28 July 2012

Severed Head Immortality

Can a severed head achieve an immortality that is denied the rest of the body? It depends. On the one hand, we have Alcor, the cryonics group that will freeze your severed head until a hypothetical time when it can be safely unfrozen, all frost-damage repaired.

And then there is another type of "immortality" -- when one lives on, inside the memories of surviving loved ones. Photos, videos, and other mementos can help. A realistic and expressive head replica might provide a particularly striking sense of persistence to those who are left behind. This is the type of urge-to-immortality which commemorative urn company Cremation Solutions is playing to.

An American company called Cremation Solutions is offering commemorative urns shaped like the severed heads of deceased loved ones.

The Vemont-based company, which specialises in memorial events and cremation products, has made the containers using 3D imaging techniques that combine a number of different photographs. The full-sized urn is around 28cm high, and can hold the ashes of an adult. There is also a smaller 15cm "keepsake" option that fits just a portion of the ashes.

The Vermont-based company informs customers on its website that the urn does not come with hair although it can be digitally added or wigs can be used. It writes: "Personal urns can be designed to look like anyone. We just need good pictures. We prefer one picture from the front and one from the side. Complexions can be adjusted in the final stages and customers get a chance to proof the results."

Prices range from $600 (£389) for the smaller cremation urn to $2,600 (£679) for a larger one. Bizarrely, the company illustrates the service with an urn made in the shape of President Barack Obama's head, explaining that you can also have the urn designed in the image of your hero. _Wired

Barack Obama as hero? There's a thought.

Imagine an animatronic talking head urn, programmed with the personality of a person, available for either a quick consultation, or a long heart to heart purging? With the coming wonders of artificial intelligence, computer vision, robotic emotions etc., the possibilities are virtually endless -- if not particularly comforting.

Science fiction is divided on the topic of severed head immortality -- on the one hand we have stories of disembodied heads and brains which live on in a jar, artificially perfused in perpetutity. On the other hand, we have the natural immortals of Highlander fame, who stay alive only as long as their heads are not severed. And of course there are the cinematic undead of many varieties, who can only be killed by decapitation or obliteration of the head.

Either attached or detached, the head occupies a place of singular importance.

So what should you do with your head? No one else can tell you that. Not Hollywood, not science, not government, not the media, not the academy. You must make that determination yourself.


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Blogger Unknown said...

Oh dear. Imagine the implications of voluntarily having one's head severed when young and relatively good looking and having it thawed (hopefully), revived (hopefully) and restored (hopefully) to a transplanted body at some indeterminate time in the future (hopefully). Imagine also the security required to ensure the severed head is maintained in its perfect frozen state until such time as the thawing, reviving, restoring and reattaching capability is achieved (if ever). Is anyone that indispensable?

Saturday, 28 July, 2012  
Blogger carl can said...

Sounds very interesting! I will check this out! cremation in atlanta

Wednesday, 01 August, 2012  

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