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Dallas, Texas, United States

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Odyssean Bargain

At a Church of Perpetual Life discussion, Cairn Erfreuliche Idun shared something pithy with us that she had originated.  She said she once ran it by B.F. Skinner and it resonated with him:

The better you understand the controls that control you,
 the better you can control the controls that control you.

It made me think of the "Odyssean bargain".  I read about this on the Web some years ago but when I search now I cannot find that phrase used in the same context that I remember.  Here is what it might mean:

In Greek mythology, sirens are man-eating monsters that entice sailors to their deaths through alluring song.  Odysseus wanted to be able to listen to the siren song without being drawn in and consumed.  He achieved this by having himself bound to a mast while the rest of the crew was protected by plugging their ears with beeswax.

So what he was doing here was taking steps while he was in control to prevent self-destructive behavior later when he knew he would be out of control.  I have heard that people who are addicted to a drug sometimes deliberately put themselves in a situation where they cannot possibly access the drug for many days so that they can make it through to the other side of withdrawal.  An example of this might be an addict throwing away their cigarettes just before launching for a sail across the Pacific.

There is a trend where people will motivate themselves by vowing to donate funds to an organization that they hate unless they achieve a goal by a given deadline.  These cases might not be Odyssean bargains because the actors are still in control, not out of control, as they are highly motivated to take steps to avoid the self-imposed negative consequences.  This will not work with sailors under the siren spell nor with addicts to whom all negative consequences are secondary.

Something else that sounds similar but is probably different is the advice that one should not go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.  If you postpone heading out until just after a meal, you are ensuring that you staying in control during the period of temptation instead of making it physically impossible to load your shopping cart with junk food.  An Odyssean bargain might instead be to choose to go to a health food store where that option is not available.

The word "bargain" implies that something is freely given in exchange for something else.  For the opportunity to hear the siren song, Odysseus made a conscious decision while he still had free will to restrict his freedom of movement in the future when he would not.  When I was finally able to quit smoking some decades ago after being bedridden for three days, that was more of a happy accident than a bargain struck.

Update 2024-04-29
Today I discovered the Wikipedia article Ulysses pact.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Baby Bella

Congratulations to my son Benjamin on the birth of his daughter Bella. Baby Bella and mother Courtney are doing well. Thank you for making me a grandfather.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Cryonics Community

W. Scott Badger, Ph.D, is the author of the research paper "An Exploratory Survey Examining the Familiarity with and Attitudes toward Cryonic Preservation" published in the 1999 Q1 issue of the Alcor magazine "Cryonics".  About two decades ago, he and I were discussing the possibility of a Cryonics Community website.  I registered a domain name back then for that purpose.

Today I finally got around to launching a website using that domain name  The website includes a link to a Google Groups discussion mailing list.  Please join the list if you want to help shape the future of the Cryonics Community website.

I think what we originally envisioned for the website was a forum where cryonauts associated with any cryonics organization could come together to discuss the topic.  I see that need being met today by the Cryosphere server on Discord.  I also know that there has been some discussion on the Cryosphere about forming local Meetup groups for face-to-face meetings.

I think the new website could instead focus on a different kind of "Cryonics Community".  R. Michael Perry, Ph.D, is the author of the article "A Look Back: Attempts to Establish a Cryonics Community" in the 2021 Q2 issue of "Cryonics".  Dr. Perry documents previous efforts to create places where cryonauts could live together to maximize their chances of a successful suspension.

These communities could include retirement homes where members could check on each other daily such as at mealtimes.  Nearby there could be a cryonics suspension and storage service, a hospice, and maybe even a transhumanist church.  Ideally the communities would also be in places where cryothanasia is legal.

To support these efforts, the website could list local Meetup groups where those interested in forming such a community could connect.  Another idea is that website members could opt into a service in which other members would check on them if they suddenly stop logging in.  Online job listings could encourage migration.

Eventually the website might evolve into a non-profit corporation.  The mission of the non-profit might include encouraging the growth of related for-profit ventures such as real estate development and monitoring services.  A goal might be to establish a cryonics community in every major metropolitan area.

Monday, January 01, 2024


Congratulations to my son Thomas Edward Croft and my new daughter-in-law Katherine "Kate" Ann Pinkerton on their marriage last month.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Optihumanist Principles 2023

This year I updated the "Life is Limitless" section of my Optihumanist Principles to state the following:

We invent and innovate to make aging and death optional.

Speaking of death as an option, today I launched a new website,  The site provides a list of articles about the practice of euthanasia followed immediately by cryonic suspension.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Transhumanist Church

In mid-2003, I launched the Transhumanist Church website to announce my intent to create a Religious Transhumanist organization.  The goal was to combine elements of the Society for Venturism with the spirit of early twentieth century American Religious Humanism.  Religious Humanism does not exist as an independent movement today as the bulk of it morphed into secular humanism while the religious remnant was eventually absorbed into Unitarian Universalism.

Depending on the context, the term "Church" either means a Christian organization or any religious organization in general, whether Christian or non-Christian.  To disambiguate, you might use the alternative term "Fellowship" for an organization that is religious but maybe not exclusively Christian.  The term "Society" feels similar to "Fellowship" but maybe more secular.

The Society for Venturism was originally known as the Church of Venturism.  After a founding member of the Society for Venturism joined the Transhumanist Church, the members voted to change the name of their organization to the Society for Universal Immortalism (SfUI).  After that, the Transhumanist Church domain name was no longer used.

Although I am no longer actively involved with the SfUI, I have found a new home with the Church of Perpetual Life.  Along the way, I looked into alternatives such as the Terasem Movement Transreligion and the Mormon Transhumanist Association.  I also started my own personal micro-church which I am calling the Optihumanist Fellowship.  

