I wasn’t looking to watch a movie that was related to Halloween when I decided to watch the documentary Hope Frozen: A Quest to Live Twice. However, as the documentary continued, I realized how related it is to the month of October.
This documentary follows the journey of a Thai family that has a dying daughter. It goes from her birth to her eventual death. Or, is it her death? At the age of 2, they find she has incurable brain cancer and try everything possible to cure it, but nothing works. The father is a well known cancer scientist in Thailand and even does his own research. The son/brother is also very into science and is determined to take up his father’s legacy. They call themselves a science family.
They believe in logic, facts, and technology. This has led them to make the decision to freeze their daughter’s head in order to preserve her for future technology of reviving her and curing her brain cancer. This caused quite the media stir all over the world. Specifically in Asia, many of the spiritual people were questioning this decision in regards to her soul, the afterlife, and reincarnation.
During this time, a scientist in the United States managed to successfully unfreeze and reactivate a rabbit’s brain. The son goes off to visit with the scientist and ask some questions. After their time, he starts questioning the situation with his sister- if all of this is worth it. At the end, the family is still determined that their daughter/sister will live again, hoping it is in their lifetime, but knowing it will be at least 100 years in the future.
The Science of Cryo
The documentary goes into depth about the freezing of human bodies. A company in Arizona freezes complete bodies for $200k and heads at $80k. It isn’t clear till near the end that the daughter has her head frozen and the rest of her body is cremated. The company tells the family about the procedure and how they have to inject cryo within seconds of the heart stopping. For the family, they were already on stand by when the girl died and so everything was ready in the room for when the doctor officially pronounced her dead. This prevents as little dehydration as possible to the brain and as the blood drains, cryo fills it. The remains are then kept in capsules where it is always around -200 degrees Celsius. The company and scientists make it clear that the technology to unfreeze and revive the deceased has not been achieved.
Freezing the head made me think of Frankenstein. This classic Halloween story is of Doctor Frankenstein who creates his “monster,” a man made out of spare body parts where you can see the stitches. The father makes a comment that even if there is technology to reawaken the remains, they will also have to make a body for his daughter. The one scientist says that even if they get the technology to restart the brain, there is no guarantee that memories will return. This also reminds me of Frankenstein’s monster, who is like a child in the world, not knowing how society works.
One other possibility that scientists are playing with is uploading the consciousness into a virtual world before bringing the person back into reality. This could be to help the person transition from their past life to the future (or the present for them). This reminded me of Black Mirror, a show that features, in most cases, problems with technology in the future. Would it be possible to be trapped in this virtual world? Or would it be joyous?
To Live Forever or Not
The documentary definitely gives viewers the question: would you want to be frozen to be reawakened in the future? Would you want to keep living forever if possible? This would potentially mean not remembering anything you did before and not remembering loved ones. This also leads into the question, you might be considered an outsider in that future society and might not be accepted. Are you fine with that? If you are reawakened with memories, but you have a different body, how will that affect you? The documentary discusses the possibility of 3D printing bodies, which isn’t too out of the realm of possibilities since many things are being printed and used every day. Needless, for the many of us, we don’t have the money lying around to prepay for this. But, if you did, would you?
While we ponder these questions, these possibilities, Happy Halloween!
This article was written by a guest contributor
Marinella hails from her travel blog My Open Passport. She is a big fan of film, which was her second degree after Marketing in university. She is a lover of all genres, but tends to get drawn to documentaries, drama, action, and foreign films/series, as she also speaks Spanish and French.
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