision the human brain coupled to a machine or complex of machines-so that the machines are extensions of the person then, with only modest reservations to be noted later, we can do anything, which means we can be anything.

Feasibility and Credibility

Before jumping into the jam-pot, a further word is in order about how serious the ensuing suggestions may be, and how much evidence exists that such things will be possible.

Specific references to current art will be sprinkled lightly throughout, but most of the book avoids technology and addresses itself to the lay reader. An Appendix is provided with selected references to and excerpts from the technical literature, providing some specific support for some of the conjectures.

But useful as particular detailed hints may be, a mere generalized optimism, a hopeful reading of history, is even more useful. From the amount and rate of recent progress, surely it is pikestaffplain that, at the very least, we shall eventually be able to imitate nearly every existing life process.

For example, suppose we want to give our superman the ability to hibernate (and we do). It isn’t necessary to know anything whatever about the mechanism of hibernation in order to predict a hibernating superman; it is only necessary to know that hibernation exists-for instance, in bears. Since it exists, it can be studied, understood and imitated or improved upon. It is not self-evident that hibernation can be made compatible with the totality of other physiological processes in man, but presumptively it can. At the worst, the ability to hibernate will require the sacrifice of some other ability, or some loss of efficiency in other capacities, or a larger body size.

At this point it is also necessary to beat a little on a horse that not everyone realizes is dead. There are still too few who appreciate how far the facts have outrun the judgement and imagination of experts and seers. Consider that Vannevar Busha brilliant, creative scientist-testified that an intercontinental missile was far in the future; and this virtually while the Russians were building one. Add that H. G. Wells, in reaching for an example of the ridiculous, cast his scorn on the “2,000 mile an hour airplane”. (178) And that Britain’s Astronomer Royal called space travel “utter bilge” in 1956, one year before the first sputnik.” Consider that Auguste Comte in 1835 said that man could never know anything about the chemical composition of the stars-just a couple of decades before Kirchhoff invented the spectroscope, which told us more about the chemistry of stars than we knew about the chemistry of the earth. . . the list could be extended almost indefinitely. (See also Chapter 11.)

It is unimportant that optimists have also been wrong, because the failures of optimism pertain mainly-perhaps entirely-to details and time scales. Sometimes a particular means has proven impractical (think of the dirigible), but the end (in this case, comfortable air travel) has nevertheless been attained. Often a road proves much longer than expected, full of twists and obstacles; but superman’s development is not dependent on any timetable.

If we think of superman as our remote descendant, then time scales are unimportant. If we think of superhumanity as our own condition, after freezing and resuscitation, then again we have plenty of time; no one gets impatient in the freezer. In either case, the usual “practical” considerations dwindle to almost nothing, and we can focus chiefly on what is possible in principle.

Energy and Success

One definition of a superman would be “someone with more than human potential for success.” We cannot say, with any confidence, what constitutes success until we know much more about ourselves and the universe, but we can tentatively assume that “success” refers to survival and security, and possibly dominion, along with the learning, growth and development that make these possible, and such subjective criteria as comfort and joy.

Possibly, then, we can get some notions about superman by looking at unusually successful humans and analyzing their virtues.

As a first approximation, by general agreement, the main factors in personal success, under present conditions, are energy, talent and luck-in that order, if we are speaking of moderate success. Energy is by far the most important requirement, if you hope to become moderately rich or gain fairly rapid advancement in your vocation or employment. What counts is the marginal or extra performance you can turn in, above that required to get by or to satisfy standard demands. Every “premium” increment becomes very important: if your output, by some appropriate measure, rises from 110% of standard to 120% of standard, then your premium output has doubled.

If we measure success by the crassest but readiest criterion-money-then the picture is plain. If you increase your earnings, by overtime or moonlighting, from 110% of your living cost to 120%, your savings are doubled, (Better yet, reduce expenditures 10%; because of the income tax, a penny saved is more than a penny earned.)

At this point, someone may object impatiently: What do these hum-drum, workaday notions have to do with superman? Surely a superman is not just someone who can work a little harder! Besides, if everyone had this capacity, the competitive edge would be lost. Furthermore, has the number of supermen increased markedly since the use of stimulants became common coffee in seventeenth-century Europe, amphetamines in twentieth-century America, etc.?

The last question is complex, and as far as I know the correlation has not been studied extensively. As for the rest, bear with me a while.

Explicitly, if you were a plumber in 1968, earning $4 per hour, and you doubled your savings by increasing your output from 110% to 120% of standard, this would mean a yearly added saving of perhaps $800; if for simplicity we disregard advances in earning power and inflation, and compound this at 6% for 40 years, it would come to a grand total extra saving of over $130,000.

If you are an academic, the results are nearly as obvious. If you work 10% longer or faster each day and double your output of pedestrian scholarly papers (or committee reports, etc.) you will have a high probability of tangible reward. In business management, the situation is similar.

In fact, an hypothesis suggests itself about the remarkable correlation between scientific achievement and youth. (Most of the important advances in physics and mathematics have been made by young men.) Perhaps it is not originality or creativity or insight which diminishes with age, but just energy and available time. The older man has less physical strength and more family and administrative responsibilities; he just can’t devote long hours to taxing work of his own choice. It may be partly a matter of energy in the literal, physical sense, a question of body metabolism; and there may also be an alteration of “physic” energy, of motivation and life style.

Needless to say, this hypothesis cannot be the complete explanation of the correlation of genius with youth, since it does not readily interpret the variations with different professions; but if it has any validity, it offers another very striking instance of the way in which modest quantitative differences can become critically important qualitative differences. In order for the potential genius to function as a genius, i.e. to produce works of genius, he requires that little extra strength and drive. Since major works are rare, a slightly reduced store of energy is likely to mean not just fewer works, but none at all. In other words, there is a kind of threshold effect, a small gain in energy being translated into a quantum jump in productivity.

As introduction to a slightly different view of the same phenomenon, consider the effect of a slight increase in the intelligence of a population. The distribution of intelligence in a population seems to follow nearly the bell-shaped “normal” curve, with the greatest number of individuals near average, and smaller numbers above and below.

Let us suppose that for a certain sub-population the average IQ is 100, and about 2% are “gifted”, having an IQ greater than 130. (These are more or less typical figures.)

Now, if the average could be increased to 110, with the shape of the distribution curve almost unaffected (roughly 10 points added to each individual’s IQ), then, the mathematicians tell us, the number of “gifted” people would jump up to about 9 %! Keeping the distribution curve, an increase of only 10% in the average intelligence would multiply the number of “gifted” people by about 4.5 or 450%. In the “genius” range the effect is even more pronounced.

In general, then, a shift of a few points in the average will sharply affect the number of very bright-and very dull--people. In particular, a modest improvement in the average may result in a startling increase in wheel-horses, those key people whose efforts are most important for quality and progress. (These observations apply irrespective of any reservations one may have about the usefulness of particular tests, and those who dislike the words “bright” and “gifted” may use the word “effective” instead.)

Now,.one can also examine the productivity of the individual in the same way. There is-I believe-a similar statistical variation in the individual’s productivity, measured against time. We work “over our heads” only occasionally, and we really transcend ourselves only rarely; yet it may be just those times of transcendence on which we rely for exceptional ideas or perceptions. Thus, a relatively small increase in energy may multiply several-fold our times of transcendence and our major works. It follows that a functional superman might result from something so modest and simple as an improvement in the glandular system, producing more energetic people.

