Monday, February 3, 2014

Re-animation - Bring Me to Life

Re-animation, a precarious subject at best; yet one of the holy grails of science and long has it also been one of the staples of science fiction.

When you hear the word “re-animation” images of Frankenstein or the cult hit Re-Animator may come to mind, but real science and a bit (a large bit) of speculation has fueled this topic for generations.
The idea is simple; re-animate dead tissue to make it alive again. In the movies and on TV this has had mixed results. Sometimes the organism being re-animated comes back altered or crazy or some kind of monster. This latter point was well established since the days of the original Frankenstein film of 1931. And we have seen horrific manifestations of this idea in the form of zombies more recently and perhaps notably.  

However, all of that put aside for just a moment, it is important to point out that real efforts, if not perhaps misguided, are in the works to re-animate humans after death, thus achieving some kind of human initiated resurrection. The idea for this is also rather simple, on paper; in reality it is much more difficult.

This is the science of cryonics. The idea that one can die, be frozen in a specific manner with the hopes that at some later date when medical science has caught up and found a cure for what killed them (and a way of reversing the freezing process too) the person can be thawed, operated on and revived.

There are some issues with this, however, the process of freezing damages the body. Because of this any frozen person would be forced to also wait for a cure for the process that is supposedly allowing them a chance at a second life. Also still, the process of death itself is still somewhat of a mystery. When does death actually occur? People considered “brain dead” today may be still within reach of saving in the future as life-intervention technologies improve.

Another question that comes to mind, is if it is possible to be revived, assuming all of the technical problems are resolved, what will the world be like upon your revival; hundreds or perhaps thousands of years later? Would it be worth coming back for?

Also and perhaps most troubling is the question, if your cause of death requires substantial medical advances to reverse, perhaps hundreds of years’ worth, will the facility housing your frozen corpse still be in existence in the future making your body available to be thawed and thus re-animated at all?
While other metaphysical questions also linger, perhaps the biggest questions and problems with the science of cryonics is the science itself or lack thereof. In truth, cryonics is an unproven science, at least in terms of reviving whole living organisms. Anybody choosing to put themselves on ice does so with their fingers crossed.

But then again, you never know. The future can potentially be an amazing place; perhaps someday people will be thawed and cured in time to meet their descendants at some kind of strange family reunion in the distant future. Time will only tell.

Isaac Hulke

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Learn more about what Isaac Hulke and Jacob O’Neal are up to by visiting any of the links below; including Isaac’s new book series Tales of Cydonia and Jacob’s past and upcoming film projects including Lepus and Terrestrial. And don't forget to check out Lepus now available on the new DVD Death by VHS.


Tales of Cydonia - book

Death by VHS - DVD
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