On my Cryonics Industry Consortium (CrInCo) website,  I have a directory of cryonics organizations providing services in the United States.  It recently dawned on me that I could create a similar website listing Transhumanist religious organizations.  To promote growth in this area, I have relaunched the Transhumanist Church website.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Worm at the Core

A few months ago I was in a conversation in which someone asked what happened to the soul when someone went into cryonic suspension.  I remember having a conversation with my Christian father some decades ago that touched on something like this.  He had replied that God knows when you are really dead.

I think this is a good response for those who believe in the supernatural soul.  You could try to tell them that there is no such thing as the supernatural but that would just trigger their defenses against mortal terror.  It is probably best to just get them signed up for cryonics with their current worldview intact and then maybe only later try to persuade them otherwise when they emerge from their baptism in liquid nitrogen.

Recently I finished listening for a second time to an audiobook on the subject of Terror Management Theory entitled The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death.  It explains how our Denial of Death drives many of our defensive behaviors including religion and war.  It makes me wonder how human culture might change for the better when future medical technology makes us effectively immortal.

The Worm at the Core helped me make yet another connection between an Old Testament story and an earlier Sumerian myth.  In the Epic of Gilgamesh, after Gilgamesh acquired a plant that would make old men young, a serpent stole the plant and consumed it.  The serpent then shed its old skin, becoming young again, leaving Gilgamesh to realize the inevitable.

The serpent from the Epic of Gilgamesh reappears in the Garden of Eden to teach Eve the same lesson.  The authors of The Worm at the Core assert that one of the ways we attempt to distinguish ourselves from animals without immortal souls is to clothe and decorate our bodies.  When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, they became aware that they were naked.

The consequence of their eating from the Tree of Knowledge was not their deaths but rather the knowledge of their deaths.  Before the serpent tempted Eve with the gift of foresight, Adam and Eve could simply gather fruit from the trees of the Garden whenever they were hungry, blissfully ignorant of what would happen when the fruit went out of season.  Afterwards, they became aware of their fate in a way that non-human animals cannot.

The curse laid upon Eve for her transgression was the knowledge that the only existing route to immortality is through the pain of childbirth.  The curse for Adam was the knowledge that only through the pain of his labors to till the soil in the present could they reap a potential harvest to permit them to survive in the future.  The same foresight that pushes us into denial and paralysis can also drive us to labor today to conquer death tomorrow.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Thirtieth Anniversary

My wife Shannon and I had another anniversary recently.  She is a good mother to our six children and a good wife.  I am happy she said yes when I proposed thirty years ago.

My parents had their sixtieth anniversary recently.  I look forward to another thirty years of marriage to my best friend.  I love Shannon.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Migration to Michigan

Here in Texas, we have had a hot summer.  Whenever I wanted to do something outside on the weekends like sailboat maintenance, I had to get out there at dawn to beat the heat.  I expect that future summers will be even hotter.

I started thinking about climate migration again.  I learned that the Great Lakes Region is a climate haven.  Many of my family members and friends are already up there, some having moved within just the last few years.

In my search for a new home, I saw that Michigan came up repeatedly as a future refuge.  Compared to Texas, Michigan is cold but like everywhere else, it is trending warmer.  In a number of decades, it could be quite pleasant.

I also saw that the Cryonics Institute is in Michigan.  I am a twenty-plus-year member of the cryonics organization Alcor located near Phoenix, Arizona where it gets unbearably hot.  A few days ago I became a Life Member of the Cryonics Institute located near Detroit, Michigan where it does not.

Some counties in Michigan have laws that are friendlier toward cryonics than others.  Macomb County, home of the Cryonics Institute, has better laws than some adjacent counties.  It also has good public schools.

Macomb County prides itself on being Boat Town, U.S.A.  It borders Lake Saint Clair which is part of the Great Loop.  They have many yacht clubs, marine businesses, and Coast Guard stations in that area.

As a first step toward my migration to Michigan, I am selling my sailboat and slip here in Dallas.  I will buy another boat after I make the move.  I look forward to sailing up there with other members of the Cryonics Community.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Ensign Croft

Congratulations to my son Thomas Edward Croft on completing his initial training in the United States military.  Ensign Croft is a fourth generation United States military officer.  Our family history includes Air Force, Army, Navy, and now Coast Guard.

Thomas is stationed at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) where he is training to become a medical doctor.  USU is in Bethesda, Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C.  I look forward to seeing where his career takes him next.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Digital Tidying

Recently I finished reading a library copy of The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story by Marie Kondo.  The author explains her approach to minessentialism in somewhat mystical terms but you can often figure out a practical rationale for each of the rules that she teaches.  I found this graphic novel to be a quick easy read and now my family members are enjoying it.

I have recently decided that I need to start digital tidying on a periodic basis.  I think I will start alternating my daily practice of cleaning my physical space with cleaning my virtual space.  My digital maintenance could include uploading all of my files to the cloud and then deleting them off of old laptops, sorting the contents of my cloud folders so that I can find the files that I am looking for when I need them, deleting files that are no longer needed, and making offline backups of my cloud data.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

UU Humanist

I recently attended a Zoom presentation hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association (UUHA).  Rabbi Adam Chalom gave a talk on "Imagine There's No Heaven: A Humanist Approach to Mortality and Memorial".  The UUHA just launched a new YouTube channel so the talk might be archived there soon.

While he was speaking, I was thinking of how an Optihumanist memorial service might differ, especially for someone who was in cryonic suspension.  Like a Humanist service, it would not offer comforting words to the grieving survivors that they might meet again in a supernatural afterlife.  Unlike a Humanist service, however, there would be some hope for a reunion in a different kind of afterlife, either physical or virtual, via some future medical technology.