Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Cryo buys me peace of mind

Perhaps we've been selling cryonics wrong. I'm signed up and feel like the reason I should have for signing up is that cryonics buys me a small, but non-zero chance at living forever. However, for years this should didn't actually result in me signing up.

Recently, though, after being made aware of this dissonance between my words and actions, I finally signed up. I'm now very glad that I did.

But it's not because I now have a shot at everlasting life.

I've always been afraid of dying: every lurch of a plane in turbulence gets my palms sweaty; every nearly-avoided mishap I encounter while driving makes me vow to drive even less than I currently do. I won't even consider going on a cruise until I learn to swim.

These and other things still scare me, but now I have hope—real and corrigible—that no matter what happens to my body, I'll still have a chance of coming back. In boardgame terms, my cryo membership buys me a saving throw for the next time I'm about to lose the game of life.

It would be nice if I could buy this peace of mind about my family and friends. If it were possible to sign them up for cryo without their knowledge, I’d probably do it so I wouldn't worry about them while I’m away from home.

I love this quote by Ben Hoffman that captures the security I feel:
Someone at dinner used the phrase "when the worms get me" and I immediately reached under my collar to make sure I was wearing my magical anti-death amulet. So glad I'm signed up for Cryonics.
Life insurance ad: "Feel relaxed until the last moment"
Life insurance ad: "Feel relaxed until the last moment"

A friend of mine mentioned that he’d consider signing up for cryonics if he could see even a mouse get cryopreserved and then resurrected. Recent results—like Mikula and Denk preserving a mouse brain, potentially for hundreds of years, and well enough to trace all the neurons in it—point to a future when those preserved brains could be scanned, uploaded, and emulated in virtual environments that are indistinguishable from the real thing.

Hopefully, before too long, cryo will be able to satisfy our concrete, immediate desire for peace of mind and also our idealistic desire for eternal life.

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