You Only Have One Body And One Life. Do You Value Them?

What do you live for? Why do you work? To what end? Is this life just a ride you get to experience for 80 years or so, if you're lucky? Is your reason to be alive to serve God or some other purpose? Is it to serve others? Your family? Or is it to serve yourself? To what end is the purpose of your life? Is it the attainment of virtues? The fulfillment of values? To what end?

I believe that no matter the explicitly articulated reason someone thinks they live, the real reason is personal happiness. It is the only end for which all others are sought. For even while serving others, a person who prides themself in being altruistic, necessarily aims their actions at that which is perceived to make them most happy. The morality of self-sacrifice is nothing but a myth. In reality, it is impossible to practice consistently, because it will surely result in self-deprication. What is really moral and by extension practical is what is in a person's self-interest. The more closely a person orients themself towards or in regards to reality, the better they will be able to reason what it is that is in their best interest. And as a result, stronger and more capable of helping those whom he or she values, for if someone helps, not sacrifices, but helps another, it is always because the helper gains a value perceived to be worth the effort. It is being aware and capable in this world that is good and moral. This place is all there is, all that can be known to be and is what is real. It makes possible all life and the only thing worth living for, happiness. It is moral to want more and to fight for it, if necessary. It is selfish. Not at the, or any, expense of another. It is good.

It is now known that after a brain is electrically silent, which can occur either with the use of large amounts of general anesthesia, when the brain cools past a certain temperature or when the brain is without oxygen for more than 30 seconds or so, not only can it be rebooted, but consciousness as well as physically stored and organized memories can be restored and sustained. Theoretically, prolonged vitrification, or cryostasis, can as well retain one's personhood, which is physically stored in the brain. We are currently well underway, albeit still in the beginning phases, of nacent major technological breakthroughs that will change the world. Why guarantee the ending of your existence by embalming your decaying body and placing it in a casket underground or burning yourself to ashes and having them spread over the sea or placed in an urn? You want to serve your family and loved one's? Stick around! Why not respect, honor and celebrate yourself by getting cryogenically preserved? Why simply throw away a chance, albeit a small one, at more happiness, more achievement, more learning and more time with loved ones without disease and morbidity? There is nothing else, no other 'after-life', for those of us mortals born too early to reap nascent, but still too far off, radical life extending technology. I think it can and will be done. At worst, my form is preserved in a tank, rather than perverted somewhere else.

I believe it is clear that the achievement of sustained prolific happiness is a most moral end to our actions.

 

For more on information and discussion on where we are now in the science of human cryogenic suspension, watch these short videos on the Alcor Life Extension Foundation website:

Suspended Animation By Vitrification, Link: http://www.alcor.org/Library/videos/vitrification.html

Limitless Future, Link: http://www.alcor.org/Library/videos/LimitlessFuture.html


Views: 38

Tags: Alcor, Cryogenic, End-Of-Life, Extension, Issues, Life, Suspension, Vitrification

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Comment by MCT on January 22, 2011 at 12:53pm

RVS,

I think you are picking on cryogenics because you are having a negative emotional reaction while trying to integrate the concept into your knowledge base without contradiction and it is not working because of your pre-existing death coping strategy. As I told John D, I think your emotional commitment to your pre-existing death coping strategy inflates questions and fears you have about the process. You would be willing to augment your self with technology, but not if that technology is young years before you reap the benefit (as all tech must have been at one point in time) and entails some uncertainty, doubt and a long nap? Your analogy is horrible! Cryogenics is a pause button and the tape player is what exactly? The ultimate life-player? God? Life? Reanimation technology? Metaphors usually cloud the issue. I simply do not believe that if you were being intellectually honest you could write that the end result is not personally appealing to you. What, do you celebrate death and sacrifice? You are willfully planning of death and decomposition. Sounds religious to me. Why not at least celebrate and respect your body and life, regardless of the current state of technology, with preservation instead of destruction, so that when the day comes that you can be reanimated, you can. You can even put provisions in your contract not to be reanimated if there are things in society at that time that might hurt your feelings.

