Friday, January 13, 2006

Would you like to be frozen for an eon or so?

A guy, somewhere in France, has fought his way up in court to keep his dead mother at home frozen in a box, until such time that medical science is able to resurrect her. This is probably not any time soon, so he may end up joining her in this icy state for one other eon or so. But he is unlikely to get the chance. In France, there are only two ways out: regular burial or regular burning.

I wonder, would you like to be frozen – and be resurrected, say, a few thousand years from now? Even if the waiting is only a couple of hundred years, I would still hesitate.

But let’s assume there is the possibility. One day in the future, you wake up. The first thing you’ll say is: “Please put the heater on, I’m freezing cold.”

Strange eyes will gaze at you. They might smile and check your heartbeat. They might utter a few kind words, but you cannot possibly understand them. The surrounding in which you open your eyes is totally alien. “Am I, after all, in heaven?” you might ask.

But you are not. You’re still on Earth. And it is unlikely that you find yourself in the very same spot where many years ago eh died. You’ve been moved, and the facility in which these strange people with their funny clothes have brought you back to the living may well be miles down the road from where you went to sleep. In the mean time, things have changed in other respects as well. Buildings have gone, new ones have been erected; villages have been replaced by new bundles of skyscrapers; the entire countryside, perhaps even the entire nation has been replaced, turned upside down, new populations moved in; massive natural disasters have pressed the evolution of mankind into new crossroads. The one thing they did was to preserve you – and re-ignite your life.

Then you are discharged from the facility with a clean bill of health. Congratulations. Now what? Where will you go? And where will you live – or how? You might as well have landed on Pluto, with a one way ticket. No way to go back. You find yourself thrown into a jungle in space, inhabited by vaguely humane beings, with friendly eyes – still staring at you, wondering – as much as you do yourself – how to communicate.

Off you go on some unknown crowded street. You start walking. Funny things zip by. Whatever they're driving in, the vehicles they use don't really look like cars.

At one point you realize that you have built up a massive appetite. It’s been a while since you last had a snack. So, do you have money? Is there any way you can pay for your living? Whatever salary or pension you may have enjoyed in you earlier life, it will have dried up long, long ago.

Chances are that you next life will be on the fringes of decent living and that – at best – you will be given some sort of welfare payment, hardly sustainable, let alone a living that is worthwhile to be frozen for.

They may even want you to pay for all these years, or eons of electricity needed to retain your icy state.

So here is my advice.

If you wish to freeze yourself, never go it alone. Have somebody to join you, so at least – later on – you have a person to talk to.

Secondly: bury a treasure of some kind in a place that can stand the tides of time. A grotto, or the deep ocean. Be sure this is a treasure that will still have a value in the future – so you can change if for the relevant currency later on. Gold? You don’t know. An artifact of your own time? Perhaps. Keep it a secret!

Third: see ya.


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