Admittedly, energy is only one factor in success, and it depends partly on competition-it is partly a relative rather than an absolute factor. When machines do almost all the physical work and much of the thinking, and when every-body can be optimized, a moderate boost in the individual’s energy may count for little. But that time is well in the future, and the early versions of superman may quite possibly center on physical and psychic energy.

“Can the Ethiopian Change His Skin?”

… or the leopard his spots?” This was Jeremiah’s question, and he thought the answer negative. In these latter days, however, skin and other outward changes promise to become relatively trivial, quick, and cheap, and it is of some mild interest to wonder whether the Ethiopians, and the Orientals, as well as the Caucasians, will choose cosmetic changes on any substantial scale.

Before very long, the Negro will be able to whiten his skin if he wishes-or blacken it to ebony, as seems more likely if the “black is beautiful” trend persists. Because moods and fashions change rapidly and with unpredictable vagaries, no one can say with confidence what the trends will be, or what effects, if any, they will have on race relations, but one can, as usual, speculate.

The whole question of race relations is a very minor one in the long view: expanding opportunities and multiplying options will make diversity both inevitable and acceptable, in all areas where choices depend primarily on taste or caprice. In those areas where clear-cut differences in quality or value can be shown, there will be uniformity, since everyone will choose the best. But we will surely encounter some surprises in the revelation of what is arbitrary and what is not.

Aesthetic questions will often be found to have surprising answers. To what extent is beauty truly in the eye of the beholder, and to what extent is it absolute? At present, we can only surmise, but I dare say most people feel there are absolute elements of beauty. It is difficult to imagine a point of view from which a wart hog, say, is lovelier than an antelope. Will there ever be a culture which regards a scaly skin-a blotchy, irregularly scaly skin-as more attractive than a smooth one? And so on. One might be tempted to retort that the wart hog thinks itself more gracious than the antelope, but I do not concede the point. After all, the average is not our ideal of beauty, nor are these ideals species-specific. A man might easily decide that a peacock, or a panther, is more beautiful than a woman-not more desirable, of course, but more beautiful. In the same way, it is entirely possible that certain races, in some of their traits, are either more or less beautiful than others, even in their own view.

The fact that, in the past, many American Negroes have tried to lighten their skins and straighten their hair proves nothing, because their psyches may have been twisted by the prevalent culture. The fact that many Caucasians like to darken their skins by exposure to the sun also proves nothing, because the urge to be “different’ can take many forms. But careful introspection can provide some clues--however unreliable-to our feelings on these matters.

At risk of being obnoxious as well as wrong, let me make a few guesses. First, I think that skin color has no absolute aesthetic value, although texture and highlights may. Ivory, ruddy, brown, ebony-all can be delightful. Likewise, hair color is equally attractive in all shades; at least much more depends on texture and subtleties of reflectance than on simple hue. But hairiness of body (until and unless we consider actual fur) is a negative factor, and in this the Caucasians are the main losers. Frizzy hair on the head is also a debit, and here the Negroids suffer. The black, straight hair of the Orientals is attractive enough, but as a racial trait it suffers from too much uniformity, lacking variation for interesting individuality.

It may be that even if absolute criteria of beauty do exist, their application may take a variety of forms, depending on the training and sophistication of the viewer; we think, for example, of the different forms and styles of music. In any case, there will be a protracted period of experimentation with hectic flutters of fashion.

At first the new opportunities may evoke defensive psychological reactions in some quarters, some people choosing to leave their appearance alone, or even to accentuate existing traits, merely to prove that they were proud of themselves all along. And there will be, indeed, a tendency to respect the other fellow’s appearance more than previously, since it will be a matter of choice: he looks the way he wants to look, not the way his accident of birth forced him to. But very soon, in most quarters, the new cosmetics will become big business and the center of high fashion.

Not only changes in skin and hair color and texture, but even changes in physiognomy, eye color and size, and eventually even bodily contours will become relatively easy to perform and inexpensive matters of choice. One year in London the ideal man may be covered with silky blue fur. The next year in Paris a fashionable woman may have small breasts and no pubic hair. After her trip to the beauty shop, you may actually not recognize your wife. Life, yet once again, will become more complicated, with still more avenues to good or ill. One of the benefits, perhaps, will be easier marital fidelity: with so much spice of variety in one’s wife or husband, will not the temptation to wander be reduced? In a life of centuries or millenia, such novelties may become more important.

The Elimination of Elimination

If cleanliness is next to godliness, then a superman must be cleaner than a man, and cleanliness is only partly a matter of money.

In the Middle Ages, one of the distinctions between rich and poor was that the former were not quite so lousy; the poor, often unable to keep themselves, their clothes and their dwellings clean, had to resign themselves to lice and bedbugs. Because of the cost of soap and perfume, people could then say, quite literally, “Poverty stinks.”

In fact, it still does. With the possible exception of a Howard Hughes, even the wealthiest of us must sometimes mingle with malodorous crowds and inhale the bad breath of passersby or co-workers, not to mention the grime of the gutter blowing in our faces with every gust of wind. And even Howard Hughes cannot escape the stench and indignity of his own elimination.

In the future, our plumbing (of the thawed as well as the newborn) will be more hygienic and seemly. Those who choose will consume only zero-residue foods, with excess water all evaporating via the pores. Alternatively, modified organs may occasionally expel small, dry, compact residues. In any case, urination and defecation as we know them will be only disgusting footnotes to ancient history, which we will read about (or remember) with remote distaste, as we now read about birds disgorging food for their young.

Is such daintiness normal or necessary? Certainly we get along now with little distress in these areas--but so did our lice-picking ancestors. We are highly adaptable, and can put up with a lot. But lice, nevertheless, are incompatible with the better life, and so is the toilet.

The Graceful Glutton

Gluttony has usually been considered a vice, or even a sin; and indeed it is a sin against oneself to weaken the body with fat, serum cholesterol, and other present consequences of overeating. There are also Freudian allusions often made against those who love to eat, shaming or at least worrying them about hidden motives of guilt, inadequacy, etc. At the very least, there is a tendency to question the strength of character, if not the moral outlook, of one who indulges himself freely in food.

It will certainly become possible to eliminate the uphappy physical consequences of overeating, in many ways. Foods may be produced that will have all the requisite texture, taste, appearance and aroma of natural foods, but no food value whatever; they will go through you quickly and cleanly-no muss, no fuss, no bother. (Perhaps they will even be eliminated by evaporation, with no indignities.) Then again, your own metabolism may be improved so that ordinary foods will be processed more sensibly, extracting only those nutritional elements that are actually needed at the time, and efficiently disposing of the rest. Special groups of enzymes may be designed; or, if necessary, Symbiotic organisms may dwell in your gut-something like an improved tapeworm, but perhaps microscopic for aesthetic and other reasons-which will process the food as needed. The Romans, usually referred to as “decadent,” were said sometimes to continue banqueting for many hours, renewing their capacities by occasional regurgitation; we will acquire the same capacity without the indelicacy.

But is not such a notion, indeed, decadent? Who knows? Certainly there have been good and even great men who loved their food and drink, and showed it-Winston Churchill, for instance. Huge numbers of people depend on a nervous habit-smoking, or chewing gum-which is hardly more dainty than eating. Surely a normal person will not need to glut himself; at the same time, why should he not have the means to do so, if be sometimes wishes? Or even if he often wishes? Why should this be regarded as more than a minor idiosyncrasy, like an addiction to crossword puzzles?

