X-Message-Number: 9062
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 17:11:43 -0800
From: Paul Wakfer <>
Subject: The Future of Prometheus - An Open Discussion

Dear CryoNet Readers:

With your indulgence, I am initiating a discussion of the Prometheus
Project and its future because certain changes (and my realization of
their extent) have occurred which put in question the need and/or the
ability of the Prometheus Project (and myself) to proceed with its
original goals. I decided to initiate this discussion here in the open
on CryoNet because I believe that the Prometheus Project has attained a
certain stature in the larger picture of cryonics activities and ideas,
which make it important to, and a concern of all members of the cryonics

The Present State of Prometheus

The Pilot Project

I am starting discussion with the Pilot Project (PpP) because is it the
most positive result of the Prometheus Project to date and the most
likely to bring important results. It is also the portion to which I and
Greg Fahy are solidly committed to begin and see through to completion.
Here are the particulars of the PpP as much as we are allowed to make
public (allowed, in the sense that if more is made public the project
will almost certainly not be able to proceed).

1. The science plan for PpP is complete (as much as can be done before
its execution is approved).

2. That plan and a budget will be submitted by mid February to both the
animal use committee and the research committee of a research institute
associated with a major university medical center.

3. When approved, modest but sufficient (if augmented) funding will be
released from that institute for use by the project.

4. I would like to see this funding augmented by a minimum of $100,000
from donations to the Full Length Life Society (FLLS), a charitable
trust (with 501(c)3 approval pending). The funding from the research
institute is fixed, so the larger the external augmentation (up to a
total of perhaps $200,000 external augmentation), the more fruitful will
be the PpP research. By "fruitful", I mean producing results directly
hastening the achievement of perfected brain cryopreservation.

5. Currently, about $70,000 of funding has arrived ($33,300) or been
promised, although with some of the recent events concerning the
Prometheus Project and myself, some of this may not materialize.

6. Negotiations are underway with the research institute via a pathology
researcher who is supportive of the Prometheus goal (and has directed
the institute funds our way) which suggest that FLLS will purchase the
major specialized equipment which is needed and "lend" that equipment to
the PpP research which itself (with no name related to Prometheus or
suspended animation) will be a project of the research institute. For
example, the technician doing the project work will be selected by us
but will be hired by the research institute. As compensation for this
help to the research project by the loan of equipment and consulting
expertise (Greg Fahy), FLLS will receive full rights to develop, market
and sell any results which come from the research.

7. The positive results of the PpP research should not only produce a
cryoprotective mixture and method which allows reversible vitrification
of hippocampal brain slices (and after some further verification in
whole brains should be applicable to human cryopreservation as practiced
in cryonics), but it will also produce a method which will be applicable
to reversible vitrification experimentation and the validation of
viability for whole brains. Besides this, it may have important and
valuable applications to mainstream research and drug development areas
related to neuroscience.

Acceptance of the Prometheus Idea

While not exactly a "household word", promotion of the Prometheus
Project idea (not done very aggressively) and "word of mouth" spread has
caused it to become known amazingly widely. We have pledgers and other
supporters from all continents (except Africa and Antarctica) and many
countries. I believe that with more work and possibly a change of style
in some venus, the idea could attract much more support and more
pledges/contributions. I don't believe that the appeal of its basic idea
and applications has been fully exploited on the Internet. If funding
were available to do so, it could also be promoted off the Internet,
something which has hardly been done at all. I believe that such
promotion could be made to pay for itself (from donation receipts)
immediately and would return money to finance research in the longer

Now that the idea and positive thoughts of what it stands for has become
better accepted (certainly in the cryonics community), in many ways, it
should be easier and more fruitful to continue and to capitalize on this
initial investment of patience, time and effort.

The Pledge Campaign

The campaign to garner conditional pledges of funding towards the goal
of perfected suspended animation is now at the $402,000/yr level (one of
the former pledgers withdrew as a result of some recent turmoil). As
most of you know, among the various conditions on these pledges are that
$1,000,000/yr in pledges must be attained before any are due. The rate
of increase of the pledge total has been very slow for over a year now
for many reasons most of which are related to why this discussion is
being initiated. Some of the more earnest and dedicated pledgers have
decided to contribute funds early to the project and that is where most
of the PpP funding has come from.