 

The technology is in its infancy NOW! That matters less than it being well tested in the future, which is where the tech needs to be. Yes the better the vitrification process the likely sooner and better the reanimation.

 

I do not think your point is sound. Technological infancy. Yeah, like the internet was 15 years ago? What year do you think it is? This shit is happening fast and is getting faster. And we are already doing lots of stuff with humans and cryopreservation of organs and therapeutic hypothermia. Nanotech. Genetic therapy. Artificial organs. Doubting that this will happen is a very bad bet. If you are an educated, productive person, who treats your body right, there is a fair bet you are going to see the year 2060, at least, and possibly 2100. I wonder if given the chance then, you would say no. Where do you think the tech will be then?

 

Would you want an artificial heart if yours was failing slowly over the course of years? Sure you would. Would you be interested in considering it if people were making them, but had not yet perfected them. Be honest, now. Sure you would. 

 

Entombment and burial after embalming and cremation are primitive barbaric ends. That's old-school. Get with the new-school.

Comment by Rob van Senten on January 22, 2011 at 7:17am

@Michael Tricoci,

 

Can I go ahead and assume, then, that you would not be willing to merge yourself with artificial intelligence or other biotechnical devices that make you stronger, faster and better?

 

You would be wrong, In principle I have nothing against such devices or artificial intelligence. 

 

I'm just picking on cryogenics because I do not see the end result as personally appealing and the technology as such is in it's infancy. Cryogenics is a pause button for a tape player that has yet to be invented. h

Comment by MCT on January 22, 2011 at 12:06am

GR,

Thanks!

 

 

 

John,

There is no evil in an absolute sense. There is no distinct entity that is evil. It is a normative qualifier. An adjective, if you will. It describes something that is anti-good, anti-happiness, anti-life. You do not need to live or be happy. But, IF you are to be happy and live, you get there by acting morally or being good. Therefore, choosing 80k and death over life is immoral and evil because it does not maximize your happiness or minimize your suffering.

Letting yourself die might, under duress of some kind or other nonrealistic "life-boat scenario", be moral. But as a rule, planning for cremation, the first time you stop breathing, when you could be preserved with relatively little trouble, definitely immoral.

And your question also demonstrates a lack of keeping up on the conversation. That's cool, I get it, you want to quote Popeye the Sailor Man.

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on January 21, 2011 at 11:28pm
It is only reasonable to extrapolate fantastic changes. Gotta say well reasoned and reasonable position by Michael.
Comment by MCT on January 21, 2011 at 10:58pm

John, 

We all do good and evil, my friend. Is this news to you? I suggest you read more carefully or take what I say more literally. In a generally morally good person, like I presume you are, evil, or the destruction of life, is often allowed to manifest through unknowingly immoral choices, like purposeful commitment to decomposition. In a similar, but much worse way, my generally morally good sister-in-law, perpetrates evil when she unknowingly does the evil act of teaching my nephews that there is a heaven they can go to when they die because God's son sacrificed his life so their evil sins could be forgiven.

Comment by MCT on January 21, 2011 at 10:21pm

John,

Well, I'm sure many of your priorities are valid. I can see that you have a possibly very productive job, a nice family, you aren't deluded into thinking there is a little green man on the other side of the moon wearing chain-mail socks eating cheese, you're with it enough to function on AN and you regularly use reason and logic as your primary mode of comment. From what I can see, you seem like a good person (which coming from me is a big compliment, believe me), especially compared to all the other ding-bats on Earth. However, I think your arguments against various aspects of cryogenics, while not outrageous or even stupid, are not well thought out. You seem very quick to move forward with an argument without KNOWing if it has a sound base. I think your emotional commitment to your pre-existing death coping strategy inflates questions and fears you have about the process.

