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The Prospect of Immortality


The following is from the dust jacket of the British hard cover edition, 1965.

Would you like to live for ever, here on this earth? In the very near future this may become a real possibility. Indeed, in theory it is possible now, for if one was to be deep-frozen and stored away it is inevitable that in fifty, or a hundred, or a thousand years (time becomes meaningless in this context) surgery will have progressed to the point where damage to the cells which is at present irreparable will be able to be repaired. The difficulty at the moment is that present methods of freezing and unfreezing are so crude that a great deal more damage is done in the process. But this again is something which will soon be overcome.

Should it happen, and there is the possibility that the first cases are already on ice, there will clearly be innumerable complications over the religious, social, and legal status of  'corpses', not to mention the purely physical problem of storage, and the enormous economic problem of over-population which must one day result. Can a 'corpse' inherit? Can an 'ice-widow' remarry? Is it euthanasia to freeze a relation, or is it murder not to?

The Prospect of Immortality is a sober, scientific, and logical argument founded on undeniable fact: that a body deep-frozen stands a better chance of being revived than one rotting in the ground; and that many people who died fifty or a hundred year ago of  'incurable' diseases would today be cured. Mr. Ettinger has carried his thesis to its logical conclusion and examined every aspect of the consequences. Even those who are appalled by the 'prospect' will be intrigued by the argument.


In the 1960s Robert Ettinger founded the cryonics (cryonic hibernation) movement and authored THE PROSPECT OF IMMORTALITY. (And in the 1970s Ettinger would help initiate the transhumanist revolution with his MAN INTO SUPERMAN.) Ettinger sees "discontinuity in history, with mortality and humanity on one side -- on the other immortality and transhumanity." [[P:]] This 2005 edition (ISBN 0-9743472-3-X) contains an exact replica copy of the complete first edition of Ettinger's 1964 cultural classic, THE PROSPECT OF IMMORTALITY. (The Cultural Classics Series By Ria University Press is edited by Charles Tandy, Ph.D.) Additional (2005) materials include comments by others -- "Developments In Cryonics 1964-2005" -- written especially for this 21st century edition: (1) "The State of Cryonics -- 2005" (By Jim Yount); and, (2) "A Brief History of Cryonics" (By R. Michael Perry). A new (2005) Introduction by Charles Tandy is entitled "Ettinger's 1964 Thesis: Indefinitely Extended And Enhanced Life (Immortality) Is Probably Already Here Via Experimental Long-Term Suspended Animation" [[P:]] James Bedford began his journey as "the first cryonaut" on January 12, 1967; as of 2005, he and many others remain in cryonic hibernation. According to Ettinger, cryonic hibernation (experimental long-term suspended animation) of humans may provide a "door into summer" unlike any season previously known. Such patients (individuals and families in cryonic hibernation) may yet experience the transhuman condition. Ettinger argues for his belief in "the possibility of limitless life for our generation." We should become aware of the incorrect, distorted, and oversimplified ideas presented in the popular media about cryonics. He believes that the cool logic and scientific evidence he presents should lead us to forget the horror movies and urban legends and embrace great expectations.