There is another aspect of the $402,000/yr pledge total which needs to
be explained in order to fully appreciate the state of Prometheus and
its potential (or lack of it). Pledges totaling $100,000/yr within that
amount were made by the principals of the Life Extension Foundation
(LEF), who are heavily supporting 21st Century Medicine (21CM) and
presumably those pledges will either not now be forthcoming to
Prometheus or if they are, the amount which is available to 21CM, which
is also now executing research whose goal is perfected suspended
animation, will be decreased proportionately. In addition, both the
research institute's promised funding for the PpP and two pledgers'
lump-sum, up-front pledges which are being donated to the PpP were
counted among that $402,000/yr total (quite reasonably, I believe). The
result of this is that, projected to the end of 1998, the current
Prometheus Project pledge total will only amount to $387,000/yr
including the pledges from the LEF principals.

In order for pledges to begin accumulating at the rate necessary to to
give any chance of reaching the $1,000,000/yr goal and enable startup
funding for the full PP research before earlier pledges begin to
dissipate, there are several possible routes to take that have either
been previously denied to the Project or for other reasons have not
happened. I list these in the order that I currently believe would be
the most fruitful for raising PP funding, but not necessarily the

1. Solicit pledges and/or contributions from members of the cryonics
community who are not on the Internet. This would need the full support
and help of those in control of several cryonics, or cryonics friendly
organizations which have access to these people.

2. Convince the non-cryonics, life-extension community at large that
perfected suspended animation (as opposed to *un*perfected cryonics)
would be both capable of, and necessary for saving them from death until
the antiaging and rejuvenation breakthroughs which they (and we) are
all  hoping for, become available to extend their vital, happy,
productive years of life. Concomitant with this effort to convince them
of the necessity of perfected suspended animation would, of course, be
the solicitation of pledges and/or contributions to help make it happen.

3. Contact and solicit pledges and/or contributions from those funding
research to cure major life-shortening diseases causing premature death
and preventing everyone from achieving their full life potential. Such
entities, which include many foundations, and government health research
funding agencies, would need to be convinced that perfected suspended
animation could be the ultimate in patient stabilization to prevent
death until such cures were available.

4. Convince those funding terminal care that perfected suspended
animation would be a much less expensive alternative, and would, in
addition, give the patient a chance for recovery in the future.

There are many other special interest groups and areas of society where
perfected suspended animation could apply. All of these are potential
sources of revenue. Projecting ones mind into the future, envisaging
that perfected suspended animation has been achieved, and imagining all
the uses to which it might be put, is all that is necessary to see that
is could have revolutionary effects on many areas of human activity.
(Suspending "lifers" is but another example of potential cost saving

Because many of these different applications of  perfected suspended
animation appeal to radically different groups of people, I created the
FLLS to be a promotional, educational, funding body with each different
application being an attractor or doorway to the common research need
and theme. Whether this will work to produce synergy, just be additive,
end up turning everyone off when the see the radical application ideas
of others, I do not know.

An Independent Research Effort

One of the major questions in my mind at the moment and I suspect also
in the minds of others who are trying to decide whether to pledge or
even to fulfill their current pledge when the time comes, relates to the
emergence since PP began, of a well funded independent effort to perfect
suspended animation. This effort (by 21CM) not only has a well equipped
facility and scientists working on the problem, but because of the
attractiveness of the momentum and credibility of an already operating
project, is continuing to accumulate scientific and monetary resources
which otherwise might have contributed to PP. In addition, I believe
that many people who were ready to "tighten their belts" in order
support PP with meager personal funds, see less urgency to do so now
that 21CM's effort is underway, has shown some success, and appears
certain to continue.

In order to continue to function as a agent seeking to do its own
research, PP would need to convince people that there is both a need and
sufficient funding for a research effort independent of 21CM. I myself
am not convinced of this, or at least, am not prepared to continue the
kind of short-term self-sacrificing, Herculean effort which I have in
the past, to try to build a parallel (and by its very nature competing)
project unless *active* support from others is forthcoming.

Certainly, there is no question that it would be *nice* to have an
independent research effort, so that all our "eggs are not in one
basket". However, is this realistic? I believe that it is only realistic
and only achievable if PP (and FLLS) takes a very different approach and
attempts to be quite distinct from 21CM. Whether, attempting to attract
and generate donations and investments from a *very* large number of
small donors and investors is sufficiently different, I do not know. I
do know that it will be an enormously difficult task to accomplish.

