[FoRK] [New_Cryonet] Fwd: Steve Jobs: 'Death is life's best invention'

m2darwin at aol.com m2darwin at aol.com
Fri Oct 7 15:37:17 PDT 2011

In a message dated 10/7/2011 2:16:14 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
RonHave at aol.com writes:

I find this anecdote about Job's going the alternative medicine  route 
truly shocking, and a big story, if it can be corroberated. Can you  
give a source for this story? Ron Havelock

It's hardly a secret was  reported in the media, ashe became more open 
about his life these past few  years. The source I have is a CNN print story 
which is here: 

Jobs was an often  personally unpleasant, highly opinionated man who didn't 
suffer fools gladly,  and who was right so much of the time the he 
sometimes lost respect and  perspective about when he might be wrong. This is a 
commonplace failure mode  amongst such men - and of course, its an arrogance 
that afflicts us all, from  time to time.
The really big story, so  far largely unexploited by the media, is that 
Jobs got a liver transplant and  got it here in the US. This just does not 
happen in patients with his Dx and  prognosis - not since Mickey Mantle, anyway. 
And his outcome was exactly as  was predicted. This infuriates those 'in 
the know' in the transplant  community, because you have only to look to guys 
like Jim Neighbors, Larry  Hagman, or even Larry Kramer who got livers many 
years or even a decade or  two ago, and who continue not only to survive, 
but to do well. To put the  liver of a 25-year old into a ~54 year old man 
with metastatic neuroendocrine  pancreatic cancer violates the established 
protocols of just about every  transplant center in the US. This story was also 
reported in the  media, most notably in a NY TIMES article: 
I also  previously commented about this issue on the LESS  WRONG website:
In response to _comment_ 
(http://lesswrong.com/lw/6vq/on_the_unpopularity_of_cryonics_life_sucks_but_at/4l1p?context=1#4l1p)   by _Craig_Heldreth_ 
(http://lesswrong.com/user/Craig_Heldreth/)  on  _On  the unpopularity of 
cryonics: life sucks, but at least then you die_ 
_mikedarwin_ (http://lesswrong.com/user/mikedarwin/) 31 July 2011  
09:28:13AM* 30  points _[-]_ 
The reason I haven’t posted here before is that I’ve had no burning reason 
 to, and I’m busy. 
While there are many discrete reasons why cryonics hasn’t been (more)  
successful, the single biggest reason is the most obvious one; it has not been  
demonstrably shown to work. If suspended animation were a demonstrated 
reality  tomorrow, and it was affordable (i.e., not like spaceflight, which is  
demonstrably workable, but not yet affordable) then the tide would be turned. 
 Even then, it is unlikely there would be any kind of flash-stampede to the 
A schoolmate and friend of mine just died a few weeks ago of pulmonary  
fibrosis. He was an ideal candidate for a lung transplant. But, he couldn’t  
afford it, so he just laid there and died. Thousands of people who need  
transplants die each year, even though it is a proven modality of treatment  that 
is yielding a significant number of quality years of life. But, it is  
costly, there aren’t enough donors, and here’s the really remarkable thing,  
the vast majority of people who could benefit from a transplant are never even 
Consider Richard DeVos, the co-founder of Amway: 
(http://www.rickross.com/reference/amway/amway24.html.)  In 1983  DeVos, suffering from coronary artery disease, had 
bypass surgery. In 1992  DeVos had another bypass surgery, and by 1995 it was 
clear he had end stage  congestive heart failure (CHF). How many people have 
you known or heard about  who fit that description, and subsequently go on to 
die a perfectly pedestrian  death; at home or in the ICU? Such deaths are so 
routine no one gives them a  second thought. 
And it’s for damn sure that no one gives them a second thought when the  
patient is a 71 year old man! However, if you are absolutely fixated on  
staying alive, and your net worth is well in excess of 2 billion 1997 dollars,  
well, the rules of the game are different for you. DeVos got his heart in  
London, and the Amway corporate jet flew him there from Grand Rapids, MI. That 
 was in 1997, and as far as I know, DeVos is still alive. There are 
countless  ~71 year old men in the US, and elsewhere in the Developed World, dying 
of CHF  right now. In those cases, the word "transplant" is neither uttered 
nor heard  – even though it is very much a reality that if you have the 
money, the  persistence and the luck – a heart transplant offers the prospect of 
another 5  years of reasonably good quality life, on average. 
I worked in hospital, mostly in critical care medicine, for 7 years. The  
overwhelming majority of patients are passive – they do what their physicians 
 advise and if they do have alternative ideas, they are usually easily  
dissuaded from pursuing them. And, truth to tell, most of the “alternative  
ideas” patients have are bad ones, including Steve Jobs. But, if you are  
smart, lucky and rich – and you come to your senses, as Jobs did, it can be  
whole other ball game. Jobs suffered recurrent pancreatic cancer (islet cell  
neuroendocrine tumor) after a Whipple procedure in 2004. That is just about as 
 close as you can get to a death sentence, since the usual location of the  
met(s) is the liver. It is current medical consensus that liver  
transplantation in patients with recurrent pancreatic cancer that has  metastasized to 
the liver is contraindicated. In fact, I know a couple of  transplant 
surgeons who call such a procedure a murderous waste of a liver,  and a life! 
However, Jobs got a liver transplant in 2009. I strongly suspect  that he has 
very recently received additional cutting edge treatment not  widely 
Cryopreservation/cryonics is likely to creep in on little cat’s feet – 
with  a big jump or two along the way. Cryobanking of parenchymatous organs 
will  probably be one jump, reversible cryopreservation of the brain another, 
and  finally, whole body suspended animation. But it behooves us to beware 
that  lots and lots of people are “calmly” accepting their fates today, who 
could in  fact be ‘rescued’ by already extant medical technology - but for 
the  knowledge, the money and the will. And THAT is what is NOT likely to 
change.  To a surprising degree, people stay alive because it has been made 
very easy  for them to do so. Make it difficult, and you start to see people 
dropping  away. 
Cryonics demands a very high passion for and commitment to staying alive,  
not just because it is currently such a lousy product, but because, to be  
really credible, it DEMANDS ACTION to improve the odds of its success. Most  
people are not activists, and what's more, most people will refuse a chance 
at  more life when you take away the superficial things that they mistake 
for  their person-hood, or identity. And cryonics proposes to do exactly that. 
 There is historical precedent for this. In his incredibly insightful book, 
 MAN'S SEARCH FOR MEANING, Viktor Frankl noted that the people in the Nazi  
concentration camps fell into two groups. The first group consisted of the  
majority of those interned there, and they were people who defined 
themselves  in terms of their social milieu: if you asked them who they were, they 
would  say, "I am a doctor, a lawyer, a mother..." The second group consisted 
of a  small minority of people who thought of themselves as existing 
completely  independent of any label, any role, or any relationship they had with 
others,  or with society. 
When you entered a concentration camp, they took away you clothes, your  
profession, your family and even your name. For most people, that was the  
equivalent of taking away their very identity, and thus their will to live. As  
Frankel observed, it was mostly only the people in second, much smaller 
group,  that survived. 
It is from that tiny minority in the population as a whole, that cryonics  
draws it adherents. They are people who want to live, regardless, and who do 
 not define their sense of self on the basis of their jobs, their social  
interactions, or really, on anything other than a raw, visceral passion to  
survive. Some find that absolutely terrifying.


