X-Message-Number: 33277
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Subject: Re: [Cryonics_Institute] Two professors
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2011 12:22:20 -0500

As far as I am aware, I am not in any substantial disagreement with Dr. 
Stodolsky. Rather I would say I am at the moment tentative. He may be 
right about the need to target an identifiable minority who are 
inclined to favor us and to launch a vigorous campaign in their 
direction. He is definitely right in thinking we need to expand our 
membership base. However, I am in a genuine quandary about what should 
be done because there are so many things that need to be done, and it 
is hard to decide what comes first and what has the highest priority. I 
sympathize with Dr. Gouras who sees the greatest urgency in the 
research area because we need to make a more convincing case for the 
feasibility of cryonics, convincing, that is, to the science-oriented, 
prudently skeptical, forward thinking people who Stodolsky thinks might 
be our core supporters. But I also worry about the current fragility of 
our "system" due to our small numbers and our dependence on a very 
small number of dedicated but way underpaid and aging staff at CI. 
Without significant growth in membership I fear that our CI 'system' 
may eventually collapse a la Chatsworth. I am becoming an old man now, 
and I see CI as my only lifeline to the future.  I for one can't 
presently afford either Alcor or SA fees so I feel I have a personal 
stake in sustaining and improving CI with whatever knowledge and skills 
I possess. One way, which I tried last year, was to start forming local 
support groups, but what I thought was a fairly vigorous outreach 
effort in New York and then in my Washington DC area yielded very 
little. I still think that is a priority, but it is hard to sustain 
energy for any project when it receives so little visible response.
  I have studied the diffusion of innovations over a long period of 
years, and I have always thought that I or someone should be able to 
apply that reasonably solid body of knowledge to cryonics. It is true, 
for example, that ideas can spread widely and attract the fervent 
devotion of millions without having any basis in fact whatsoever. The 
prospect of immortality would seem to be at least an important part of 
the draw for Christianity, Mohammedanism, Mormonism, and numerous other 
sects. Why is it not a draw for the equally promising, perhaps equally 
unproven, but scientifically more plausible idea of cryonics? I still 
don't know. I think sometimes we are still waiting for our St Paul. 
However, when Stodolsky speaks, I listen because he is a very smart 
guy, he knows a lot of the same stuff I know, and I really would like 
to have an answer as to what we should really be doing now and in what 
priority.  Ron Havelock

-----Original Message-----
To: ; 
Sent: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 1:24 am
Subject: [Cryonics_Institute] Two professors

Those  presumably best qualified to express opinions about growth of
cryonics are social psychologists. Two of these are members of the 
Institute who do not hide their affiliation--Dr. Ronald G. Havelock and 
David S. Stodolsky. the former previously at the University of Michigan 
and the
  latter presently at the University of Copenhagen. They are poles apart 
their  views, as I read them.

Dr. Stodolsky's main thrust seems to be that cryonics is doomed to slow 

growth until we can effect a basic change in public attitudes, which 
might be
done with a couple of million dollars worth of public relations 
efforts. He
  also, it appears to me, puts misleading emphasis on the role of 
He  emphasizes "terror management," the terror in question being 
related to
attacks  on one's world view.

Dr. Havelock's views are given in his recent book, ACCELERATION, which 
I am
 in the process of reading and will review in due course. The thrust is
that  basic historical forces are at work putting the wind at our 
backs, and
improving  in recent decades and years. I agree with  most of what he 
but have  not yet decided on the quantitative usefulness of his 
At the least,  he offers a good antidote to the seeping poison so

There is entertainment here as well as potential armament. If more of 
(you) buy the book and promote it, we (you) will be striking a 

Robert Ettinger

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