Current Prometheus Organization

This is a touchy subject for many reasons, but let me first try to
divert any debate or criticism since that is not now my purpose, and I
sincerely hope that it will not be anyone else's purpose. So I will
start by admitting responsibility for what ever mistakes have been made
and take onto myself any *blame* which attaches to any of them. Let us
then proceed to describe where we are and where we might go.

Current Organization and Possible Changes

1. The Prometheus Project is not an organization as such and never has
been. It could become a committee which decides how to proceed by
majority vote, or it could acquire some kind of formal organizational
structure. However, neither of these options appeals to me. The first
would lead to the well know effects of "design by committee", and the
second would just introduce a lot of overhead and political strife while
still needing a strong, decisive, creative and persuasive leader to
accomplish anything.

2. There now exists a charitable trust, FLLS, of which I am the First
Trustee. The other principals were two trusted friends and
transhuman/immortalists who helped my immensely continue my PP efforts
and introduced me to some important trust ideas. However, they are
little known in the cryonics community and were view by several people
with such suspicion and grave misgivings that they will be resigning
from FLLS in favor of whoever I wish to appoint. Greg Fahy is a possible
Second Trustee and other trustee positions are open to appointment. I
have already approached two people who are respected in the cryonics
community and are not currently Directors or major officers of any
cryonics organization. For those who wonder, you may think of trustees
as playing a similar role in the operation of a Trust to the role of
Directors in the operation of a Corporation. The number of trustees of
FLLS is limited to a maximum of 5 (for good reasons in my view) and my
goal in selecting trustees will be to form a close knit group of people
with whom I have mutual respect and who have shown that they have
integrity, ability to accomplish tasks, wisdom, and willingness to
objectively cooperate for common goals. For many reasons, not the least
of which is potential organizational bias, I do not want leaders of
current cryonics organizations as trustees. For similar reasons, I
strongly believe that if PP continues, it should do so as an
"institution" separate from, external to and independent of any of the
cryonics organizations.

2. FLLS has applied for 501(c)3 status to the IRS and there is no reason
why it should not be approved since all the necessary provisions were
included in the Trust Instrument (or can be modified if the IRS
requires). When the IRS will get around to contacting me or approving
the FLLS application is anybody's guess. All donations to FLLS *are*
charitable until proven not to be and receipts for such donations are
being issued.

3. As its name implies, the Full Length Life Society's goals are
somewhat larger and more extended than those of the original Prometheus
Project. This was done in order to make it appeal to diverse
applications of vitrification, some of which are mentioned above.

4. The Prometheus Project as an idea to attract donations to FLLS had
two domain names pointing to the same web site:
http://www.prometheus-project.org and http://prometheus.morelife.org The
domain name http://morelife.org points directly to the FLLS pages which
are also reachable from the Prometheus pages. The FLLS pages still need
a lot of writing to elucidate the many applications of perfected
suspended animation. This something which I can and will do. The FLLS
site could also use some design work to make it look more attractive.
This is not something which I can do.

Some Ideas for Future Organization

Even though I personally don't believe that it is the best way to
proceed, if research beyond the Pilot Project is to be financed, I now
believe a for-profit corporation will have to be formed. One major
reason why this has not been done is that with the large number of
"unqualified" (an SEC technical term) investors involved (there are over
90 pledgers now), it is estimated that it would take about $30,000 to
launch such a corporation and provide a prospectus respecting all SEC
regulations. I certainly have no money to fund this, so the question is
how is it to get done? I have no answer and await input from those who
want it.

Another possible purpose of Prometheus, and in its more extended areas,
FLLS, is to simply be a promotion and educational organization which
does the importance work of "readying" society including the scientific,
medical and government establishments for the arrival of perfected
suspended animation. It could also foster the research of other
organizations through holding conferences, issuing newsletters, making
presentations, etc. In essence, Prometheus/FLLS could be to perfecting
suspended animation and related life-saving technologies as the
_Foresight Institute_ is to nanotechnology.

