Biology - Other

Revival from Cryopreservation

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"Revival from Cryopreservation"
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The field of cryonic suspension is a fascinating one, involving the freezing of someone upon death and their cryopreservation until technology possibly advances enough to revive them and release them from their frozen state. If it is successful in the future it will be a remarkable event, on a par to the first man landing on the moon.

When a person elects to be cryopreserved in frozen suspension after death, they have no way of knowing if the technology will ever be fully in place to allow them to be revived, or that science will have found a way of curing them from whatever caused their death in the first place. They take a leap hoping that one day in the future they can be revived and thus cheat death. Fortunately these days there is little chance of being accidentally defrosted as happened here

The idea is a tempting one for some who have the money to afford it, with the prospect of coming back to life at some distant point in the future. There are inevitably going to be great changes to discover and deal with, and those with enquiring scientific minds may well be attracted to sign up. As the process can now be funded through life insurance, there are more people signing up to the idea, and committing themselves to be packed away in liquid nitrogen, and even signing their pets up too.

However it is not a step to commit to lightly, as although there is only a tiny percentage of a chance that someone will be revived, the possibility is there and the future may not be all plain sailing.

A study of the legal agreement form produced by the American cryonics organization clearly covers many of the downfalls which need to be earnestly considered before electing to be cryopreserved, and they raise astute points which may have been overlooked in the excitement of the technological possibilities. The agreement advises that problems one may face if ever reanimated include trauma, psychological and social problems, which go beyond the obvious.

Social changes will be inevitable and possible changes to the body after being frozen for so long. However some of the possibilities bear resemblance to science fiction scenarios which hold a ring of truth. Political conditions which dictate that a recently reanimated person be held as an experimental study throw sinister overtones over the project and may well result in a personal loss of liberty. There would be much more than a scientific agenda in play in such circumstances, as a person could be used as a living historical study by a future political power.

A revived person may find themselves obsolete in a future society, with their own skills and knowledge rendered useless. The American cryonics organization points out that revival may result in a life of poverty which could be caused by the person no longer having the necessary skills to provide for them self, or even be too traumatised to do so. If the person had a family they would need to come to terms with the reality that everyone is dead, if they still retain enough memory to remember them.

Even if a person was revived they couldn’t just defrost and walk away, but would need extensive medical treatment to cure whatever caused their death, whilst facing the possibility that society as a whole may condemn their revival and make it difficult for them to receive medical treatment.

Although the technology is in place already to allow a person to be cryopreserved until some distant date, the scenarios to consider if ever revived are both exciting but sinister. Whilst people may want a second chance at life, it may not be a life they actually desire to live.

Source: American Cryonics Organization


More about this author: Katerina Nikolas

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