‘We Will Live Again’ Offers Look At Cryonics Institute
THE UNUSUAL AND EXTRAORDINARY OPERATIONS OF THE CRYONICS INSTITUTE, A FACILITY THAT STORES HUMAN BEINGS AT BELOW-FREEZING TEMPERATURES IN ...
THE UNUSUAL AND EXTRAORDINARY OPERATIONS OF THE CRYONICS INSTITUTE, A FACILITY THAT STORES HUMAN BEINGS AT BELOW-FREEZING TEMPERATURES IN CRYOPRESERVATION.
This is Robert Ettinger, aka “The Iceman”. Nearing the final chapter of his life, he doesn’t buy into the notion of death – at least, not in the traditional sense – and he doesn’t believe you have to, either. As founder of the Cryonics Institute, Ettinger has devoted a giant portion of his life to cryogenics, the process by which human beings are stripped of their blood, filled with antifreeze, and frozen (by way of liquid nitrogen), where they are then stored in a sustained kind of limbo until more-advanced technology can “awaken” them.
“I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT LIVING FOREVER; I’M TALKING ABOUT WAKING UP TOMORROW.”
Brimming with both philosophical and ethical dilemmas, We Will Live Again constantly fascinates. This is Dr. Frankenstein territory, after all. Calling themselves a “hospital for the metabolically challenged”, Best believes that in a hundred years’ time, technology will be advanced enough to wake the cryogenically-frozen patients from their “sleep,” though he acknowledges that many people are outraged at the Institute’s attempt to play God: “There is a great deal of contempt for what we do…
It’s like there’s some 11th commandment in the Bible that says, ‘Thou shalt not freeze.’” Ettinger, who spent his younger life as a mathematics professor, admits that, in the end, the process may only amount to a pipe dream, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying; his mother was the Institute’s first patient, and both his first and second wives can be found frozen on the premises.
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These are subjects that would be right at home in an Errol Morris documentary, but the filmmakers treat them with complete respect; where other documentarians would have taken the cheap shot to show how ludicrous this all sounds (perhaps hanging on the awkward pauses in-between answers to undermine the speakers), Koury and Kane keep things honest, highlighting the humanity of men who want nothing more than to “wake up tomorrow” with their loved ones.