Various retorts suggest themselves. For instance, if someone craves such massive animal satisfaction, why not eliminate the middleman and use electronic stimulation of the brain? To this question, there is a fairly easy answer: one does not desire, for example, sexual orgasm alone, but the whole ritual of lovemaking, with its nuances and subtleties; analogously, one desires not just to slake his thirst, but to clink the goblet and admire the sparkle; and in the case of food, one may well wish not just to achieve satiety, but to eat, or dine, or banquet.

Whether meals will be more or less important in various eras of the future, no one can yet say. But our general rule is to leave our options open, and try to assure that what we want will be there when we want it. We shall grow in many directions, and some of us will grow in gluttony.

Integrated Man

The integration efforts of the future will, of course, not concern anything so trivial as social amalgamation of the human races, but will be of two kinds. First, we must achieve the integration of the individual’s own body. Second, we will consider the incorporation of genetic traits of other species into our own heredity.

The human body at present is not so much an entity as a kind of loose alliance or empire. The brain dominates the body, and the conscious center dominates the brain, but very imperfectly. In many locations and functions, the nominal command center has neither communication nor control: the whole muddles through, more or less, through the creaky operation of custom and tradition, but with frequent breakdowns and low general efficiency. Far from the seat of empire, many of our tissues and organs carry on trade with the “outer” world, but have scarcely heard of government, while their individual citizens, the cells, are totally parochial.

The possibility for improvement exists, even prior to genetic tailoring. Unusual individuals and special techniques have long been known to be associated with astonishing powers: we think especially of yoga and hypnotism, as well as congenital talent. The yogis, it is well known, often learn to exercise surprising control over “involuntary” functions, such as heartbeat, slowing or speeding it at will and beyond the ordinary range.

The dentist can use hypnosis or teach the patient to use autohypnosis-to interfere with normally ungovernable pain signals (or with their interpretation or processing) to eliminate the annoyance. I can wiggle my ears, individually. J. B. S. Haldane claimed he could detect the opening of his pylorus, and the passage of waste materials along his sigmoid flexure-a sensation not unlike a “belly full of snakes.” (64)

The afferent nerve supply is especially rich from the skin, special sense organs, joints, and commonly-used muscles-it also exists from the other organs-and there seem to be many possibilities for outbound communication as well. (64) Thus we see the physical basis of these unusual abilities. Why they are so unusual is not easy to say: one is tempted to guess that they have low marginal survival value, and thus low priority in evolutionary selection. However that may be, we are sure to find good uses for all of them.

Turning to the adoption of the talents of other species, the field is even richer. It may not be possible, or at least it may not be practically feasible, to incorporate every animal ability into superman’s body; it is clear that some functions and capacities may derive from the total organization, or from the interaction of major subsystems that are incompatible with our basic plan. For example, we can hardly expect, by strictly biological means, to acquire the hovering ability of a hummingbird or a bee. But only a small fraction of the possibilities seem even tentatively ruled out.

A simple, but extremely useful improvement, on which animals may provide some clues, concerns muscular coordination. The seal can balance balls on his nose, perhaps the result of fine coordination of the neck muscles useful in catching fish. (Some human acrobats, after training, can do almost as well.) Cats are noted for agility. Bears, clumsy as they look and awkward as their paws are, can scoop fish out of water, a feat few humans seem able to learn easily. All such talents surely depend on relatively small differences in anatomy and physiology, since the animals named are all mammals; hence it seems nearly certain we can incorporate all such abilities into superman. And it goes without saying that every superman will also have the maximum talents of every human, including, for example, the finger coordination demanded for concert-caliber piano playing. It seems unlikely that these several talents will prove mutually exclusive to any important extent.

The nose of the bloodhound will be ours, and the ears of the snake; ours also will be the navigational abilities of certain flying insects, which use vibrating fibers in place of gyros. We will have adaptations of the sonar of the bat and the porpoise. The eye of the eagle may present problems, since its function must presumably be combined with normal human appearance; yet a betting man would have to guess that superman’s sight will be better than the eagle’s at any range, since our larger size permits larger lens aperture, hence finer possible resolution.

The advantages of many of these adaptations will not merely concern efficiency; subjective vistas will be opened. For example, the dog has relatively poor vision and is color-blind besides; it seems rather plain, to anyone who has observed dogs that their keen sense of smell affords a rich variety of subjective connotations and appreciations; similar remarks can be made about blind species. When a species finds some of the windows on the world shut or narrowed, it tends to open wider the remaining ones. Superman would have all his windows opened wide, and be able not only to use, but to enjoy the view.

Cold, Heat, and Drought Resistance

Any self-respecting superman should be able, at the very least, to endure the worst conditions his native planet can threaten. Dandridge Cole pictured an early-model superman as running tirelessly through the snow, virtually naked, disdaining to use a vehicle for trips of a few miles or even a few dozen miles.26 This would save a good deal on road taxes and car payments, but presumably the main motive would be the sheer fun of it, the joy of exercising one’s (super) faculties, just as a healthy person now enjoys a brisk walk in crisp weather. Weather resistance would also, once more, provide an extra margin for survival in emergencies or unusual contingencies.

The first modification could be to speed up the acclimatization that most of us already exhibit. In one test of this adaptability, several city-bred men were subjected to six weeks in the open, sleeping at night with only one army blanket in 37 F temperature. Measurable physical changes included metabolic rate and changes in the blood vessels which provided better circulation in the hands and feet. Our first model outdoorsman will be able to make the metabolic change almost instantaneously, and will have variable and controllable vascular parameters.

More striking adaptations are shown by certain aborigines in Australia and by Alacaluf Indians in South America. The Australians can sleep naked in 39 F temperatures; their skin and outer body temperatures fall substantially, but they ignore this and sleep without shivering, while the internal organs remain at normal body heat.” The Alacalufs of Tierra del Fuego, on the other hand, who also sleep naked in miserable weather-even in sleet or snow-show an increased metabolic rate, and shiver to generate heat, although without awakening.”

While no humans can live unprotected in Antarctica, penguins can do so, even enduring a bowling wind at 80 F below zero; in fact, they can do this for months at a time, without food! Part of this capacity depends on a special network of blood vessels in the feet, with arteries close to veins, so that warm outgoing blood in the arteries takes the chill off incoming blood in the veins. As already noted, the out-doorsman will have variable vascular features.

Instead of the penguin’s feathers, our snow man may have the hair of the yak or the yeti. Domestic animals, such as some varieties of dogs and horses, grow thicker hair when the weather gets colder, and perhaps superman will be able to grow hair in hours instead of weeks. If it isn’t feasible to grow hair that quickly, he might burrow into the snow and hibernate for a few days while the fur is sprouting.

Heat is potentially much more dangerous to life than cold. Living tissue can freeze and live-sometimes even near cannot boil and live, even though some microbes can endure many minutes in boiling water, and there are organisms which thrive in hot springs at a temperature not far below boiling. But there are animals, including mammals, that can live in the hottest deserts.

