Freezing bodies for science

THE TRANSHUMANIST SCRAPBOOK: RABBIT BRAIN SUCCESSFULLY FROZEN AND ...

If you've been following the transhumanist meme of downloading and uploading brain memories, or for that matter, the meme of cryogenically freezing people and then reviving them, a big hurdle may have just been surmounted, in this article shared by Ms. M.W.:

A Mammal’s Brain Has Been Cryonically Preserved and Recovered

The hub of the new technique is based upon bypassing or short-circuiting the dehydration of the brain that occurs in current cryogenic methods, and thereby to avoid the destruction of the neural pathways of the brain, that these methods cause:

The promise of such a technique has been out of reach to scientists since the chemical process of preservation has proven far too damaging for any brain’s future revival. The challenge comes from today’s standards of cryonics freezing, which according to officials at the foundation, causes massive dehydration in the brain, squashing the neural connections and rendering it useless for imaging. That’s why 21st Century Medicine’s achievement is so exciting.

McIntyre’s team reportedly demonstrated the ability to cryonically preserve the neural connections inside an intact rabbit brain, and fully thaw the thing back. The approach used what’s called an “Aldehyde-Stabilized Cryopreservation” protocol, meaning the researchers dispersed a collection of chemicals through the vascular system of the brain which fixes the neurons in place, then converted it to a glasslike object by cooling it to -210 degrees F (-130 C) for long term storage. Later, the brain was rewarmed and the cryoprotectant chemicals were removed.

Judges at the Brain Preservation Foundation then used traditional electron microscopy to image hundreds of brain regions to ensure that the synaptic connections in the rabbit brain remained undamaged.

As the article notes, "virtual" immortality just took another step closer, as the article avers;

The weirdness of preserving your brain for a future era could prove far too alienating for widespread adoption, but Smart hopes that today’s announcement will stimulate a renewed sense of interest for those who wish to sign up for preservation at death.

“It’s a highly personal decision, but we believe that if these techniques can be validated in large animals, we should be able to make them increasingly available in society,” he said. “I think the question of preservation will be one of the more valuable social conversations we can have.”

“In short, this is a very exciting time to be alive,” he said. If things keep moving, that ‘time to be alive’ part may last a while.

And there's the rub, for it brings me again to the heart of what I think are the problems with emerging "virtual immortality" technologies. My difficulties here have always been of a spiritual, moral, ethical, and even jurisprudential nature. And perhaps the last of these problems is the entry into the other three:

How will jurisprudence handle such a technology? Should it even be concerned with it?

Imagine, for a moment, that Ms. X has had a terrible diagnosis, a terminal disease, though she has been told there has been progress with the disease and in  a few years they expect a cure. Ms. X, being a lady of some means, decides to have herself cryogenically frozen. Though it takes a century a cure is eventually found, and Ms. X is revived and cured.

In the meantime, however, what has happened to her assets? Have they been put in escrow? Did she have a last will and testament drawn up, in which part of her assets when to her children and the rest in escrow? Having been revived, and cured, was she even dead, and did the court therefore have the right to enact a last will? Or did she choose some other avenue, say, creating trusts or holding companies for dispersing her assets to her children while retaining others to pay her freezing and storage fees? What if Ms. X is a particularly vile person, and decides to sue her children to recover assets, with interest, that went to them under any of these arrangements? What if her storage tank malfunctioned during the period of her storage, and her children sue the storage company for negligence? Does the local DA have a right to bring the company or its directors on involuntary manslaughter charges? On what basis? Was she alive when frozen? Dead? Or like Schroedinger's Cat, was she both? What if someone wants to be frozen just before death?

There are, as evident from my example, legal recourses already existent that can handle some of these issues, but as evident from my high octane ruminations, I submit, not all of them. And while we rush headlong into the transhumanist future, it seems that little to any real thought is being given to an issue that is well set to be a divisive issue.

