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DJ MacLennan on his Cryonics book “Frozen to Life”

Frozen to LifeTo me cryonics just makes sense. It may not be pretty but, just like open heart surgery, it is one of those things that, without any guarantees, can possibly extend your life [very] substantially. Thus, especially given the alternative, I just can’t quite make sense of the slow rate of adoption evident not only in North America but also across the world. And so I am always happy to discover new books that lay out the scientific argument for cryonics while making it easily digestible and giving it a very personal, human perspective. Since the most recent book I thoroughly enjoyed on this topic was Frozen to Life: A Personal Mortality Experiment I thought that DJ MacLennan will make an excellent guest on my Singularity 1on1 podcast. I was not wrong about that.

During our 1 hour conversation with DJ MacLennan we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: why he decided to write Frozen to Life and who is it for; cryonics as a glass-state time travel; why he chose neuro- rather than full-body preservation; the costs and rate of adoption of cryonics; the culture, conservatism and geography of his home on the Isle of Skye; transhumanism and transcending limitations; the differences between Max More and James Hughes; his fear of death; the promise of chemical brain preservation; mindfulness and meditation; writing a transhumanist take on The Wizard of Oz and potentially on Grim’s Fairy Tales…

(You can listen to/download the audio file above or watch the video interview in full. If you want to help me produce more high-quality episodes like this one please make a donation!)

Who is D.J. MacLennan?

D.J. MacLennanD.J. MacLennan was born in 1971, in a now-demolished schoolhouse on the almost-drowned ‘island’ of Benbecula, in the Western Isles of Scotland.

He signed up with Alcor in 2007, so that he can be cryopreserved upon his death.

He lives with his wife, Sarah, in a modern house on the coast of the Isle of Skye, in the Highlands of Scotland. Foraging for seafood on the shore in front of his house, sea-swimming, mindfulness meditation and perhaps just the odd dram of malt whisky, act as his antidotes for his tendency to become tangled in recursive coils of words in the depths of his non-existent self.

 

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  • Ch. Ed. Culpepper III

    To me, the most telling issue of cryonics – or should I say, preserved existence – is the risk reward ratio, i.e., why risk a large some of money for something with a negligible probability of working. This problem could be circumvented by having a much different financial model. Instead of marketing as all or nothing, it would be better to have game shows, lotteries and other gaming scenarios. For instance, if there were a lottery where the winner gets preserved and leftover funds are used for research and development of preservation technology.

    Once you get a critical mass of people suspended, then the sociocultural drag upon adoption will greatly diminish. Once the technology looks as if it is progressing steadily, this too will greatly increase interest. And certainly the rich could be talked into it very easily if the issue were constantly in the public eye, in the form of lottery winners and research reports. After all, If you are rich, then you not only can afford it, but your incentive to extend your life is much greater than normal.

  • The issue of price is always subjective. Let me give you two examples: 1. In Toronto, I know many people paying $80,000 or more for a grave lot in one of the “best” cemeteries in the city. So, by comparison, paying the same price for a chance at life, is a total steal for me. 2. The way I plan to fund my cryopreservation is by insuring myself for about 100,000USD. This will cost me about $18 per month for the next 20 years or so. And that also is a total steal for me at about 60 cents per day. So, all in all, I don’t think you have to be rich at all to afford cryonics and, given the alternatives, I think it a rather cheap and easily affordable price to begin with. And I am still referring to Alcor, which is the premium service. Members of the Cryonics Institute pay about 30,000 for full body preservation it can be done even much, much cheaper indeed.

  • Ch. Ed. Culpepper III

    I much appreciate your informative reply. It would be nice if you, or someone else, were to give an equally informative reply regarding preservation technology. It would also be nice to see statistics on adoption and on rate of change in the tech and adoption. I would like to see an annual update on this blog regarding this and other technologies. Something simple, like approximate number of people already being preserved, approximate increase in adoption rate and perhaps some key milestones sought after by the preservation industry.

  • Neoliberal Agenda

    Cryonics is like libertarianism. Why are not all people libertarians?

    I think it takes time for people to change their mind, neural connections need to be rewired. Most people adopt the opinion of the majority, even if it doesn’t make sense.

    Perhaps group thinkers had a higher survival rate than the free thinkers, when we lived in the caves.

  • Well my friend, there are some who are libertarians – like Max More. But, as you heard in the interview, both me and DJ are not really such. 😉

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