The camel, of course, is the prime example-an amazing animal. Not only is it a mammal, but it is a sweating mammal, yet it can go without water for days in the Sahara. Part of its adaptation is the tolerance of a wide range of blood temperature: in the cold desert night, it cools down to the low nineties, and next day it can slowly warm up to 105 F, absorbing a great deal of heat in its massive body, before beginning to sweat. Then when it perspires, water is drawn from the tissue spaces of the body, the blood remaining normal; it can lose more than 30 gallons of water and over 25% of its body weight without harm-and then restore itself with a half hour’s drinking! (The hump stores fat, not water.) These should be relatively easy tricks to learn, and modified man will wander in comfort, naked, almost anywhere on earth.

Body Armor

The notion of a man with natural armor seems ridiculous at first. We usually associate such armor with the chitinous exoskeletons of insects, or the horny plates or scales of reptiles, and not with mammals. We also have been taught that over-specialization is the biological road to ruin, with the disappearance of the giant reptiles as the prime example; agility is more important than a tough hide. Furthermore, the availability of artificial armor-clothing and vehicles of various kinds-might make it seem rather silly to grow our own. But there are possibilities only recently recognized.

A few years ago a Long Island company reported development of a new nylon body armor for soldiers and police-a one-eighth-inch fabric of special weave that works by “diverting the impact energy from the impact point.” The threads “pull together and tighten up when struck by a bullet, force it to wobble, then actually pucker around the projectile and Stop it.” (170) A bayonet is said scarcely to dent it.

Perhaps this material did not fulfill its promise or advertising, since I have found no more recent report; but the idea may have some merit. If it does, then a special kind of hair, trained to grow in the necessary patterns, might fulfill the function of the nylon. Or there might be a subcutaneous layer, a web of thin, tough ligaments cunningly woven, which would tend to prevent any deep penetrating wounds. After all, many creatures have layers of protective fat under the skin. If the volume and mass requirements of the armor layer and its service tissues are substantial, then our armored man will just have to be a little bigger, but that’s no problem.

Imagine the chagrin of a lion who tries to take a bite out of this model of man. The poor beastie would think itself up against Clark Kent in person.

Stinking, Shocking, and Breathing Fire

What about a biological repertory of active defense? As usual, the presumption is that it isn’t worth the trouble, but again-who knows? Built-in biological weapons would be relatively puny, but they are also cheap and convenient. There may be periods and philosophies in which the selfcontained man is idealized, external appurtenances are scorned, and frontiersmen will have to deal with hostile life-forms on strange planets.

If so, we can design quite a versatile active defense system into a body just a little bigger than present man’s, with a few specialized glands and other organs. In this way, we could secrete poisons of many kinds, and deliver them by fang or claw or spray: the formic acid of the ant, the venom of the cobra or black widow, etc. (“Let’s get married, Honey.” “We can’t-you’re poisonous and I’m not.”)

Chemical active defense is not limited to poisons, but also includes stenches, such as those of skunks and certain beetles. It could also include smoke screens-the cuttlefish uses an inky smoke screen under water-and it should be possible to develop one for use in air.

We could also imitate the electric eel, and acquire the ability to deliver a thousand-volt jolt at will.

An even more delightful trait would be the ability to blow flames, which is actually possible with no great difficulty, even though so far only mythological creatures have done so, The idea occurred to me when I saw some undergraduates display an engaging trick: they would pass gas (flatulence), hold a lighted match near the rear end, and there would be a marvelous puff of flame. (The gas contains combustible hydrocarbons.) For a dragon-or a man-to blow flames, all that is necessary is to belch a similar gas, simultaneously gnashing teeth that are designed to strike sparks, similar to flint and steel. Voila-a living blowtorch! (It may take a little practice to avoid singed eyebrows.)

Batman and Dragonfly

The origin of our dreams of flying seems to be in dispute. Some claim these dreams have sexual significance, others that they are related to our ancient fear of falling out of the tree, or still more ancient adjustments to a three-dimensional life in the sea. Or our yearnings may stem prosaically from envy of the birds. However that may be, there is indeed a widespread longing to fly with our own wings, and this longing will assuredly be fulfilled.

Will we really create a race of batmen? Or will Los Angeles one day refer primarily, not to a city, but to a breed of angels, a variety of winged men? The obvious difficulties make an affirmative answer seem absurd; yet bide a wee.

The worst problems of winged men may concern furniture and clothing. To fly is splendid, but to perch is ridiculous, and furniture to accommodate wings may require tricky design. But all this is secondary to the feasibility of flying.

Icarus could never have gotten off the ground. Many studies have shown that man is simply too heavy to fly under his own power. Given earth’s gravity and atmosphere, the power and wing surface requirements seem to rule out a flyer the size of a man. The largest flying bird, the condor, has a wing spread of nine feet but a weight of only about twenty-two pounds. The largest animals ever known to have flown, certain pteranodons of the cretaceous, had wing spreads of twenty feet but weights, it is believed, of only about twenty-five pounds; and they were probably soaring creatures primarily, rather than wing flappers.

This is one of the key words: soar. It is obvious that men can fly without engines, because they have done so: sail-planes can carry men for hours, if the pilot is skillful in finding updrafts of air to ride. If we add the ability to flap one’s wings for added upthrust and forward thrust, then we could have muscle-powered flyers.

However, the use of very large wings to permit soaring, and the ability to flap these wings are not easy to reconcile. What may be needed is a large set of locked wings, plus a smaller subsidiary set that our muscles can flap. This might lead to a man looking like neither an angel nor a bat, but more like a dragonfly-or like the four-inch scarab beetle of Central America, with stiffly spread forewings and beating rear wings. (122)

Recent and current experiments with ornithopters have involved bicycle mechanisms to flap mechanical wings. As far as I know, no one yet has tried the combination of a large fixed wing plus a small powered set. Success with the latter might help pave the way for dragonfly man.

All this may still sound rather foolish, involving too much effort and too much specialization for a result of very limited value. But the specialization may not be as excessive as it seems, and the result not so limited in application. Imagine a race with a smallish set of wings, powered by the pectorals and muscles of the back, shoulders and buttocks. Living in the very low-g interior of a hollow asteroid, these people could fly handily, and would be free as birds. In caverns of the moon, where weight is one sixth that on earth, they could attach small auxiliary fixed wings; this dependence on artificial aids might be not much different from our usual reliance on shoes for walking. For those who visit or live on earth, flight would require putting on a large set of soaring wings, and would be almost entirely recreational rather than utilitarian, yet it might seem worthwhile.

There will be myraid complications, some of them unforeseen, but also compensations. New sense organs may be needed for navigation, and a balanced body will require patient simulated trials. But the life of the mind, as well as the senses, would be enriched: there could be whole new modes of expression, subjects of fashion and adornment, referents for literature, bases for architecture. At least some of us, for a time, might live in such fairylands.


Oceanography of late has become almost as glamorous as space science, with countless predictions that much of man’s technological and economic future lies in the sea; mutual funds have sprung up devoted entirely to speculation in the stocks of ocean-oriented companies. Oil drilling under water is already important, and there are indications that metallic mineral recovery may become so; portions of the ocean floor have been discovered heavily sprinkled with mineral nodules containing substantial amounts of manganese, copper, and cobalt. (179) More sophisticated fisheries and deep-sea “farming” may mitigate the world food shortage.

All these predictions and speculations deserve considerable skepticism; they may or may not prove out. But one thing is sure: there is a lot of ocean-the seas cover more than seventy per cent of the planet. The ocean is much more habitable for man than any of the known extra-terrestrial planets. The temperature of seawater is more or less tolerable, and although the stuff isn’t quite right either for drinking or breathing, accommodations can be made.