Like it or not, though, technology will force the issue. It's time to give it thought.

See you on the flip side...

25 thoughts on “ THE TRANSHUMANIST SCRAPBOOK: RABBIT BRAIN SUCCESSFULLY FROZEN AND ...”

  1. The interconnectedness of the corporate behemoths that bestraddle a wide range of industries/activities, interlinking creative workers across the globe in ever-changing configurations and ownerships, with hardware[publisher/software[author] lines disappearing – all these and other factors are prying an individual’s grip/hold on what is intrinsic to their being – not only in life itself; but now?, in death.

    1. Isn’t this your life? That ancient kiss still burning out your eyes/ Isn’t this defeat so accurate, the church bell seems just simply a pure announcement: ring and no one comes?/ Don’t empty houses ring?

      Richard Hugo

  2. According to most spiritual traditions their are higher “vehicles” that we all possess. The best elucidation and comparison of the seven fold nature of man is found in the Secret Doctrine written by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky in 1888. She translated a 5,000 year old Tibetan Buddhist manuscript called the “Book of Dzan” and then expounded upon the symbolism from all of the ancient esoteric spiritual traditions. According to Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, Alchemy and other esoteric traditions the Human Being incarnated on the current Earth has 4 lower vehicles and 3 higher vehicles. Only the 3 higher vehicles (Atma, Budhi and Manas) survive death. The others decay at different rates.

    After a period of rest (Devachan), the “Soul” (Spirit, Soul, Mind) trio incarnates again into a new vehicle on the Earth unless the Human has passed through all of the higher initiations and created the permanent astral body, permanent mental body and permanent causal (will) body which is one of the goals of Alchemy. At this point the Initiate no longer needs a physical Earth body to operate in the various planes of existence.

    Now setting all of this aside for the moment, (since many will have different beliefs regarding whether the spirit, soul, mind, astral, vital, desire, will and physical vehicles exist or not and what they are) we can take a look at what science tells us. Duke University did a definitive study on Astral Projection in the 70’s. It found definitively that consciousness can exist and function outside the brain and bring back those memories. Whether you call it “Distant Viewing” as the CIA calls it or Astral Projection as the mystics call it is immaterial; it has been proven scientifically many times and there are tens of thousands of people who swear the Astral Project regularly. In fact the CIA has a long running program with top Astral Projectors (sorry distant viewers) for espionage.

    So to summarize the Consciousness can exist outside the brain, most ancient esoteric traditions teach the doctrine of reincarnation (continuous consciousness) with new lower vehicles utilized upon each incarnation. Therefore reanimating a previously preserved brain will not in of itself ensure that the previous Consciousness will inhabit the brain. Some of the Medieval mystics and alchemists tried this when attempting to make golems. However, what is mostly reported from these experiments is that either lower disencarnated beings or discarded egos came to inhabit these golems. And most would agree that what was attempted was black magic.

    I suspect that the elites are taking this Medieval black magic to another level and they are not telling us what demons, elementals, astral pollution, etc. that they are summoning to inhabit their cryogenic golems will deceive those eager for immortality (within a particular incarnation), take their assets, and then use the vehicles for their own nefarious designs. Maybe they will need a zombie army in the future.

    1. wasn’t blavatsky one of david icke’s favorites? and also a founder of lucius trust? it’s all so confused and confusing. seems like it’s by design.

      same as messing with definitions for words like dead, life, universe, god,…

      think i remember reading blavatsky talking about channelling some ancient warrior from mongolia or something too.

      hm. maybe she already did the zombie dance eh?

  3. How is the rabbit’s brain going to be reconnected with the rest of the rabbits’ body? Or will we see a future with brains-in-jars ala Futurama? Symptomatic of the materialistic Kali Yuga. Not good.

