I never thought that I’d spend a Thursday night watching churchgoers lighting candles to pay homage to cryogenically frozen people, but sometimes life surprises you.
By Gian Volpicelli|MOTHERBOARD
Earlier this month I received a Facebook invitation from an immortalist church in Florida: it was going to hold a ritual called Remembrance of the Resurrectables, a ceremony to commemorate those who had decided to have their bodies frozen—cryopreserved is the proper term—after their demise, in hopes that technology would at some point allow them to be reawoken.
Over live stream, the liturgy looked like a hybrid between a small church service and a lackluster business event. The officiator uttered a short but inspiring sermon about his conversion to immortalism. Then Bill Faloon—the founder of the church and a much more managerial speaker—took the floor to give a presentation about the history of cryonics, using many PowerPoint slides in the process. The churchgoers rose and lit candles to pay tribute to those who had been brave enough to bet against death’s victory.
Loudspeakers pumped out songs like Alphaville’s Forever Young. A screen showed pictures, names, and facts about people who had been cryopreserved (information about the cryonites’ “first life cycles” was the preacher’s wording). Finally, the officiator thanked everybody, including three cryonics companies who were involved in the event, and said goodbye.
To be honest, the PowerPoint killed any real smidgen of solemnity. It’s a shame, since the Remembrance of the Resurrectables is one of the few actual rituals of the recently-born Church of Perpetual Life. Established last year in Hollywood, Florida, the church offers a spiritual and religious take on the quest for radical life extension, interpreting the Silicon Valley-led attempts to crack ageing as ways to transform Earth into Eden.