Is it possible to breathe water? Yes-even for a mammal! In a remarkable series of experiments a few years ago, it was found that dogs could live underwater for hours, inhaling and exhaling water instead of air. The main trick required was to keep more oxygen than normal dissolved in the water, under pressure; the small amount in solution at ordinary pressure is not enough for a mammal. While this type of experiment has no direct application, it does show that we are not as far removed from sea adaptation as might be thought.

A full-fledged aquaman must be able to breathe under water, and not just hold his breath while making long dives, as the seals and whales do. Whether our lungs can be modified to breathe both air and water is uncertain. Possibly a set of gills will have to be added, with either lungs or gills hooked into the circulatory system, depending on need. Once again, all these spare parts and alternate systems will need more space-a larger person-unless we can increase the efficiency of other parts.

The usual predictions for life in the sea center on domed cities, with excursions requiring submarines, scuba gear, or something of the sort. But freedom, fun, and safety will be magnified when water becomes one of our natural elements. Making the adaptation will not be easy; there are countless problems in addition to breathing: problems involving the skin, the eyes, the ears and many other considerations. Yet when they are solved, “freedom of the seas” will have an entirely new meaning.

The Way Before the Omnivore

One of man’s natural competitive advantages has been his willingness to eat almost anything that doesn’t bite him back, and many things that do. It can be wiggly like a rot-grub, squiggly like an earthworm, stinking like limburger, or full of offal like a fresh intestine-a hungry man will eat it, if civilization hasn’t queered him to the point of suicide. (Some anthropologists believe that early man was not primarily a predator, but a gatherer and scavenger; he found his dinner under a rotten log, or if he were lucky, he stole some carrion before the hyenas got to it.) He has some digestive peers, including the pigs, and some superiors, including the cockroaches, but not many. By and large, man is a good journeyman omnivore.

In the future, the question of digestion is not likely to be a major one; in a century, at the outside, we will probably have solved the problems of space and population, and our wealth and resources could be such that everyone can live exclusively on caviar, truffles, and hummingbird tongues, if be wishes. Even so, it may be thought prudent to design the greatest versatility into ourselves-in case of unforeseen emergencies-as a convenience in exploring and colonizing new planets, or possibly as a way of deflating the mystique of eating. There may be some small value in asking, how far can superman go in becoming the complete omnivore?

As a first step, we can learn to enjoy-and not merely tolerate-those things our bodies now can process. This will be partly a psychological trick, since many of our repugnances derive from cultural or personal bias, e.g. the Japanese like raw fish and Americans do not. Americans like maize and Chinese do not. And so on. But this improvement may also be partly physical, including the provision for some pleasant new sensations and for blocking certain unpleasant sensations, those associated with specific aromatics or other chemicals in certain foods. (By way of analogy, the ear can be trained to enjoy certain sophisticated combinations of sounds, and can also be physically deafened to certain otherwise irritating frequencies.) At present, “taste” is said to be largely a matter of smell, with the actual taste buds sensitive only to sweet, sour, salt, and bitter signals. In the future, we may invent a great many new kinds of taste buds, or increase the range of those we have.

(Sometimes what seems to be just a finicky appetite is based on metabolism. Some varieties of men-such as those in Africa and South America-seem to lose the enzyme needed to digest lactose after they are weaned, and the dried milk that generous Americans send them makes them sick.)

As a second step, we can adopt or adapt the techniques of the mammalian herbivores, so that we can eat salads of grass if we choose. But of course grass is not very nourishing, even for cows and horses-they need a great deal of it to get by-and this will bestow no major benefit, except to the vegetarians.

As a third step, we can study the termites, design suitable symbiotic bacteria, and attain the capacity to digest cellulose (plant fiber generally, even sawdust) into sugar. This would wonderfully improve our survival potential in hostile or stingy environments.

As a fourth step, we can study the small faunas of caves, and design the ability to extract energy from many kinds of mineral ores, even in the absence of oxygen. In emergencies, then, a superman might be able to subsist on a barren, airless planet! Creatures have been found that actually have such capacities. We may become literally able to chew nails and spit rust.

As a fifth step, we can use techniques borrowed from the desert creatures (mentioned earlier) to get by with a minimum of water, e.g., by allowing a rise in body temperature instead of sweating to keep it low, and by dropping nearly dry feces.

As a sixth step, we can learn the ability-said to be exhibited by some animals, including cattle-to utilize a certain amount of mineral nitrogen as food, rather than requiring all organic nitrogen, thus reducing our need for proteins.

As a seventh step, we might even copy or improve on the performance of the legumes, and fix nitrogen from the air. Instead of eating protein, we could inhale its main ingredient.

More generally, we might learn to utilize all the main nutritional elements of air-oxygen, carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen-so that, besides energy, we would need only relatively small amounts of other elements (phosphorus, sulfur, etc.) from other sources to get by. This would be doing better than most plants, which require water from the ground and cannot get by with water vapor in the air. The energy could be obtained in a variety of ways, including solar conversion devices of various kinds to utilize the sun’s rays; but ultimately, as already indicated, we hope to be able to use a miniature nuclear fusion device (sort of a tiny, controlled-release, hydrogen bomb) that will last, for all practical purposes, indefinitely without refueling, and provide energy for all our bodily purposes, including metabolism and locomotion.

A superman of this model, if he chose, could disdain dining altogether. Perhaps cults of asceticism would arise, eating being considered a disgusting display of primitive animalism. And if some of the religions of India maintain their sway, their adherents would welcome the chance to quit being predators of any kind, to live without devouring other living beings. As an outward sign of their moral superiority, such cults might eliminate the mouth from the human (or X-model super-human) physiognomy, substituting a porous membrane capable of passing only air. For those speaking English, the most obscene four-letter words would be feed and food.

Superman: Giant or Midget?

Among the many possible dimensions of the improvement of man are some simple and obvious ones, such as physical size. Both enlargement and reduction have been recommended at one time or another.

In reduction, there are still ways of looking down on the big guys. For example, one advantage is that little people have little appetites. If human crowding continues to increase, we may prize people who don’t take up too much room, or eat too much, or wear too many yards of cloth. Looking at it durch die Blume, a little man can live, on the same money, better than a big man.

The best thing about little people is that they are quicker, and this for at least two fundamental reasons. First, their nerve-paths, their internal bodily communications, are shorter, thus the signals have less distance to travel (for example, from brain to hand). Second, their limb movements require less time, for mechanical reasons that are a little complex but well established. Thus, smaller humans could accomplish more in a given time, man for man, in most kinds of work-apparently.

The gains in economy and efficiency of minimen have other aspects too, including military ones. Submarines, airplanes, and especially spaceships have a crying need for small crewmen. Why put a big lard-bottom in the cockpit when only his hands, eyes and brain are useful? Life-support systems-for handling air, water, food, waste, temperature, etc.-are bulky and expensive almost in direct proportion to the size of the crewman.

Even in present-day infantry, the little man has some advantages: he can find cover and concealment more easily, and he makes a smaller target, these being obvious assets, especially in reconnaisance. On the other hand, he hurts more when he does take a hit, and he cannot carry as much armor. On the first hand, again-and this is the main point here--personal strength is not very important in modern warfare. In the days of armor and battle-axe, a big man could demolish a crowd of little men; but today, two little guys with rifles can outshoot a big guy in most circumstances, even if he has a heavier piece.