Happiness is the end for which all others are obtained. Life, as a general rule, is necessary for any moral decision. It is moral to want to be alive and happy. Our technological advancement will be, very soon (a few hundred years), such that we'll likely free ourselves from needing our traditional human flesh even. For you and I, the only way there, I'm afraid (but not SURE), is to preserve our form, for the cost of a sweet automobile or a shitty house, instead of ignoring a chance at renewed life and discarding our decaying remains in a very primitive and final fashion. I understand there might be rare instances where it is moral to choose death, but I think it is immoral to live your whole life planning on committing your decomposed body and erased hard drive to the ground or wherever. That's nihilistic, almost feels religious. With given the choice between preservation and decomposition, the moral choice is clear, life, not death. So, I guess, no I do not think your arguments against multiple arbitrary uncertain (or unknown to you) aspects of the cryogenic process are valid. I believe, by itself, choosing death or not doing what it takes to keep yourself alive, well and happy, in any moral question, is the definition of immoral. Even atheists apparently are not immune to this culture's celebration of sacrifice and death. I don't think you are a bad person for this. But it is this type of irrationality (unknowingly choosing the immoral thing-religious people do this) that causes the manifestation of evil, the destruction of life and personal happiness, the opposite of good. Choosing death and destruction because you don't want to come up with the 80 grand or because there are logistical details or even because it might not work is not morally valid. There is zero good in the alternatives to preservation. Zero. Oh, wait, the 80 grand, that you can keep. I think 80 grand is a good thing. Just no where near the value of possible control over my own death. So in conclusion, I think your priorities are off! But, not by that much. There, I think that is quite sane and reasonable.

 

Comment by MCT on January 21, 2011 at 4:31pm

John,

How did you guess? I know that I 'sound' like someone who doesn't have kids, but I really do not think my convictions would change if I did. Often people say, "you'll understand someday". Or "you can't understand without having kids yourself". BS. There is no amount or type of knowledge or understanding that one needs a particular specific experience to have (other than the perceptions that are necessary for the learning of reason and logic). Feelings maybe, but I do not make decisions with feelings. I may not be able to feel what it is like to have kids, but I can know what it entails. Not to mention the fact that I have been on this planet for 36 years and have known, been attached to, lost, had feelings for, with and about, been dependent on and responsible for many people of differing ages, including, parents, brothers, sister, nephews, nieces, pets, projects, girlfriends, friends, mentors, students, patients etc..."Oh, but you don't know, until you have kids of your own, it's just different". Really, why? What don't I know? I have known parents that obviously don't give a crap about their kids and I've known adults whose lives are shattered because their pet didn't get fed for 2 days. So what are you trying to say? I am insensitive to the emotional attachment of many people to their children? Oh, I'm sensitive, like the new instruments on the Large Hadron Collider, but I am not soft, like stuffed animals.

Comment by MCT on January 21, 2011 at 3:56pm

RVS,

First of all, the great western cockroach uprising likely will not happen until, at least 2350, if at all. It's not even certain that it will. Second, it takes a lot more than an occasional neuronal misfiring to cause hallucinations and even more than that in the future (one that hasn't been overrun by insects). And third, waking up in an unknown future sounds a lot better to me than not waking up at all. Exciting even.

I think you have a fair point about the level of uncertainty and risk of investment, but I think a 1% chance, which I think is an extremely conservative number, of continued indefinite (not eternal) existence is worth every penny I've got, over what it costs to live and be happy now.

Do you think being buried in liquid nitrogen is any worse than being embalmed and entombed in a wall or buried in the ground or cremated? Other than the cost and your feared problems with re-emergence.

Can I go ahead and assume, then, that you would not be willing to merge yourself with artificial intelligence or other biotechnical devices that make you stronger, faster and better? Imagine having access to all the information and applications on the net in your brain, with a user interface integrated into your central nervous system, artificially intelligence nano-sensors, transmitters and repair-bots in every cell. Power. Not in a tyrannical destructive sense, but the means to do more, achieve more, be healthier, live longer. Do you disagree that all this will eventually happen? 

