Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Human Popsicle, Quest for Immortality I

Back in the dark ages, before the world became a nightmare for the average Libra (Libras don't like too many choices), an exam was my largest anxiety producing event. In order to calm myself, I would think , I’m going to be dead in a few decades anyway…it’s not like my tombstone will read, 'too stupid to pass calculus test ...’

I self- tranquilize, using this method, quite often; although, it can, and sometimes does backfire, because I end up thinking...why bother ...unless I can put it on my tombstone? Most of the time, however, this approach reduces my anxiety to the point I can focus.

Additionally, when going through periods of what I perceive to be “intense suffering”, for instance, adjusting to the invention of the cell phone, the knowledge of my own mortality can also provide solace. Other than that, death is at the very bottom of my to-do list.

Our own mortality can provide a certain degree of comfort with the knowledge that there is an end to what can sometimes seems like unending anguish, but most of us avoid our ephemeral condition like the plague, and sometimes to the point of insanity.

Take cryogenics for example. The wood frog is one of the only animals that is able to come back from a deep freeze. Unlike almost every other living creature, the wood frog thaws from the inside out. The frog's liver pumps out an extraordinary amount of glucose, which ends up concentrated inside its cells, producing an antifreeze like substance. This substance prevents the inside of the cell from freezing and reducing it to what would normally render the cell useless. In contrast, the water in our cells expands as it freezes, shredding the inside of our cells beyond repair.

However, even wood frogs cannot come back after being submerged in liquid nitrogen, the freezing process used in cryogenics. Scientists say the chance of "Mr. Freeze-Pop" thawing to life is a big fat zero at this point. And they cannot envision anything in the future that would make this a possibility. Unfortunately, for anyone reading this, my unscientific brain disagrees with the scientist. If humanity doesn't destroy itself in the next millennium, Mr. Freeze-Pop, will, indeed, come back to life, only to wish he were dead.

Can you imagine how you would feel after being frozen for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years? And even if you don't feel all that bad, what's next? It's not like you are going to live forever...you're just going to die again. In the meantime, everyone you knew died a long time ago and everything you knew no longer applies. In other words, why not just launch yourself into space with the hope of landing on an undiscovered planet, populated with the mutated progeny of *Michael Jackson?

It's a good thing, cryogenics is so expensive. It's an even better thing that only an infinitesimally small fraction of our population can afford to participate in the quest for immortality. It's no wonder health care is gradually becoming a privilege or luxury of the elite. "Immortalness" is very expensive, after all and not all it's cracked up to be.

* From what I've heard, the plan is to isolate what made Michael Jackson so "special", -- after he dies, of course -- in order to export it to the nearest black hole, faster than the speed of light...one of W's better ideas. Anyway, since W's knowledge of astronomy and rocket science is questionable, I'm sure the "special" export, will instead, serve to furnish some unearthed planet in our vast universe(s) with "moonwalking", noseless, gender non-specific inhabitants.

5 comments:

Michael Jackson,  18:26  

Black hole?? Why because I'm black?

Dr. X 21:17  

Cryogenics does have loftier goals. Reviving the dead is just one rather well known fact because it makes for a good story. Preserving organs, much more important and realistic could revolutionize organ transplantation.

They are getting closer and closer to making that a possibility.

Anonymous,  21:22  

Searching for the fountain of youth makes more sense than freezing yourself after your dead. I only want to stick around if I can stay young, not as some old fart with a million aches and pains.

I wouldn't freeze myself if it were free.

bleute 09:10  

You're right. I should have included the noble goals of cryogenics and organ transplantation is about as noble as you can get.

I agree, give me the fountain of youth any day over waking up, after being a frozen dead corpse for centuries.

Thanks for you comments!

Anonymous,  12:44  

Make me invisible first then I'll go willingly. No frozen tombs for me, thank you.

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