cryonics and buddhism

A recent New York Times article discussed marital problems caused by (mostly) men who plan to be frozen after death in the hopes of being revived in the future, and the women who see this at best as creepy and at worst as a betrayal.

It made me recall the time several years ago when I mentioned to my wife that I would have myself frozen after death if I had the money, and I remember being amusingly perplexed by her dislike of this idea. She may have even said, joking or seriously, that I wanted to have another life with another woman.

Besides such marital discord, the issue of cryonics brings up other questions, many of them Buddhism-related. Is accepting death "giving up"? Should we seek to greatly extend life? Should we seek to preserve memories (the "data" in our brains)?

I have to admit that I've had a Buddhist philosophy-inspired change of heart. I'm ok with dying now. I'm ok with a finite life. I'm ok with being a temporary being that will cease to exist, and I see cryonics as a form of probably unhealthy grasping. I'm dedicated to living in the present, whatever happens here and now.

What do you think? Feel free to disagree and comment, I'm no expert on Buddhism, cryonics, and definitely not marriage.


Luke said...

The hostility some people have towards cryonics is weird. It is a natural extension of the idea of prolonging life through surgery, never giving up, and being optimistic about future circumstances.

The implied pessimism in statements that it will never work (when we have good enough tech for a kidney to be reanimated *without* repair!) or that it is going to create massive overpopulation (as if the future is going to be running out of room, unable or unwilling to explore the vast reaches of space) just makes me shake my head in disbelief.

I am sorry to hear about hostile wives, because that is the most unromantic thing I have ever heard. Imagine someone pressuring their spouse into certain death. That is just plain wrong. I am so glad my wife has decided to not only support me but also come along for the ride. (Of course she insists it be full-body for her!)

Aschwin de Wolf said...

Would you also say that seeking any kind of medical procedure to preserve one's life is "unhealthy grasping." If not, what is the conceptional difference between conventional medicine and cryonics?

See this post for some discussion of this topic: