- October 16, 2020
What if you could be the best version of yourself? You could focus for long periods on an important task, meet your social and professional obligations at the same time, or just be… better.
By the end of the decade, depression will end the lives of more young people than any disease that attacks the body. Loneliness will be the pandemic and addictions to our digital lives will be the thing we always talk about. In light of this, some people are already coming up with ways to hack their minds and bodies (often their already healthy minds and bodies) to achieve peak performance. The Nobel Prize in Biology just went to two scientists for their work in gene editing.
For example, there are some people – some of them with prestigious, high stakes jobs — who are using LSD to boost their performance at work. Microdosing involves taking small doses of LSD — far less than you would use to have a full-on hallucinatory trip — to boost productivity and focus. There is a risk of developing psychosis but apparently for these people it works.
But there is also a legal, relatively safe drug that has been proven to make athletes perform better. It can also make you more alert and focused, and there is a pretty good chance some of it is already in your system right now.
If you have not guessed yet — it is caffeine. The benign sachets in your cupboard contains a drug that makes athletes faster and stronger. I use it every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. The people I work with make jokes about the unbelievable amount of coffee I consume when I am writing. The caffeine and sugar keep me awake and alert. They help me bring out the best version of myself I can be.
Transhumanisim is the movement to make people better with drugs. Transhumanists believe that human lives can be made better, even super, with things like smart drugs and gene editing. Overcoming fundamental human limitations is their main focus. The three main strands are:
- Super longevity or the ability to age without the weakening of body and mind. They say the first person to live past 200 has already been born. Transhumanists want that person to be alert and nimble when they get to their third century.
- Superintelligence which involves everything from understanding difficult concepts in hours instead of weeks to improving your memory to the point that it defies normal human experience.
- Super happiness is just that. As a species, we are defined by our pursuit of happiness and it is ever elusive. Transhumanists believe that you can reach great and unknown levels of happiness with the right cocktail of treatments.
It is a seductive proposal. Quit the gym and spend 15 minutes in a contraption that hit your muscles just right and kept you fit. Instead of gritting your teeth and working through exhaustion and anxiety, you could just not. Learn calculus. Understand Shakespeare. Ace every interview. Wake up well-rested and motivated to start the day, every day.
We are talking about performance-enhancing drugs for the average person. You and I. The only question is, just how far would you go to become the best possible version of yourself?
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