Around two years before, I happened to come across an interesting article in the New York Times which discussed a company known as ‘Alcor Life Extension’ based out of the US. Ever since I red about what they do, I have been intrigued more and more about it.
They preserve humans at the end of the final moments of their lives to restore them when technologies or treatments become available sufficient enough to revive them in future.
They explain that the terminally ill patients whose life support may be discontinued, to be ideal candidates for preservation process. This is due to the fact that such patients “provide a window of opportunity for Alcor to artificially restore blood circulation and preserve brain viability”.
With a concept known as cryonics and assuming that humans live in their brains, people those who have taken membership with Alcor have been preserved already in very low temperatures – in liquid Nitrogen when they can no longer live due to illness or other causes. Such a preservation is done with the hope that once in the future, when advancements such as nanomedicine, stem cell therapy, and other medical breakthroughs move forward, once clinically dead can be revived fully.
Simply put, if you are a member of Alcor you will be picked up after your legal death – they must be able to intervene before one is bread dead, for the preservation to be successful. In fact, Alcor does not consider those preserved by them to be dead.
At the website alcor.org, you can get a lot of information on this rather strange looking idea. They have a photo gallery which shows how people would be and are preserved presently.
“Cryonics is the speculative practice of using cold to preserve the life of a person who can no longer be supported by ordinary medicine. The goal is to carry the person forward through time, for however many decades or centuries might be necessary, until the preservation process can be reversed, and the person restored to full health” – This is how Alcor explains Cryonics.
Patients are frozen or “suspended” using liquid nitrogen — which typically costs more than $150,000 for the process — and stored in containers called “Dewars.”
Concept is novel. However, how practical this whole idea of preservation is, only time will tell. Medical and scientific community is still struggling to explain the exact fundamentals of diseases like cancer and they have no cure in sight for multitude of other ailments. With that kind of present, can we expect to get to a stage where we can revive hopeless bodies back to life?
“Death is the end of life, the full cessation of vital functions in a biological organism” – this is how the Wikidpedia article put it. Question is whether it is possible to revive someone much later after death. Although, Alcor is said to intervene before the brain dies for their preservation to be successful, a person has already at least partly acceded to the above definition before Alcor can intervene.
Whether this works or not is one thing. Whether it is a good idea to attempt is another. Death is thought to end everything about that individual. If we were to revive people, that’s ‘defy death’, things can be very weird later on.
However, the fact is, Alcor as a company is live and kicking. If you believe in the idea and have plenty of cash to disperse, choice is for you to make a possible come back after – almost leaving.
Details of how life emerged first and what happens after death is still grey areas to most human knowledge. This is where, theory of evolution meats theory of ID (Intelligent Design) in the still challenged scientific basis for evolution.
No one has been revived yet through such a method but who knows what is in store for future? “The future has a way of arriving unannounced.”.