Freezing: How to Wake Up (2)
I recall the story of the movie Hibernatus, with the immortal Louis de Funes. In 1969, at the peak of modernity (well, at that time), a perfectly-preserved body was found in a Greenland ice floe. A boat carrying liquid glycerin had collided with the ice floe in 1905, and as a results a man (Funes) was frozen immediately, and the glycerin served as a protective cocoon. Then, back to 1969, it thawed.
The frozen guy, to his happiness or misfortune, turns out to be the grandfather of the wife of a factory CEO, Hubert Tartas, who grieves, “Is this new person entitled to part of my company?” Therefore, he tries to leave the man at the laboratory, but this does not agree with his wife, and she insists that he stays with them. The husband then agrees, but tells the minister counters that this is “the most important experiment in history”. So the Tartas’ decide to kidnap grandpa. However, they are now faced with a problem: If he knows what all has happened since the accident, he might go mad. Consequently, they recreate their home to mimic the beginning of the century.
The film directly relates to the ethics of so-called cryostasis. Let’s say you’ve been frozen and you wake up not after 65, but rather 200 years.
Imagine a human from 1816 that has been thawed today. Or, say, Vladimir Lenin; would he understand this incomprehensible modern life? Sooner or later, he would get it, because with all due disrespect he wasn’t the dumbest guy out there. But there’s no guarantee that he wouldn’t have gone off the rails a little earlier, and not just because there are people all around him taking pictures with their phones. “My comrades,” he would have cried, “have you lost your mind? Don’t we shoot enough professors?”
It’s also about money. If you’re lucky, like Funes’ character, you’ll find yourself not only to be the ancestor of wealthy people, but also of enough interest to them that they’ll kidnap you from the laboratory. What are the chances?
And who will store your body for 200 years?
The “frozen” will have to fill out a lot of paperwork, with lawyers on both sides, and everything will be well thought-out. But will that kind of company survive for very long? Do we know of any companies that began in the early 19th century that still exist? Yes, there are a few, but strongly differ now in their present form.
The grandson of a former proprietor (frozen or unfrozen) of long-unprofitable cryoclinics would probably decide that it’s useless to pay for a room for such “relics”, and order it to be cleaned out and sold. In that case, your waking-up is likely to be in the city dump.
How Many Want It?
Several hundred people have already paid for cryostasis for their bodies at three existing lab-farms in the United States and Russia, but the wish list includes another 1250 people. How many are already frozen? I don’t know about Russia, but the British mediators have done ten.
Speaking of Russia, I could see a repairman from the housing department (or whatever it’s called now) coming to fix the wiring at a cryogenic facility, and before dinner inadvertently disabling the electricity. Then while he’s on his dinner break (which takes three days), the clients get a little watery.
“What else should we do?” asks the repairman of the owner, while somehow holding a head.
But let’s return to the West. Briton Chrissie de Rivaz and her husband John have saved 28,000 pounds ($35,000), so that her body can be frozen after death. Together with transportation to the US, the entire procedure will cost 65,000 pounds, or $80,000. It is unclear if this is with John or not.
“My husband thought of the idea,” says 76-year-old Chrissie. “He talked about it a lot, and I at first thought “yuck, what a horror,” and didn’t want to know anything about it. But then he gave me something to read on the subject, and when I really examined it I thought that’s not so bad. In fact, they are very careful in the handling of their patients. It all started 25 years ago, and since then I have signed up.”
Posthumous care is a big deal, as we’ve already agreed, but listen to the woman:
“I can’t see any reason to just send me up the flume and I hate the idea of being buried in the ground, so why not take this chance to come back again? I know it is a very slim chance, but however long you live is never long enough. Wouldn’t it be great to live again?”
But the most interesting thing is what she said about her husband.
“I hope they are able to revive John, because otherwise I won’t have any of my friends. But if they can’t, I think it would still be interesting to live, just out of curiosity. We’re so interested in history and archaeology, but interest in the future will be even stronger.”
If John wakes up in the neighboring sarcophagus – it would be good. If not… it’s OK. There will be so many new and interesting things! For example: How to get money for food? Based on current trends, social programs are obtained and canceled, dependent on the invisible hand of the Moscow Adam Smith free market.
Finally, and most importantly, is what all of these popular articles mention in passing. Freezing is something that happens after death, but not before. So why do we call the reversal process an “unfreezing” or an “awakening”, happily avoiding the more accurate word, which is “resurrection”?
On this positive note, I remind you that there are also miracles in the pre-otherworldly life, and if you aren’t able to see how beautiful life is, then it’s time to give us a call.
LASIC, CATARACT, GLAUCOMA:
Take advantage of the latest technology and one of the best teams in LA
Benjamin Eye Institute 310-494-7193
Text and photo: Sebastian Varo