We hope war between men will die out, but always lurking in the background is the bogey of the ET or BEM the Extra Terrestrial invader, or the Bug-Eyed Monster. In any case, there are other considerations.

One is the question of vanity. Most of us dislike confronting bigger people. Perhaps this quirk will disappear with improved mental health, which we hope is in store, but I wouldn’t count on it. Hence, unless we legislate individual altitude and standardize it, we can probably expect most citizens to buy the “big” option. But how high can we buy?

The tallest man who ever lived may have been Goliath of Gath, before David cut him down. He was perhaps eleven feet, which, interestingly, is approximately the maximum height some scientists estimate to be theoretically possible for a human type skeleton and circulatory system. To go much beyond that would perhaps require a whole new design, and this again might rub our vanity the wrong way. But there is more at stake than vanity: large size does have some absolute advantages.

We need big brains for big jobs. There is, to be sure, no established correlation between human brain size and intelligence; a man with a highbrow or big-dome can be stupid, and a size-six hat can cover a capable mind. It may be that we use only a fraction of our brain cells. Nevertheless, we have to process enormous quantities of data, and this requires a sizable “computer” with billions of storage and switching elements. There is probably no way in which an ant, for instance, could operate at the present human level, because its nervous system just isn’t complex enough, and the time will surely come when our present brains aren’t big enough either.

This time may be far in the future, to be sure, and there may be answers other than growing bigger brains. Perhaps we will connect the human brain to an electronic computer, by plugin wires or laser beam, and use this “augmented” brain for heavy work. Then again, it has been suggested that we may “merge” several people en rapport, by telepathy or some such, to create a kind of communal brain or hive mind, in order to graduate to higher levels of mentality.

But the last idea is rather fanciful and perhaps distasteful, and living brains are much more compact than computers give promise of becoming, so the bigger brain is the likeliest solution, at least for the relatively near future. How big could our brains and ourselves be grown?

The largest animal bodies, and the largest brains, are those of whales, and if we want to go much beyond Goliath we may have to emulate the whale, grow fins and dive back into the ocean. (We may also learn to breathe seawater, which whales cannot do.) Or else, we might colonize small planets, moons, and asteroids, where the reduced gravity would allow a whale of a man to walk around. Earth is restricting, but aquamen or “loonies” might have more freedom. Alternatively, of course, we might become cyborgs; but that is another story.

Cyborgs, Saucer Men, and Extended Bodies

To most people of this era, the prosthesis-artificial replacement for part of the body-is a crutch: ugly, inadequate, and pitiful-a sorry, last-resort substitute for the real thing. And even though it is intellectually obvious that prostheses may become, in many instances, superior to the natural limb or organ, they remain repugnant, and the notion of deliberately mechanizing man seems abhorrent, on the aesthetic level if no other. Nevertheless, such attitudes can change, and for at least some people, “progress” will consist of reducing to minimum our dependence on our “natural” bodies. We will be close to ultimate development in this respect when our organic brains are served by “bodies” which are collections of mechanical sensors and effectors-devices for perceiving and manipulating the environment of variable number and location, not necessarily bound together in a single structural unit.

To show that such a trend exists, and that the goal is technically reasonable, is not difficult. The Russians have reported building artificial arms that respond to the brain’s normal signals picked up from the stump of the natural arm; the patient simply attempts to move his arm, as though it were still there, and the prosthesis responds, through a system of electric motors! (106) Efforts are also under way to provide artificial arms and hands with tactile sensation, so the patient can actually feel pressures, at least.

Although, to date, mechanical extensions of the body are inferior in sensitivity and facility of manipulation, some of them are greatly superior in raw strength and power. Great walking and handling devices have been designed, operated by a man through servomechanisms: the huge metal arms and legs of the machine imitate and magnify the arm and leg movements of the operator, making the machine a powerful extension of the man.

As for internal organs, everyone knows that there has been some degree of success with artificial hearts, which have sustained life for limited periods in lower animals, such as cattle, and in at least one human patient. Bone and blood vessel replacement by artifacts have become almost commonplace. Some experts believe that, before many decades, there will be artificial stomachs, livers, and kidneys, equal or superior to the originals. (106) Hearing aids are useful in several kinds of hearing impairment. At Western Michigan University, a research program has been reported aimed at nothing less than the development of an artificial eye, which could be connected to the brain of a blind person to provide, not a substitute for sight, but sight itself.

Now, this mention of artificial eyes immediately elicits the question: If we can provide the equivalent of natural sight by artificial means, why not something better than natural sight? A synthetic eye could be made sensitive not only to the “visible” spectrum, but also to a wide range of the ultraviolet and infrared, opening up possibilities which include night vision and qualitatively new aesthetic experiences colors heretofore impossible and unimagined. (Perhaps we could even “see” radio waves!) The technical problems may well be formidable-in particular, the brain may need extensive training and/or revision to handle the new sensations-but this probably affects just the time scale of development.

A man, part of whose subsystems are mechanical or artificial, has been called a “cyborg.” One version of the cyborg envisions all the major organs of the abdomen and thorax replaced by artificial components. At an advanced stage of development, such a cyborg might embody a closed cycle of nutrients and wastes, with no material entering or leaving the body. (Such a closed cycle already exists, in limited form outside the body, in a space capsule.) The gaseous, liquid and solid wastes of the body would be reconverted to oxygen and food; the energy supply might eventually derive from nuclear fusion, scarcely ever requiring refueling. Such a man (the tendency to call him a “creature” should be resisted) would not have to eat, drink, or even breathe, and he would be nearly impervious to changes in environment.

Carrying the notion even further, Dandridge Cole posited “saucer men,” people with only their heads-or perhaps only their brains-remaining natural and organic, all other functions being taken over by superior artificial systems, including a “flying saucer” as the vehicle or main body matrix. The saucers would provide better mobility and mechanical senses and manipulators at the individual’s service.

One can go even beyond this to the concept of “extended bodies.” The brain need not necessarily be mobile; in fact, it might be better protected and served if fixed at home base. The sensors and effectors-eyes, hands, etc-could be far away, and even widely scattered, with communication by appropriate signals (not necessarily radio). Such a person would be a superman indeed. To many his mode of living may be difficult to imagine and unpleasant to consider, but it should not be thought that such a being would be more limited than man or less freequite the contrary.

In the first place, if our “extended man” wishes, be can retain, and even multiply, the animal pleasures. He can have a variety of remote-control bodies-either organic, or mechanical, or a combination-and he can control and experience these bodies in exactly the same subjective way we control and experience our bodies. The freedom and variety at his command (at our command, if we choose this path) will far surpass what ours are now, because his bodies will be greater in number, more varied in location, and far more versatile in capabilities. We cannot easily imagine what it would be like to enjoy such numerous and scattered limbs and organs, but we can be entirely certain of one thing: there will be some personalities, at least, who will enjoy and elect such a style of existence.

For those who find it hard to imagine a largely artificial or mechanized body, there are already some hints that one can, indeed, develop a feeling for it. Consider those pilots who “fly by the seats of their pants,” or the operators of bulldozers: they develop great sensitivity to the stresses and states of their machines, which may come to seem as much alive as a horse or even an extension of their body. When the perceptions become direct when a clash of gears, for instance, produces a physical feeling of heartburn, or a sore elbow-then the machine will be as much a part of the man as any piece of meat.