  4. I am generally in agreement with WalkingDead and moxie; these effective-atheists are not taking into account the spiritual realms. Of course, this may be a planned outcome, as a way of ‘hatching’ zombies or worse…

    There is another assumption within this meme: That the society one would awaken-in has high ethical/moral values. Many SF authors have spun stories around reawakened-ones being used as organic computers or troubleshooters. With or without some form of ‘body’. One might awaken to find they are the emergency-backup ‘computer’ for a seedship or generation-ship. Or, the CPU in a future tank. That they have been effectively ‘monetized’, rather than restored to citizenry. Brrr.

    1. Goshawks, you might have heard that we could use our intention to navigate. Not recommending an experiment but you might want to try it 😉

      1. “…use our intention to navigate.”

        I’m not quite sure which expression of this you might mean:

        When I am at ‘pivotal points’ in my life, I remember what an old teacher taught me: In setting up your future ‘manifestation’, don’t go for the ‘visuals’ of what a place (or opportunity) will look like. Instead, imagine feeling great love and joy both in-and-for the place you are (in the future) occupying. This includes the people you are around. This sets-up the ‘feeling tone’ of your future ‘manifestation’. Looks and such really don’t matter as much as the ‘feeling tone’. Deep down, we really want the love and joy. This ‘intention’ has worked well, for me…

        Another expression is more subtle, kind of like a ‘future passive-sonar’. In your mind, hold-up an intent of, say, happiness. As you walk through life, keep a ‘sense’ of whether the ‘passive return echo’ of happiness increases or decreases. Then, make increased-happiness the ‘direction’ that you walk into. I think this is a natural ability that we have been trained out of using.

        (Half-joke: Who is the most-enlightened martial arts master? Answer: The one who didn’t even know there was a fight…)

        A third variation is kind of ‘probabilistic’. If you think in terms of ‘collapse of wave function’ being your future, you can get a ‘sense’ of whether an upcoming-action increases or decreases the probability of a certain future ‘crystallizing out’ down the timestream. It can feel like a ‘pressure’ building up or lessening. It may have a feeling of pleasantness or unpleasantness, useful as a ‘guide’. This can be an individual ‘collapse of wave function’ future or even that of a whole culture. You can even use it as a personal ‘sense of smell’ to step-aside from futures you do not want to participate in…

        1. Applying it in those contexts can be useful too. Indeed, it is necessary to have a well-developed intention. We are in fact using it rudimentarily in our daily activities.
          It also works with Pilot wave theory which I’m leaning towards more than the dead/alive cat theory..

  5. WalkingDead and Moxie are correct, our “true selves” or “soul” is not our body or brain functioning and it leaves at the body and brain’s death. All that would be left would be neurological “fingerprints,” as it were. To reanimate the deceased body would bring about some kind of galvanized corpse, a zombie or ghoul of sorts. Somewhere down the road, there would be disastrous results.

    What’s rarely mentioned in these articles, but it is here, is that any of these transhumanist procedures would only be available to the super elite. I’m sure they’d work out any legalities before hand, if things ever get that far.

    Marcos Toledo brings up an H. G. Wells story. I’m reminded of a Stephen King novel, “Pet Sematary”(that’s how he spelled it) from 1983. It’s not transhumanist, but a similar theme we’re talking about here.

    Briefly: A family moves to a small town in Maine and the son loses a cat to a car accident. A pet cemetery is nearby in the woods and an old caretaker tells them not to go to a certain part of it. It’s an old Indian burial grounds with supernatural powers. The kid goes anyway and buries his cat. The cat comes back to life, but is now real ornery, not like before. Soon, the kid dies in an accident and the father, in his grief, buries the son in the old burial grounds. The son comes back to life and is mean and destructive, going on a rampage. The father, a doctor, finally kills the son with a mixture of deadly drugs.

    1. “Dead is dead, you don’t get to come back from that; not even here.” Ben, from the series Lost. It wasn’t John who came back but something much, much worse.
      Makes you wonder just exactly what this is all about, and what it is they intend to come back; an empty vessel that can be filled with what, exactly.

