I was reading a science fiction book that, like many others, makes use of the idea of cryogenically freezing people and then bringing them back to life when the time is appropriate. In theory, this implies that the revived people may be thousands of years old. The idea of living longer than our normal lifespan seems intriguing, but I started to consider what it may be like in practice if we had access to this technology.

Hypothetical Situation

It's the year 2023. Global warming has raised temperatures to unprecedented levels.

a person walking through a canyon in the desert

The effects of climate change are becoming more apparent with each passing day. The once lush forests are now replaced by barren lands, and the oceans have risen to dangerous levels, swallowing entire cities. Natural disasters like hurricanes, tsunamis, and droughts have become more frequent and intense, causing widespread destruction and loss of life.

People are struggling to adapt to the changing climate. The heatwaves are unbearable, making it difficult to work outside. Water scarcity is a daily reality for many, forcing them to walk long distances to collect water. Food shortages are common as crops fail due to extreme weather and water scarcity.

You decide that living in this world is not worth it. You are not considering suicide. You have another choice. Put yourself in cryostasis. You will reappear in a century or several centuries at a time of your choosing.

The choices

Maintain status quo.

You fear the unknown more than the current dire state of affairs. You will live to fight another day. You are both optimistic and pessimistic at the same time. You think things will only get worse whether it's a hundred or a thousand years from now. In essence you would be ready to go down with the flames.

Wait for a better future

There are no problems that cannot be solved with the proper passage of time. You knowingly put yourself to sleep. But you need to decide beforehand how many years later you would wish to be woken up. Your years in cryostasis will pass by in the blink of an eye.

What choice would I make?

I have spent roughly 4 decades on this earth. It is easy to jump to the conclusion that everything was better in your youth. I was also of the same belief. While it may be true for some individual things on the whole things are probably much better now.

I thoroughly enjoy reading science fiction. Exploring the vast number of possibilities that the future of humanity could go on is fascinating. But considering everything that I have today in my life I would probably chose to stay present in the moment. The future seems too far removed from the natural order of things.

If we are to be ruled by AI overlords in artificially constructed biospheres I would probably lose my mind. Also if I did chose to go into cryostasis what would happen to dreams. Would I still have those? As I have written before on this blog, I find dreams to be one of the fascinating aspects of human existence.

Concluding thoughts

All I really hope is that within my lifetime we are never faced with such a choice at all. It sounds selfish in some sense that we don't care about what happens to the future generations. Do we really owe them if we know that our current actions could have far reaching consequences for them. I think we do. Collective responsibility is something we cannot shirk. I for one am happy to let science fiction stay as fiction.

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