Since many people still feel a pervasive coldness and bleak utilitarianism in this type of “progress,” perhaps I should emphasize further the emotional and aesthetic aspects of these potentialities. If man, or superman, chooses this “extended” type of existence, then he-we, remember--would multiply not only his physical and intellectual powers, but also his capacities and avenues for sensation, appreciation and empathy. For example, we could include animal bodies, suitably modified, in our stock; we could take vacations “in” (in remote control of) the bodies of animals: diving with the otter, frisking with the antelope, stalking with the tiger. (Again, there would be complex problems to overcome, such as integrating a human mind with animal bodies and reflexes; but these are details, as Will Rogers said when he recommended boiling the Atlantic Ocean to destroy German U-boats in World War I.) Endless sexually erotic possibilities are also possible: couples could frolic in diverse forms.

It is not asserted that the cyborg and his extensions are inevitable developments in the main line of human and superhuman progress, nor is it denied that both serious difficulties and grave disadvantages in such developments may exist (although none has been demonstrated, to my knowledge). It may be, for example, that prudence will dictate principal reliance on organic modes, so that small numbers of individuals could carry on in event of a major calamity to a civilization; we may not want to make ourselves completely reliant on sophisticated repair and maintenance services, which might be subject to breakdown. (We remember, ruefully, the dislocations produced by a few inches of snow in New York or a break in a hightension power line.) Nevertheless, anything that is possible is also likely to become feasible-eventually. These avenues are certain to be explored-they are being explored-and it is equally definite that at least a few people sometime will vigorously proceed along this path. The results will be instructive at the very least, and perhaps salvific.

Eternal Life and Giantism

The notion of “extended bodies” can itself be extended to that of the multicorporeal giants, having not only sensors and effectors but even brains distributed over large volumes of space. Such an idea has an interesting relation to the possibility of infinitely extended life.

Apparently most scientists assume that infinite life is impossible for fundamental physical and mathematical reasons, which have been made explicit by Professor James S. Hayes. (72) However, while eternal life is not clearly possible (we don’t even know if the future of the universe is unlimited), it isn’t clearly impossible either.

According to Professor Hayes, if there is any chance at all of accidental death in a given span, in the long run death is certain. He also notes that we would eventually have to cull our memories, since otherwise our brains could not grow fast enough to retain them.

Actually, our information-stuffed brains will eventually have to grow to provide more storage space, and the growth need be controlled; but if available space is infinite, only the annual percentage growth in brain tissue will have to decrease, not the tonnage.

Now, a reader of decent sensibilities will be stunned by the word “tonnage.” Tons of brain tissue? Of course: doubtlessly, some irreducible minimum amount of matter, in mass and volume, is required to store a unit of information, and if we jettison no memories, we must become gigantic. Even storing “our” memories in a separate mechanical store or computer, plugged in at will, cannot avoid giantism for several reasons. In any case, we should not want to avoid giantism-it is our salvation with respect to the accidental death bogey.

There is a certain risk of catastrophe per year per cubic yard, and we can hardly expect to keep reducing this risk fast enough forever; hence any ordinary individual must expect a fatal accident sooner or later. But a society, if it spreads out fast enough, can have a nonzero probability of infinite life. (This will be obvious to mathematicians, and I omit the proof, simple though it is.) Can an individual do the same?

Certainly! To begin with, one may think of himself as located at a point in space, but be is not: each of us occupies an appreciable volume, and can sacrifice considerable material without disaster. For example, rays from radioactive elements constantly damage or kill cells of our bodies--thousands daily-but we replace them and carry on, and in fact do not even notice what is happening.

Of course, we cannot just grow huge, and keep this up indefinitely. Neither can we stomach the notion of submerging ourselves in a “hive” organism the individual playing the role of a cell in a superbeing; we do not want to be reduced to the status of bees or ants or anything similar. The answer is that man could develop a new type of body, the parts of which would not be physically united as they have been heretofore.

It is simply a matter of communication. The hemispheres of a brain, for example, in principle ought to be capable of integration by wires, or even radio, rather than nerves; and the same thing is true of smaller components. We should envisage a race of titans, each multicorporeal, his body divided into myriad components attenuated over a large and increasing volume of space, integrated by something like radio waves. If a star goes nova, only a few planets may be lost-a trifle, a toenail. (We are assuming now that space, as well as time, has no end.)

As always, there will be a price to pay. In particular, the giants will live slowly, of necessity, in Einstein’s world: if you are spread over a trillion cubic light-years, and your nervous system signals from one part of you to another at the speed of light, it will take you a long while to think and act. It is interesting to speculate, however, that this may explain the mysterious absence of emissaries from higher civilizations: any culture much beyond the present human stage enters the macrocosmic phase and is more or less out of touch.

In addition to size and slowness, the giants might have another bizarre quality-intermingling of bodies. If the purpose of giantism is immortality, avoiding catastrophe by having one’s parts scattered over immense volumes, any small volume (say a planet) would not have to be reserved for a single individual. Thus a galaxy, say, might support billions of individuals, each one scattered onto billions of planets and each planet supporting parts of billions of different people.

People? Beings, rather; they could hardly be much like ourselves, whose psychology and culture are strongly dependent on the physical character of our bodies. Their lives would not necessarily be entirely mental, but they would indeed be strange. They would not stand, sit, walk, talk, or even have a definite location in any easily understood sense. A man could not even perceive the existence of such a being, let alone understand its modes of living.

An obvious nasty conjecture is that the giants are already in our region of space, and we, all unwitting, are their “ cells.” That the organism’s organization, from our point of view, is inefficient and often unpleasant may interest them not at all. An even nastier conjecture is that we are not yet cells, but will shortly be taken over for that purpose, when we reach an appropriate state of development, by already existing giants evolved from a different form of life. But we can hope that they would not work in such a sloppy manner, or use fully self-conscious cells.

Finally, I am not postulating nor predicting the existence of giants. I think any such development unlikely in the extreme; instead, it seems nearly certain that new discoveries and ways of thinking will appear in the coming centuries which will outmode all such questions. I cannot conceive that we will ever seriously worry about eternal life as contrasted with life “merely” extended for thousands or tens of thousands of years. It is doubtful that the present “limiting” laws of physics-those of relatively and quantum mechanics-will retain their supposed fundamental character forever. The purpose of the little exercise above, other than having some fun, is just to put in their places those who take smug and narrow views concerning what can and cannot happen in the millennial future.

Home Where the Tachyons Roam

Various people have hazarded conjectures as to the “ultimate” development of man or superman. Arthur Clarke has made at least two suggestions: (1) human personalities will be copied and stored electronically, perhaps in several locations, conferring essential immortality and near-invulnerability; (2) the race will graduate to a kind of hive-mind, with individual “People” corresponding to the cells of the super-organism. Neither of these impresses me favorably, the first cavalierly assuming that identity is preserved when this is far from clear, and the second being somewhat distasteful as well as unnecessary.

Professor Gerald Feinberg has speculated that the final goal of evolution may be universal consciousness the entire physical universe integrated into a single, fully self conscious entity, which would then spend its time in varieties of introspection.” (Although Dr. Feinberg did not put it this way, one might say our goal is to create, and to become, God.) However, this seems unsatisfactory to me for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it is not yet known whether the universe is finite or infinite; if infinite, it is difficult to see how it could be integrated. More important, this notion seems to make unwarranted assumptions about the nature of consciousness, which in fact is not yet understood. Consciousness is known not to reside in our total brains (since much can be excised with no noticeable effect), and I doubt that it is possible, even in principle, for all of the universe to share consciousness.