      1. Does the novel “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” ring a bell. Or name a horror story, Movie, Radio, Television show that played around with this meme WalkingDead.

      2. Along those same lines, I also recall the Yellow eyed Demon in the second season I believe of the show “Supernatural” stating rather matter of factually that “whatever is dead should stay dead”.

        These two statements in the article prompted my own set of questions:

        “The weirdness of preserving your brain for a future era could prove far too alienating for widespread adoption, but Smart hopes that today’s announcement will stimulate a renewed sense of interest for those who wish to sign up for preservation at death.”

        and

        “I think the question of preservation will be one of the more valuable social conversations we can have.”

        First, who would get to decide who gets to be preserved after you have “signed up”? A preservation panel made up of oligarchs and other assorted elites and their handpicked bureaucratic technocrats?

        And what social discussions are there? do you need to have a certain type of genetic profile? is it limited to certain races?

        I agree with the “it wont be for everyone” because it wont be-you just need to be in “the club”

  6. A variant of this idea is taken up in H.G.Wells novel “The Sleeper Wakes” a man falls into coma and wakes up finding he owns the whole World. Another variant of the woman you says sues her descendants upon being resurrected finds that society has so changed that she wish’s that she was still dead. The rich are so stupid they don’t think out the consequences of their acts before jumping into things.

  7. I’m pretty sure scientists in the inner circles know better than what is being claimed by the transhumanists. The Self is distinct and not comprised of our memories, habbits and thought patterns. They could just be products of experiences – information that are imprinted and could be assimilated.
    They could setup legal arrangements here concerning the issue, but there are higher laws not even the elites could breach, which could be why they’re in a scramble.?
    There is a way to break free, know thy real self…

    1. Cheers Moxie, you win the cigar for that comment.

      I thought about it–you’re wizened old Rockefeller and your memories are “uploaded” somewhere (or maybe your whole cheesy brain) and stuck into a new host. I am assuming he’d spring for one grown in a lab from his family’s genetic line since they’re rather fond of their particular stock. In any case, said brain or memories are loaded into a new meat bag. I do believe there is spirit and certainly many spirits looking for a new, clean “rental” they can use. What’s stopping some other being from “squatting” in ol’ Rock’s head? These memories are there, but it’d be like looking at someone else’s family album, it really bears no significance. Would this new body have to be shocked or killed and uploaded until they get the right guy in there? Sounds kinda messy.
      Just to make it fun, you can upload to more than one body…could be an interesting power struggle of people with the same “past” fighting over current treasure.

      1. No doubt the landscape[Swiss cheese brains and otherwise], they{Rockefellers’], inherent will make It’s A Wonderful Life’s Potter’s Field look benign.
        Pitty those that wake-up too-late living to that holle on earth.

      2. Thanks MQ.. They treat us like we’re inferior to them, but we have something that they profoundly envy. And I’ll leave it at that.

  8. Upon death, ones soul leaves the body for “other realms”, if one believes such things, which I do.
    So you freeze the body and at a later date revive it. What have you really revived: a soulless zombie, an empty vessel, an animated piece of meat? Like Humpty Dumpty, how do you put ALL the pieces back together again, especially if you do not believe all the pieces exist to begin with. Conscientiousness may or may not be an entirely localized phenomena; and the soul is believed/hoped by many to be eternal. So in some sense you may already have eternal life, just not always in this earthly form. How do you resolve the spiritual aspects of this technology? What becomes of a soul trapped into a body that was frozen while still alive, suspended in limbo, unable to move on?
    Personally, I believe this is just another way to bilk the wealthy out of their money; and the wealthy are notorious for hanging onto every cent except where their agendas/lives are concerned. Offer them the remotest chance at prolonged life and they will spend that money gladly. They will spend it on a technology that has absolutely no chance of ever coming to fruition.
    The ultimate technological scam; the pharaohs fell for it, so will the wealthy.

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