By Daichi Sasaki
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following text has been edited from a machine translation. I have tried to be as faithful to the original as possible. The title is mine – MD
I came to visit the United States, and specifically to visit California, earlier this year. Before my visit I wrote to Mike Darwin and to some others in cryonics to learn where the underground facility was where the Cryonics Society of California (CSC) cryonics patients were found decomposed in 1979. No one could tell me where to find the facility. I went to Oakwood Cemetery in Chatsworth, and inquired of the management as to where the facility had been located. The cemetery management was not of any help and they informed me that, unless I had relatives interred there, I would have to leave the premises.
I returned to the cemetery the next day, this time on foot (without a driver) and spent the day from the time the cemetery opened until nearly sunset looking for the place where the CSC facility had been, but I was unable to find any trace of it. There is nothing there to show where the CSC patients were lost. There is nothing to memorialize their attempt to survive via cryonics. There is nothing to commemorate them, either as individuals, or as tragic reminders to others in cryonics.
Mike Darwin writes about the importance of memory and not forgetting the history of cryonics. He says that lessons from the past must be learned and not forgotten. My point here is that people need help to do this; they cannot do it unaided. They need instructions on how to remember and constant reminders which are enduring.
After much effort, I finally found out where the CSC facility was. I went back to Oakwood Cemetery and there is nothing on that spot – just a bend in the road and grass. This made me very angry and I said to myself, “What is the matter with the cryonicists in the United States that they have no hearts and no sorrow about what happened in this place? How can you remember your history if you never knew it in the first place? How can you learn what you have already forgotten?” This makes me very sad.
Mike Darwin says it must be remembered, but he does not say how to remember it.
When I returned home I continued to think about that unmarked place in Oakwood Cemetery where those cryonics patients were abandoned, and where they lost their lives forever, and I began to make a plan to remember them. I went to Chatsworth to remember and to honor them, and I could not even find the place where they lost their chance at continued life. There must be marker there. There must be a tool to make us remember. So, I have devised a tool for keeping memory alive and for making cryonicists learn this lesson from the past.
My proposal is for a memorial on the spot where the CSC facility is now buried. This tool for remembering will be buried in the earth and it will be unknown and unseen, except by people who know where to look for it. The memorial is level with the earth and buried in it just as were (and are) the CSC cryonics patients. It is sunken in earth and forgotten as they now are, and will forever be, without this tool.
The memorial is an inverted decagonal pyramid placed into earth above vault. Each side of the pyramid is in memory of one of the cryonics patients lost at there. The top opening of the decagon has a surface area of 1.61803399 meters (the Golden Mean) and bottom has a surface area of 0 meters. This makes a catch-basin in which leaves, grass clippings, insects and all other matter, dead and alive, will be trapped and remain. The catch-basin will fill up to the top and become invisible and lost. The names and faces of the lost cryonics patients that are engraved on each facet of the dodecagon will be covered with dead matter and soil.
To stop this from happening, every person who is a true cryonicist must do as I did and go to the Oakwood Cemetery in Chatsworth one time before they too are cryopreserved. They must reach past the metal grate covering the opening in the memorial and remove the dead matter in the catch basin. They must do this to preserve the memory of and to learn the lesson that the mistake at Chatsworth has to teach. They must do this because to be a cryonicist is to have a duty to remember and a duty to learn from past mistakes. It is also required that all cryonicists honor the patients lost at Chatsworth, because in becoming a cryonicist, each person accepts some of the responsibility for the loss of the patients at Chatsworth. Becoming a cryonicist means accepting some responsibility for that terrible mistake and in that way the forgetting is hard. Only if such a terrible lesson is costly and unpleasant will the memory, and the lesson to be learned from it, endure.
Each cryonicist keeps the accumulating debris in the memorial from erasing the memory of the patients who were lost there. It is a task that is unending – and that is as it should be. If we forget those patients we will have forgotten ourselves and we will surely make the same mistake again (or others will make it on us). We must never forget!
* Hamlet: Act 3, Scene 1: In your prayers be all my sins remembered, or remember my sins in your prayers to God, so that I may be forgiven them.