Dirk Jan Buter's Aspiring Innovators Magazine

Living forever: The critical view of cryonics

What is the truth behind the cryonics prejudices? Because I notice in my environment that people are too quick to judge. Why are they dismissive of it and are these gut feelings correct? In this article we look for the opposing views and the truth behind these concerns.


Cryonics for me is extending my life beyond the limits of what is possible with current techniques. I think life is way too short and I don't want it to end. Other than living healthily, there are not many options other than relying on a well-researched experiment called cryonics. I therefore registered with the Cryonics Institute in Michigan in the United States.


At the Cryonics Institute, after your death, your body is kept frozen and cooled with liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196 °C. During the freezing process, the blood is replaced with cryoprotective agents such as glycerol, so that no ice forms and body cells remain intact. Your body is cooled, transported by plane to Michigan. There it is further cooled to the temperature of liquid nitrogen to preserve it for tens to hundreds of years. Actually just as long until the technology is ready to repair your body from the freezing damage and also to heal your body.

Critical questions

Comments that I often hear are that it is not possible, because no one has ever been brought back to life. People find it scary: "What are they going to do to you?" "You have no control over it!" People think you come back to life as a soulless zombie or consider it sinful because of their faith.

Environmental tax

I received other interesting feedback from a friend who said that it is too harmful to the environment to keep all those bodies cool with liquid nitrogen. Because the nitrogen evaporates slowly and must be replenished every now and then. I started looking into this.

How is liquid nitrogen actually made? Well, it is obtained from the air, a process called adsorption liquefaction. Air is pumped at low pressure and then passed through a bed of absorbent material. The nitrogen is attached to the material through adsorption and then condensed into liquid nitrogen.

Just a rough calculation: Suppose that the extraction of liquid nitrogen costs 3.3 kilowatts per kilogram of energy and suppose that you need 100 liters to freeze a body, that is approximately 81.1 kilograms in weight at a temperature of -195 .8 °C, then the freezing process costs 568 euros at a kilowatt-hour price of 0.59 euros. The purchase price of liquid nitrogen will logically be higher.

Liquid nitrogen used to freeze a human body is expensive at first, but then it only needs to be maintained and the environmental impact is not too bad. Other advantages of freezing with liquid nitrogen: The body can be stored for a longer period and, for example, it prevents the bodies from thawing if the power goes out.

Future vision

Another critical question that I find interesting is this: "Who wants to walk around on this planet forever?" The pessimism radiates from it. Of course, many bad things happen in the world every day. But if you look at it from a different angle. There are more than 7 billion people living on this planet, so there are relatively few incidents. So the world isn't that bad now. I also believe that a lot can change in the world, but that is separate from the fact that I find life valuable. In addition, it may sound like a long time. The question of course is whether you ever get tired of life. That's not a bad thing, because if you undergo cryonics, it doesn't mean that you could never die or anything like that. Death always remains an option.


Will all cryonicists turn into zombies? Take the example of Rogier Arnsten, a Norwegian boy who drowned in 1962 and was dead for about 2.5 hours, including twenty-two minutes underwater. He fell into an icy river and his body became hypothermic. After many attempts it was finally possible to resuscitate him again and with success. He eventually recovered completely, with the exception of less sharp vision and a slight limitation in muscle coordination. (Ettinger, CW 1962, The Prospect of Immortality, p. 78). A similar story with Anna Bågenholm: In 1999, the Norwegian doctor was buried by an avalanche while skiing. She was buried under snow for 80 minutes before she was found. Despite having suffered cardiac arrest, she was resuscitated and eventually made a full recovery. The cold saved their lives. Fortunately, both Rogier Arnsten and Anna Bågenholm did not become zombies and were very lucky to live to tell the story.

Lottery ticket

Cryonics is a great opportunity to defeat death and offer the possibility of being brought back to life one day in the future. By preserving the body at extremely low temperatures, we can shorten the time between death and a possible bridge repair of the body. Everyone has their own opinion, yet the comments show that people don't know much about it and simply assume some inaccuracies. Cryonics can best be compared to a ticket in the lottery: To have a chance to win it, you have to buy a ticket for it.