Leadership and My Place

My purpose in entering full time cryonics activity 6 years ago was to
try to make cryonics into a larger, more stable and more credible
endeavor so that it would be there for me when I needed it, and by
enhanced methods and credibility, give me some reasonable chance for
extended life. While cryonics itself has continued its previous slow
grow, I believe that my goal may be achieved by the emergence of 21CM,
its current and growing funding and resources, and its dedication to
perfecting suspended animation. While 21CM's success (and the attainment
of my purpose) is not at all certain to me, it is also not clear that I
can any longer serve a useful function in furthering my original goal
(and if 21CM is successful then, perhaps, I don't need to). It is
important that others should realize that, as opposed to many others who
wish to make cryonics their "career" and enjoy many of its activities
"per se", this has never been my purpose in being here. There are few
areas of cryonics related activity which I would wish to continue to do
for productive enjoyment. It was always my intention to work in cryonics
only as long as necessary to help get it up to a level where I felt
there was a reasonable chance for my life to be extended. Then I would
leave cryonics activity to pursue the interests which I *really* want to
do. Many times, to describe this approach, I have used the phrase "You
could not pay me enough to hire me to do this work. However, for now, I
will do it for free!" And that has been my approach. I have never at any
time during my 6 years of (more than) full-time cryonics activity
received any wages for my services. I *have* received shares in Cryovita
(now merged with 21CM), CryoSpan and 21CM for money invested and work
done. Whether those shares will ever be worth anything, I do not know.
That was certainly not the purpose for which I gave the money and did
the work. I could have made far more money and had more daily enjoyment
by spending my time and money elsewhere. I hope to recoup my losses in
the extended future.

Two weeks ago, in an emotional response, I was considering abandoning
many things in cryonics. That was what lead to Thomas Donaldson's
premature announcement here. After serious analysis of Prometheus and
other activities, however, I realized that perhaps my emotions weren't
so far off after all (they have served me well in the past as "tools of
cognition"). Perhaps the Prometheus Project has served its purpose or,
at the least, simply cannot be productively continued in the present
changed environment of cryonics and related research activities.

That having been said, I am still ready, willing and able to continue
with Prometheus if I can be convinced that it has an important role to
play, if I can become convinced of what that role should be, and if
others become strongly involved. I believe that I have shown some skills
in strategy, creative thinking, decision making, persuasive writing, and
idea promotion, and I have found that I like doing such activities
(which probably relates back to my long career as a teacher in many
areas). If Prometheus/FLLS should  proceed with a full-fledged research
effort (as originally planned), I would not be the one to be the
executive director of that effort. However, I believe that I might do a
good job as strategist, decision/policy maker, promoter, etc. and I
would enjoy doing that.


One of the major problems for Prometheus has always been that we have no
scientists to design properly planned and budgeted projects for us that
we can present as very concrete worthwhile things to pledge towards and
to fund. To his credit, Greg Fahy has helped PP in this direction with
the design of the PpP research. However, the response to fund this,
while positive, has not so far shown any "snowballing" effect. PP,
therefore, has no funds or credibility of funding to offer Dr. Fahy
anything further. For this and other reasons, he is being continually
drawn into a more full-time relationship with 21CM. This is especially
reasonable since Saul Kent (through 21CM) has guaranteed Greg's whole
salary, while generously allowing the Pilot Project to have as much of
his time for its research as it could pay for. I was hoping that once
the PpP research was underway, Greg would be able to work on a
full-blown PP science plan which we would then go around and "sell" to
people in order to complete the $1,000,000 funding. In this manner, I
thought that it might be possible to reach an actual income level for PP
of $500,000 per year by the end of 1998. This would enable PP, under
Greg's scientific leadership, to mount a sizable operation which would
in turn give PP even more credibility and allow us to reach and surpass
our $1,000,000 per year funding goal sometime during 1999. I now believe
that without major changes which I alone cannot effect, this is
impossible. In addition, I now do not see how PP can attract and hold
any credible scientific leadership while it is in the pledge
accumulating stage and without such leadership completion of that stage
appears not to be possible.


So there are have it boys and girls.

1. The PpP will go on to completion and, hopefully, produce important

2. 21CM, and all cryonicists will have access to its results and FLLS
may even have income from those results.

3. Where PP goes after 1998 and whether I have any part in it, is up to
you (and me too, if I become convinced it has a future).

4. I am ready to calmly say: "I have done my part" and to leave, if I
can see nothing productive that I can further effect. In this context, I
would also like to announce that I have sold my controlling interest in
CryoSpan, Inc. and no longer have that duty binding me to Southern

5. At the same time, I am ready to continue with Prometheus if it can
have some useful and achievable role to play, and I am convinced that I
can have important effects and enjoy the related activities. I will also
need to receive some remuneration for doing the work.

Thanks very much for reading this statement.

-- Paul --

 Voice/Fax: 909-481-9620 Page: 800-805-2870
The Prometheus Project -- http://prometheus.morelife.org
Perfected Suspended Animation for Patient Stabilization
until Cures for Their Terminal Diseases are Available

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