Read Richard’s current thoughts about transhumanism and related fringe topics here.
When people die, some of them are buried in a plot in a graveyard. Others choose cremation their remains kept in an urn (perhaps after some of their remains are sprinkled in favorite locations around the Earth.) For even fewer, they might donate their body for research, with anything left over arranged as above. For most, these are the only options for dealing with the body upon death.
Yet another option exists, but one with a long history of controversy and debate: cryonics.
The idea is simple. Instead of burying or cremating, the remains of a person who died are frozen. Unlike the other options, however, cryonics is meant to be a temporary solution to a larger problem than just disposing of remains. To members of cryonics services, the technology serves as a vessel into a future, a future in which their bodies will be repaired and then reanimated.
Unlike ideas of an afterlife, cryonics is deeply rooted in materialism. If the essence of an individual is not a supernatural entity, but an emergent pattern from physical processes, then if the material of that person can be conserved and maintained, it should be possible to reawaken that person when the appropriate material.
Frontier Channel is live at the 7th Alcor Conference and will be providing recaps of the speakers’ presentations as they occur.