I find it more than  a little hypocritical that Jobs, who spoke so 
glowingly of the utility of  death for others, used every bit of medical technology 
AND his  considerable wealth and influence, to postpone it for it himself, 
including  the expedient of taking a GIFT, given with the sole intention of 
its being  used to provide genuinely life saving benefit (not a futile 
exercise in  medical care) and squandering it on a doomed attempt to save his own 
life. If  you have the temerity to stand before the entire population of 
this planet and  proclaim the goodness of death, then you should have the balls 
to  accept it - especially when your own warped, erroneous and IRRATIONAL 
decision  making was the proximate cause of your own dying. Instead, Jobs 
chose to grasp  at straws, take a gift from a dead man and his  family, given 
in good faith, and squander it on his own lust for more of  the very thing 
(life) that he has publicly proclaimed it is a second best to  "Death (which) 
is very likely the single best invention of life."  :
Jobs's twisted, and above all  hypocritical and irrational  decision making 
has done untold harm to  immortalism. In fact, Steve Wozniak remarked on 
NIGHTLINE the  evening of Jobs' death, that Jobs remained unaccepting of his 
own death  and still hopeful of yet another 'medical miracle' to rescue him 
right up  until the end.
To this I would say, "Fuck  you, Steve Jobs!" But there's really no need. 
He already did that to  himself.
Mike  Darwin

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