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Future Imperative

What if technology were being developed that could enhance your mind or body to extraordinary or even superhuman levels -- and some of these tools were already here? Wouldn't you be curious?

Actually, some are here. But human enhancement is an incredibly broad and compartmentalized field. We’re often unaware of what’s right next door. This site reviews resources and ideas from across the field and makes it easy for readers to find exactly the information they're most interested in.

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The future is coming fast, and it's no longer possible to ignore how rapidly the world is changing. As the old order changes -- or more frequently crumbles altogether -- I offer a perspective on how we can transform ourselves in turn... for the better. Nothing on this site is intended as legal, financial or medical advice. Indeed, much of what I discuss amounts to possibilities rather than certainties, in an ever-changing present and an ever-uncertain future.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

And About that "Your Health in General" Thing... -- Bio, Mind, Plan, Self

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Normally this blog is more focused on ways of enhancing human abilities rather than discussing problems that undermine our health. But here's an interesting article called "Long-Term Stress May Shrink the Brain" which should be on interest to anyone bent on maximizing their biological capabilities. In essence, being tense for extended periods is considered Bad for Your Brain.

Lest anyone think I'm touting this as a Great Revelation -- "Oh my gosh, it turns out hypertension is bad for you" -- don't worry, I haven't been hiding under a rock for the last 30 years. However, I think the "obvious issue" of stress is one of those basics that it's worth bringing up every now and then.

For those new to the human enhancement field, let's summarize these basics a bit. Almost everyone who has studied optimal human performance seems to agree that there are some elements you want to get right if you wish to be at your best. Minimal ongoing, unrelieved stress; regular cardio-vascular exercise; a healthy diet (yes, everyone is still arguing about the details -- in the meantime, try not to live on pork rinds or cook with lard); pushing your mind to handle new tasks and absorb and use new information; etc.

In short, there's some fundamentals of healthy living that you'll want to adopt if you're serious about achieving your ultimate potential -- "couch potatoes" need not apply. But isn't this obvious? Why bring it up at all?

Because apparently one of the most potent self-enhancement strategies available to us today is what I like to call the effortless exercise. In essence, these are all the little things and big things you can do to enhance your abilities (e.g. your intelligence, or your health) with little to no effort.

Hence, you can, in theory, swap out that overly caffeinated soft drink for some iced green tea loaded with nootropic nutrients, listen to a soothing soundtrack with overlaid brainwave-driving tones to shift you into a more productive, less stressed state of mind, slip on a cranial electro-stimulation (CES) device to do the same thing, or simply shift into simple, calming breathing patterns to get into your best possible mindset. Or any of a dozen other things, most of which can be done more or less simultaneously.

I'll go into some of these "effortless exercise" options in later posts, as well as discuss specific tools often employed to reduce ongoing stress.

But why is all of this so powerful? Simple. Arguably the biggest hindrance to the human development field is that no one does the exercises, or follows the programs, or uses the techniques or technologies, no matter how simple they may be. What "effortless exercises" offer us are small changes we can make in our lives, new habits we could take up, which would cause us to be honing rather than eroding our potential all the time. As just another, unconscious aspect of our daily living.

Imagine. Something important you can get done without killing yourself. Indeed, while barely exerting yourself. Now that's revolutionary. =)


Future Imperative

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