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If you’ve been following the 2020 election for the past year you will have seen strange political rhetoric. It isn’t about corruption, talent, charisma or any policies. The rhetoric has been mostly about Biden’s age, Trump’s energy and whether they are both on a variety of drugs to keep up their performance as aging men in their mid to late 70s.
This type of conversation would have been impossible in previous eras because we did not have access to refined drugs like adderall, vyvanse, or ritalin. Who knows what else people are on right now. The amount of people on adderall and amphetamines in the white collar and student world is incredible. Most work is not interesting and the only way to get obsessed about it is to do drugs to put you in the obsessive zone.
Performance enhancement may be illegal in sports, but it’s legal in the real world. And it is changing how our world works, and who wins.
An underrated Trump-Biden story line is the battle between anti-aging techniques
Trump's classic illusions: 3 hours of makeup every day to remain eternally 50 years old, Tanning, lighting, always wears a slimming suit, always seen with a beautiful woman next to him.
Biden's embrace of new technology: Face lift, botox, Vyvanse, teeth whitening, stem cell injections, Metformin, Testosterone, blood transfusions, vitamin B12 shots
People Age Differently
People age differently now than when I was a young person growing up or even in pictures of generations in previous times you stumble across. There could be a variety of reasons: youth culture, better nutrition for some, exercise, cocktails of anti-aging drugs and surgeries. But generally speaking, most modern middle class to upper class people don't want to accept aging and being old like so many before them.
Sure, you have people who eat terribly, are obese, don’t exercise and are ready for the grave at 45. But there’s another class who is obsessed with not aging. We’re going to talk about this rapidly expanding group in this Newsletter.
A Short History of Aging
We are the first society in which being an elder is not indicative of superior fitness.
We are also one of the very few societies in which being an elder does not bring a higher social status. There is the idea that genetic fitness was the norm for aging people. No longer.
What is Transhumanism?
Transhumanists believe human beings are essentially sparks of consciousness, which can escape mortality by detaching themselves from the decaying flesh or rejuvenating the flesh in which they happen to be embodied. Transhumanists argue that technologies not available to previous humans but available to our present or future will be able to transform the human to live hundreds of years, or quite possibly allow the mind to be uploaded into cyberspace. There are different strains of transhumanist thought, some emphasize technological union with the body, others focus on more on therapies and chemicals to prolonging life indefinitely. It’s mans ultimate fight with the natural world.
At bottom, the transhumanist movement is a modern variant of the dream of transcending contingency that possessed mystics in the ancient times. Gnostics longed to be absorbed in a timeless Absolute, a refuge from the ugly conflicts of the human world. They understood that this refuge could be entered only if they shed their individuality, and practiced asceticism and contemplation in an effort to erase their personal identities and desires. Contemporary transhumanists, however, imagine they can become immortal on terms of their own choosing. Indeed, since we live in a post religious world now, they will become gods themselves. Transhumanism is a contemporary version of a modern project of human self-deification.
The scenario painted by most transhumanists is that using bioengineering and artificial intelligence, the human species will enhance its physical and mental capacities far beyond their natural limits.
Like the evolutionary process that produced the human species, post-human evolution will be a process of drift. If superhuman post-human species appear, they will be created by governments and powerful corporations, then used by any group that can get its hands on them - criminal cartels, terrorist network, religious culture and so on. Over time, these new species will be modified and redesigned - first by their human controllers, then by the new species themselves. There will be as many types of post-humans as there are human groups interested in fashioning them.
Is there a precedent for this situation?
The Distant Past and the Distant Future
Humans being "alone" in this world is a very recent phenomenon. only 30-40 thousand years old. We lived in an environment with many hominids for million of years. Neanderthal and Denisovans only died out about 32,000 years ago. That is not a long time. The first cities we have records of, Uruk and Ur are 6,000 years old. We know Çatalhöyük is 10,000 years old. This is not a long time considering the timespan we are dealing with.
We will return to this world....Lindy predicts it.
Living with Hominids
Living with all of these different hominid phenotypes is probably where our Uncanny valley phenomenon comes from. Have you ever encountered a lifelike humanoid robot or a realistic computer-generated face that seem a bit off or unsettling, though you can’t quite explain why?
The uncanny valley is a concept first introduced in the 1970s by Masahiro Mori, then a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Mori coined the term “uncanny valley” to describe his observation that as robots appear more humanlike, they become more appealing—but only up to a certain point. Upon reaching the uncanny valley, our affinity descends into a feeling of strangeness, a sense of unease, and a tendency to be scared or freaked out. So the uncanny valley can be defined as people’s negative reaction to certain lifelike robots.
Some of these hominids may became a template for future bio-engineering templates.
The specimen from the Meganthropus was unusual for having a double temporal ridge (sagittal crest), which almost meets at the top of the cranium, and a heavily thickened nuchal ridge. So it was basically an 8ft human crocodile, with a bite force exceeding any other hominin we’re aware of.
Let’s just think for a minute about what a 68ft hominin with a fairly large brain, possibly erectus-derived, with stone tools, that fought its way to Java from AfrAsia would have been doing with those insane crocodile jaws.
We kind of take for granted that we homo-sapiens have decided to create cities and towns where they are is only species of hominid (Us). We even got rid of the big dangerous animals.
But the world wasn’t always like that, and it won’t be.
The real origin of the Transhumanism movement can be traced back to the bodybuilding era of the early 70s, with the likes of Schwarzenegger. They pumped themselves with tons of steroids and chemicals trying to achieve an other worldly look. Later on, these types, including people like Stallone and other big Hollywood stars are trying their best to live as long as possible using any means available.
It's interesting watching stallone, Schwarzenegger, vince McMahon age. This is the first generation of transhumanist bodybuilders who not only want to live a long time but also look strong and healthy. So far mid 70s. Tons of hormones, stem cell stuff, who knows what else. Right now they are the canaries in the coal mine. We will see how effective hormones, stem cells, etc is
Joe Rogan’s podcast is probably the most popular show in America. I remember listening to the second episode. I don’t listen much to his show anymore. But there is a clear narrative that is always in the background and that is Joe is an extremely succesful man, who does not want to die. His interest in pop science is driven by the fact he does not want to age like regular people age and he wants to stay a functional athlete forever. This subtext is rarely discussed, but it is the basis for the entire show.
He’s not alone. There’s an entire generation of successful people who don’t want to age.
The Near Future?
The near future may prove to be more entertaining than the distant future, which is probably already known. How we get there? That’ll be funny. Many off-target effects from using CRISPR or various crazy cocktails and medicines or Artificial Intelligence implants.