Biohacking Bullshit

I’m seeing more articles about “biohacking” by rich dudes. One subset seems to be looking for immortality, or at the very least to extend their lives or mitigate the effects of ageing.

It strikes me as the archetypical problem of a beautiful woman trying to keep their looks as they get older. All of us go through it, this diminishment. I suppose it’s even harder when you were exceptionally beautiful, athletic, perhaps even smart, and you start to lose it, or even have to acknowledge that you could lose it, as part of the ageing process.

Something about this makes me sad, that pretending life or a particular attribute doesn’t end in some ways robs us of the perspective of transience, a perspective that endows every life with value because it is of a time and unique.

There’s another subset that in looking to optimize their lives. Tools for Titans by Timothy Ferriss is an excellent example of this tendency. It reminds me of a Donald Knuth quote:

“[P]remature optimization is the root of all evil.”

We don’t know enough to optimize human life. We can get some broad strokes, such as it is a good idea to exercise and eat a lot of vegetables. But, getting down deeper? How many minutes of exercise or cups of broccoli? We simply don’t know enough.

No matter the motivation, experiments like taking hundreds of supplements, injecting stem cells into joints, anti-ageing blood transfusions, etc., strikes me as an excellent way to have bad unintended consequences that shorten lives rather than lengthen them.

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