In any case, we can hardly talk about ultimate development, which is a matter of function, not form, and which is probably many stages beyond our present ability to conceive. Still, it is interesting to project our imaginations as far as we can. The previous section discussed the notion of the multicorporeal giants. Now lot us modify and extend this idea to take account of recent developments in physics.

In the last several years, as noted elsewhere, Feinberg, Bilaniuk and others have postulated the existence of particles called tachyons, traveling faster than light, and have shown that these are not necessarily inconsistent with Einstein’s theory of relativity. (12) Although such particles have not yet been experimentally confirmed, and although they possess some very strange properties, many of which are still unclear, it is assumed that they can interact with ordinary matter and with each other, and can carry signals with any speed greater than that of light. (Particles, such as photons and neutrinos, which can exist only at the speed of light are called luxons, while ordinary particles which cannot reach or exceed light speed are termed tardyons.) If tachyons exist, and possess the properties inferred, what would this mean for our giants?

For a start, it means that the Giants need not be as slow as otherwise presumed; even though their “body” parts are separated by many lightyears, “internal” communication could be rapid. (External communication could also, of course.) It is not clear, at least to me, just how fast communication might be. For two observers-or two parts of a giant-not in relative motion, signals can even be instantaneous, the tachyons being allowed infinite speed. (A “transcendent,” or infinitely fast tachyon, carries no energy, but it does carry momentum, and presumably could transmit a signal; on interaction with a tardyon, the latter would change its direction, although not its speed.) But when the’ observers-or the parts of a giant-are in relative motion, the problem becomes much stickier, with apparent time anomalies to be interpreted. At any rate, a giant employing tachyons could live much faster than one depending on lightspeed signals.

We can indulge in speculations even more tenuous. If the tachyons can interact with the other types of particles and with each other, why should they play only a subordinate or auxiliary role in the functioning of the giants? Why should not a giant, by a gradual process of change and development, become a pattern of tachyons? Function is more important than form; perhaps a suitable aggregate of tachyons, with patterns and feedbacks analogous to those in our minds, could be a living entity-ourselves, at a higher stage of development. This would not necessarily solve life’s most important problems, but it ought to provide an awesomely powerful means to our ends. The individual would not become the universe, as in Feinberg’s suggestion, but he could permeate the universe; he could exist, perceive and act everywhere simultaneously.

Needless to say, such a notion raises tantalizing questions that we are not prepared to answer. For example, if tachyonman can think instantaneously, then he can complete his life’s sequence of thoughts in an instant, and fulfill his destiny, can he not? This is another possible answer to the question, “Where is everybody?” Perhaps advanced races quickly proceed to the level of tachyonmen, and are “finished”-whatever that means.

These reflections also suggest another possibility, without the need for tachyons. Particles of light, electromagnetic radiation-photons-also interact with each other. Could there be such a thing as photon-man-an aggregate of patterned, interacting photons, collectively constituting a person? Or at least, might the physical parts of a being depend much less heavily on tardyons, and much more on luxons? This also would give rise to startlingly different capacities. All of these possibilities will be actively investigated-perhaps sooner than we think.


In many fanciful stories, evolution’s goal has been depicted as the development of “pure mind,” with the implication that eventually we will become more or less disembodied spirits, freed from the bondage of matter. Sometimes this notion of “pure mind” pictures entities of “pure energy,” whatever that means-perhaps beings that are still material, but less grossly material, possibly containing no particles less nimble than electrons. Sometimes, again, there is postulated a being who is built entirely of “force fields,” which would be another less grossly physical sort of construct. (Actually, physicists do not usually regard force fields as separable from particles.) But there is also sometimes the bald allusion to superghost, the quite immaterial being of pure mind or pure spirit, which is said to represent our ultimate destiny.

Now, we cannot summarily reject such suggestions merely because they are vague and carry overtones of magic: any speculations about the far future must have these qualities. Neither are we entitled to sneer just because those who suggest the notions become easily confused which is another way of saying the same thing; it is indeed possible for someone to have a useful idea, or the germ of an idea, without being able to express it clearly or make it hold up in argument.

Neither should we shoot some of the ammunition at hand, for example the false arguments adduced by some of these speculators. Some of the spiritualists are motivated by abhorrence of determinism, whereas in fact this is entirely a separate issue; the arguments for determinism apply with the same force, no more and no less, to a spiritualist world as to a materialist world. Like most people, the spiritualists mix in some bad argument and drag in some irrelevant bogies, but we should be interested in dealing with their best arguments, not their worst. Further, we should not be swayed by nasty words such as “dualism.” Everyone realizes the world must be monistic in the sense that its parts and aspects must be capable of interaction-otherwise we could never have any awareness of the other part. At the same time, there may be parts or aspects of the world so foreign to our everyday thought and experience as to justify separate treatment. There are recent examples: e.g., the phenomena of electromagnetic radiation, outside of the visible spectrum, represent an extremely important aspect of the universe, yet one entirely unsuspected until modern times; in classic Greece, radio waves and X-rays might as well have existed in a different universe.

The evidence for psychic phenomena, in the sense of extrasensory perception, seems extremely weak. Nevertheless, some investigators are convinced of their reality, and of their dramatic divergence from the ordinary phenomena of physics; for example, Professor Joseph Rhine believes that certain effects are unaffected by distance or time. (141) Likewise, the seance-spiritualists have not convincingly demonstrated their “ectoplasm,” yet it is at least conceivable that some quasi-material “soul” somehow inhabits and directs the body.

We do know that very sensitive linkages exist in nature, pivot-points where extremely subtle influences can exert profound effects: for example, some years back a few pounds of copper threads were put in orbit around the earth for certain tests, and some scientists thought there was danger of the earth’s entire climate being disturbed! Professor J. C. Eccles, a prominent neurophysiologist, has written that the brain is indeed the sort of machine a ghost could operate; i.e., the mind might be a very insubstantial kind of director, needing only to nudge the brain very slightly at crucial spots to make it carry on their mutual business in the desired way. While this kind of dualism seems most farfetched to me, so far neither necessary nor fruitful, one cannot make a final judgment. Neutrinos certainly have almost a ghostly quality, and so do tachyons, if they exist; it may conceivably turn out, after all, that the spiritualists have erred chiefly in language and attitude.

Without filling in the details or soft spots, maybe we can picture something like this. The mind is different from the brain-material, but extremely subtle, even harder to detect by ordinary methods than the neutrino. This mind, essentially, is the person. It is symbiotic with the brain, in a sense; or perhaps we should say that only the mind is “alive,” the brain being merely an appendage of the mind, as the leg is an appendage of the person. Both-brain and mind-are essential, and both develop together, the reproductive cells carrying both the seed of a brain and the seed of a mind. With present techniques, the mind cannot exist without the brain, but future developments may make it possible for the mind to divorce itself from its gross partner and be self supporting. Thus we may imagine our transfigured selves as beings of “Pure mind,” gliding swift and ethereal through the reaches of the cosmos.

Hogwash, in all probability. I emphasize again that the evidence for any such notions is extremely slim, with much more likely explanations at band for all known phenomena. And yet, the realities of the distant future will be at least as strange as this.



Transsex and Supersex