I'll never get why having family no longer around is such a big deal. Live a mutually respectful and loving life with your loved ones and when they are gone, celebrate their memory, miss them, sure, even grieve for whatever appropriate amount of time you think you need, but to not want to be around because they aren't sounds like pathological codependency to me. 

Comment by Rob van Senten on January 21, 2011 at 3:18pm

@ Michael Tricoci,

 

I do not even concede the 1% probability to the plausibility of a success. There are too many if's and when's and the timespan is dozens, perhaps hundreds of years. All in all, not a good investment because the risk is excessive and the length of the investment is simply too long. 

 

In regards to the money, it would not change for me if I had a billion dollars. I do not wish to live forever, immortality scares the shit out of me. Living long sounds very promising, but cryogenics would entail me being buried in ice for a couple of dozens of years (minimum) which would mean that I'd end up in a society that I would not understand, I'd be one of the few people left to speak "NgLizx!" or whatever, doomed to spent my life with other 80+ folks who where born 3 years ago dropped into a society where they do not feel they belong. Mesmerizing while being stuck to a metal body, what life used to be while occasional neuron misfiring causes you hallucinations of being a giant carrot named Lucy. All the people that I loved will be dead, or prematurely ejected during the great western cockroach uprising of 2209. Part of me 

 

Nah, doesn't inspire me to take the financial risk.

Comment by MCT on January 21, 2011 at 2:59pm

John,

 

I have seen people with no oxygen going to their brain for minutes (more than 4) before EMS arrived and started life support and tens of minutes before return of spontaneous circulation walk out of the hospital with full motor, sensory and mental capacities. This is now. The irrevocable damage occurs slowly and all damaging cell metabolism essentially stops at -81 degrees C. No one is suggesting that there are not logistical problems with actually getting this done. Just because it is not done now in practice is not a valid reason to think it is not going to happen. And yes, there are financial and legal issues, as there are with anything. What's wrong with creating a family trust that endures, should a particular bank or company, fail with attorneys and family members to be the responsible decision making party should any advanced directive not entail clear instructions or provisions. 500 dollars a year is peanuts and the payment does not need to be structured that way. You can design your finances according to your liking. I have heard nothing from you guys to suggest it is not the most valuable investment I can possibly make. Sure there are logistical problems that will need to be worked on, but how could there not be? There are no guarantees, but neither is there a guarantee that any of us will wake up tomorrow. Not a reason to not invest in tomorrow. If I give 200k towards a policy, that should fund a few hundred years and might account for some unplanned expenses. As for the need to be declared legally dead, you might think this is an obstacle, but it is not. You can actually see film on the Alcor web-site of this actually well practiced transition from doctors who are charged with saving lives and then declaring death to the Alcor technicians keeping the blood pressure, pH and oxygen levels optimal as the cooling process begins and before vitrification and storage. Your advanced directives can further facilitate this process by omitting the need for attempted defibrillation or use of types of ischemia causing vasopressors or other 'heroic' attempts at resuscitation. 

 

The research machine has started and when humans want to get something done technology-wise, it usually happens. It does not need to be now or even in ten, twenty, or thirty years, but it will happen and nothing will have changed inside the cryogenic suspension tank. That body looks almost exactly as the way it did right before it died. Circa 2150 AD, it really will be a small amount of damage. Details. The logic is sound. The only thing left is the details. But if you are the kind of person that gets bogged down and defeated by details, then this is likely not for you. And I appreciate the fact that the world does hold people who look towards the stars and try to get there, despite difficulties. 

 

And look it up John, there are many, not like two, many companies that are over a hundred years old. And there are also many many companies much older than that. General Motors, Buick, Cadillac, Western Union, Macy's, Levi Strauss, Reuters, American Express, Smith & Wesson, Pfizer................................

 

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