C is for Cryogenics, only in California?


“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.”

~ Woody Allen

Californians can be called narcissistic in that they are obsessed with their bodies: being obese is taboo, but maybe growing older and dying are even more taboo.

I still think that talking about dying is a total buzzkill in this country of optimism and can do. But maybe dying can be abolished if we are to believe cryogenic science, which is part of what we call transhumanism, or the belief that we can suspend biological limitations like disease and death by means of science and technological advances.


Cryogenics specializes in coffin-like freezers, not to freeze your leftover remains of your last Thanksgiving party, but to freeze your own remains. The belief here is to freeze people and to thaw them again once the cure has been found that the frozen succumbed to. I still think reanimation of a corpse is super problematic, but the concept is exciting enough that it inspired movies and blockbusters like Woody Allen’s The Sleeper and the Austin Powers movies which my 4-year-old at the time liked to quote abundantly and preferably in public, even though she had no idea what she was talking about (To her grandfather: “Do I make you horny, baby?” and to Jon: “How is your mojo, daddy?”).

Last time I checked, one in five people who had registered to be frozen came from the San Francisco Bay Area and 25% of the total registrants did not come from Hollywood but… from Silicon Valley: maybe this is not so strange when you realize these are people who may have a greater faith in technique and science than in God, Buddha or a happy Hereafter with countless virgins.

As you may have noticed from the general tone here, I myself think cryogenics is a total crock but well, if you had told my great-grandfather that, in our time, heart transplants and moonwalks would be old news, he might have referred you to the local psych ward as well.

The cost? $120,000 for an entire body and $50,000 for your head (presumably the rest can be rebuilt with clones, stem cells or whatever other futuristic tools we might have in the year 2250). My son told me the other day that he believes that, with the oceans dying and the bees struggling, there will be very little life left in 6 generations or so, so the question then becomes who the hell can keep the power on until better times roll around.

Actually, the number of people who have registered and paid is much lower than I thought: we’re talking hundreds of people, not thousands. In fact, this is all rather reassuring as it shows that Californians are less crazy than is widely assumed, which gives one hope…

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