An inquiry into how the practice of Cryonics effects and shapes understandings of identity, body and death, in postmodern Christianity.
The practice of cryonics could only flourish in the postmodern era, a time peppered by society's growing emphasis on body and identity. Western culture has progressed to a denial of age and as a symbiotic result, death. This essay will particularly utilise the work and ideology of Zygmunt Bauman, Anthony Giddens, David Ray Griffin and Mark C. Taylor among others. Attempting to show that our changing relationship with death, promoted by cryonics, is a reaction to our time and cultural conditioning, as Bauman argued our society no longer provides a reliable frame of reference . We are left to carve out our own identities without any sense of community, and the shared identity that a community can make possible, to help us negotiate socially acceptable behaviour. Death today has become a threat to our sense of rationality and undermines the control we desire to have over our bodies, souls and identities. Arguments presented by this essay regarding the changing understandings of body, death and identity need to be considered from both a theological and sociological perspective. Human identity itself, and the means of grasping and expressing our knowledge of the human, the episteme, is not possessed by any one discipline or field of knowledge precisely because of the evolutionary differentiation and changing basic configurations of the disciplines in the absence of overarching means of integration. This is a convincing argument that encapsulates the reasons and necessity of combining these two methods of thinking, which becomes especially pertinent when exploring existential concepts. Understandings of identity, body and death and the disciplines we use to examine such ideas evolve with time and in the absence of a universal discipline that encompasses all such idiosyncrasies it is necessary to combine several.