The Day You Discard Your Body Chapter 5 – Saving Christopher Reeve, and you

by Marshall Brain

In the preceeding chapters we have discussed a number of reasons for you to discard your body. The list includes everything from accidental death to body odor.

For example, we discussed the plight of Christopher Reeve. Each year in the United States about 5,000 people become quadriplegics like Christopher Reeve did. They suffer from accidents and diseases that damage their spinal cords, and in the process their bodies become useless. If Christopher Reeve had had some way to remove his living brain from his dying and useless body, he would still be with us today.

5,000 is a large number, and saving quadriplegics from their imprisonment is obviously important. However, that number is only the tip of the iceberg. The number of people dying from disease every year is immense.

For example, every year in the United States, nearly 500,000 people die from various forms of cancer.

Every year in the United States, approximately 450,000 people die from heart disease.

 photo by Winthrop Brookhouse

Right there we are looking at nearly a million people per year — just in the United States — whose bodies die prematurely. Given a chance, they would happily discard their bodies so that their brains can live on. They have a direct incentive to free their brains and to do so as quickly as possible. If we had the technology to save them, most of these people would leap at the opportunity. With a million people per year who would gladly discard their bodies, you already have a huge community.

But where would this community live? What would they do? And what about you? Chances are that you are inhabiting a relatively healthy body, and you may be wondering what would cause you to discard it.

The answer to these questions lies in two technologies: video games and Vertebrane.

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