Science has been challenging our conventional and accepted nature of reality throughout history. It wouldn’t be too surprising if the media informed us out of the blue that humans are colonising Mars while anecdotes about vaccine breakthroughs storm the Internet. However, although we have already spectated immaculate drama films that take humans to the future, what if I told you that such an opportunity might no longer be fictional?
Cryonic preservation, also labelled as cryonics, is an intensive procedure wherein human corpses are contained and sealed inside cold storages (through a process known as vitrification). It was initiated in hopes of finding a ‘cure’ to death in the future — which would entail that the person might wake up thousands of years from now in case humans make a ‘resurrection breakthrough.’
If you have watched the film ‘Idiocracy,’ you may have already been acquainted with the dangers of experiencing the future. However, fantasies aside, the science of cryonics has largely been repudiated by the mainstream scientific community. Some call it a myth, whereas others call it ‘quackery.’
The First Cryopreservation
The public obsession with the idea that bodies could be frozen and revived with the advancement of medicine began early in the 1960s, and these seemingly rational fanatics chambered the first body on 16th January 1967. James Bedford is the first person to ever be cryonically preserved. He was a professor of psychology at the University of California before he succumbed to his liver cancer.
The body was immersed in liquid nitrogen, which was contained within a box of dry ice. Bedford’s body is now kept at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is waiting for cancer to get a cure so that he can ‘breath again.’
In 1991, when his body was briefly analysed, they found that it had not suffered any deterioration.
Critics of Cryopreservation
Many scientists, such as neuroscientist Michael Hendricks of McGill University in Canada, believe that technology will not be able to find a solution to reverse dead tissues – “reanimation is a false hope.”
Even Bedford’s family members have gone to the court to undo the decision he has made regarding his body’s preservation.
Interestingly, when the baseball icon Ted Williams’ body was preserved in Alcor, a petition was approved that labelled the facility as a cemetery. Hence, politics has also rendered it impossible for conservationists to work on their dreams.
Will We Finally Cheat Death?
The Cryonics Institute’s webpage elicits a positive affirmation that the world will one day be fully rid of ailments and diseases — much-needed information during COVID-19 times. 250 individuals in total have been successfully preserved across the world.
It’s not all pseudoscience perhaps, as these futurists have also broadened their field into nanobiology and cryobiology, which focuses on preserving organs. The entire premise of the exercise is that the body only needs the mind to function and remember its history.
Dennis Kowalski, the president of the Cryonics Institute located in Michigan, expressed that the only concern they have is the uncertainty of the experiment’s success. However, the same may not matter since the person will remain dead anyway. In 2016, the team was able to keep alive a vitrified rabbit brain.
What about the consequences of waking up baffled and confused in the future?
These institutes have ensured that the patient has minimum collateral which will enable them to move on their feet once they face the future.
Cryogenics in India
India has not been able to get close to this technology even for its space programmes. However, such a cryogenic technology is not for preservation but for the ignition of space engines.
Future has a lot in store for us, but it can be achieved only if we tackle other issues such as climate change, which we face amidst the suspicion of sustainability today. I am sure that the success of cryogenics can become a possibility; our descendants can take care of the ethicality of the process while we can admire it now in speculation.
Image Credits: Google Images
Find the blogger: @axelredwit
This post is tagged under: what is cryonic preservation, how to cheat death, pseudoscience, quaker science, is there a way to time travel, waking up in the future, cryogenic preservation, science of preservation, ted williams, ted williams’ death, baseball star’s death, cryonics institute, cryonics in china, cryocare equipment corporation, resurrection, future, india and cryonics, liquid nitrogen, preserving bodies, curing cancer, curing ailments, space programmes, cryogenics in america, james bedford, first person to have been preserved, how many cryogenic preservations, when did cryogenic preservation start, will cryonics work