Remember the story of Rip Van Winkle, an old guy who has a few drinks, falls asleep in the mountains, and wakes up 20 years later when he doesn’t know anyone, no one knows him, all his friends are dead, and the world doesn’t make sense because he slept through the war that changed everything. Now imagine paying $200,000 to do that and waking up 100 years later. That’s cryonic preservation. Instead of falling asleep you have to die first, preferably near a pile of dry ice, then they fill you with liquid antifreeze, like the kind you put in your car, and you stay suspended in a tube of goo in a freezer for a century.
There’s only one itty bitty problem with cryonic preservation. The technology for reviving you hasn’t been invented yet. They haven’t even done it with a mouse or a dog or a monkey. Seriously, anyone who’s ever defrosted their freezer should be skeptical. But the cryonic preservation companies are asking you to trust them. What could possibly go wrong?
Frankly, a slick advertising campaign can sell almost anything. Imagine a stylish elderly couple on the beach holding hands as they stroll toward an orange sunset, smiling. Then we see them side-by-side on tables in a swank health spa, still holding hands and smiling. Then we see their family waving to them as they float inside their suspension tube, frozen in their swimsuits, still holding hands and smiling.
Voice over: “Don’t say goodbye to love. With Immortalia the future is always possible. Our patented suspension technology will transport you through the years to new horizons only you can imagine. So say goodbye to death and hello to a place where the sunsets never end. Immortalia.” Then we see the couple thawed out and drippy, walking on the beach again in the same swimsuits.
Disclaimer: “Some preservation injury may occur, including organ failure, mushy facial features, hair loss, blindness, memory loss, dementia, depression, amnesia, neuropathy, brain damage, cardiac arrest, nausea, diarrhea, and paralysis. Death must occur naturally. Microbiome replacement may cause mood swings. If you have suicidal thoughts contact your physician. Some patients may remain in a vegetative state. Terms and conditions apply. Revival not guaranteed.”
Are you sold? Me neither. Aside from the obvious unproven business model, the absence of the revival technology, and the fact that a power failure could turn me into pudding, I think the cryonic preservationists have failed to answer one really big question: WHY? Why would I want to live to be 165 in a world where my iPhone doesn’t work and all my friends are dead? Who will know me and care about me? I may not even recognize myself. What good is that? Please, just give me a natural elderhood where I can live in the slow lane until I stop. I’m very happy to take my chances on life the old fashioned way.