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Dying Outside

Hi, Hal.

Thanks so much for posting this. It was moving and inspirational.

I don't know if you'll remember me, but I was Alcor's Membership Administrator at the time that you signed up, and I met you when I came to your home and helped you complete the paperwork. I could tell that you were a warm, thoughful, and intelligent man.

I have since read some of your writing on the Internet. The old Extropians list, for example. Clearly like many of the folks involved with this blog and previous efforts, you devote a lot of your time to earnestly thinking.

When I think about Stephen Hawking and all of his success despite coping with ALS, and when I consider your outlook facing it anew, I can't help but wonder if there is a strong correlation between self-image and survival. That is to say, when you (and he) are faced with the prospect of losing control of most of your body, you don't think of it as the end. If you can still think, and communicate, you imagine a potentially good life. I bet that's not very common.

I feel the same way. Though I love the things my body can do, I think of myself as primarily a mind first, and a body second. As long as my mind is working, and I'm not in great pain, I hope I will want to carry on, and I hope my family will feel the same.

Best wishes to you and to your family.

Derek Ryan