Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Cryonics and the art of the long view

How surprising it is that those with a long view in thinking and behavior are not those with traditional religious beliefs but include sponsors and supporters of the Long Now Foundation and cryonicists. The Long Now Foundation has trans-millennial views on the order of 10,000 years, roughly the forward counterbalance to the history to date of human civilization. Cryonicists, in general, have a practical stance, simultaneously acknowledging the unproven nature of reanimation and assessing and focusing on contributing to the key challenges of the next 200-400 years, as opposed to the 20-50 year (or less) timeframe that appears to be implicit in current individual and political thinking.

Erstwhile cryonicists will do well to remain practically absorbed. It is easy to imagine a long-distanced future visit to the Met, where alongside the Egyptian tombs and mummies, dewars have been emptied to display frozen heads, bodies and pets. Excited expedition excavators from the three key sites, Alcor/Arizona, Cryonics Institute/Michigan and Suspended Animation/Florida pose next to their digs.

Stored possessions and artifacts of the time are neatly arranged in an exhibit with terse placards. "Little is known about the belief systems of these peoples. Middle-era Americans carried many nonmalleable gadgets though it is not clear how useful they were to daily life. It was not atypical for one person to carry cell phones, MP3 players, laptops, power cords, PDAs, cameras, recording devices, cords, batteries and recharging units at all times. [Portable lightweight inexhaustible energy source] was not yet available and devices were not yet appropriately nano-miniaturized and physically embedded."