|A cryogenically frozen man|
(note: not an accurate representation of someone cryonically frozen)
(photo by Epsos.de)
Noun. Mid-20th century.
[Contraction of CRYOGENICS.]
The practice or technique of deep-freezing the bodies of those who have died of an incurable disease,
in the hope that some cure for it will be discovered in the future.
cryonic adj. M20
cryonically adv. M20
cryonicist noun M20
For those with more ego than sense (as well as ice-bucketloads of cash), cryonics offers the chance to cheat death. For a mere $100,000 or so, you can be pumped full of cryoprotective chemicals and frozen immediately after death. Then, when those clever science boffins have figured out a cure for whatever it was that killed you, you can be gently thawed out, cured of whatever it was that ailed you, and returned to the realm of the warm and living. Brilliant, right? Oh, except for one small flaw - it's all a complete load of twaddle.
The obvious flaw in this otherwise brilliant plan is that people die from curable diseases now, but cryonics doesn't offer them a second chance. To cite one of my favourite examples, consider an advocate of breatharianism, who believes that humans can survive on just the nutrients supplied through breathing (with a bit of sunshine and meditation thrown in). Unsurprisingly, people have starved themselves to death practising this waffle, even though the cure for starvation has been known since ... well ... forever. But would cryonics save a breatharian that had starved himself to death? Not on your nelly.
"Oh," cries the cryonicist, "but this is an as yet undeveloped technology. While it may seem to be the realm of science fiction now, who knows what advances will have been made in 100, 500 or even 1000 years? Perhaps then we really will have the technology to bring the cryonically interred back to life."
If you really believe that, if it really gives you some comfort in the cold face of death, then fair enough. But do you really believe that? Is it really likely that, 500 years from now, anyone is going to give two hoots about thawing you out and bringing you back to life? I mean, if you're Shakespeare or da Vinci or Scarlett Johansson, sure, perhaps someone will. But maybe it's more likely that in 500 years time no one is going to give a flying banana about some contract you signed at the turn of the millennium with a company that probably no longer exists and has neglected to pay their electricity bills for the past three centuries. And, personally, I can't help but think there's some enormous ego issues here - thinking that the universe of the future is definitely going to need me there. And saying to your family: "Look, I know this $100,000 would be really useful to you when I'm gone, but these clever-looking guys in white coats reckon they can freeze my head and bring me back to life in the future. And, y'know, if you can scrape together some cash when I'm gone, maybe you can get it done too. And I'll see you on the other side. Or not. Either way is fine."
For more information, visit Crionics.ie. I'll let you decide if you're happy to leave your eternal future in the hands of these professionals.
Put off by the high costs, some have resorted to DIY cryonics with mixed results.
Have you arranged to be crionically frozen?
Would you like to be crionically frozen?
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