Biohacking, Transhumanism, and Redefining the Meaning of Mental & Physical Health
The human journey towards improving themselves and their lifestyle has always been on a roller coaster. Ever since man is born, he is trying to do whatever it takes to improve himself. If you look back in history, the earliest humans use to live in Jungles, wear leaves, and hunt animals to eat. There was no concept of the present world we live in. Then how things came into being? How has the world changed from a jungle to a global hub? Well, all this is due to human efforts towards improvement.
This unstoppable path towards improvement has proven to be beneficial for humans mostly. They’ve created many facilities for themselves and life has become so easy nowadays. Especially, the advent of modern technology has pacified our lives to a great extent. We have a machine for almost everything. The world is at just one right click and whatnot! However, the human thirst for improvement is not satisfied yet and this time they’re thinking of something that can be both advantageous and equally dangerous!
You’ll get to know in the latter part of the essay what we are talking about.
Transhumanism is a social movement that was carried out to promote the idea of research for developing stronger technologies for human enhancement. These technologies are thought to elevate;
- Human sensory reception
- Cognitive capacity
- General well being
- Emotive ability
Yes, you read it right. The transhumanism movement says that humans should be allowed to do whatever it takes to enhance their life even if it demands the integration of biological and physical technologies into the human body.
The principal supporters of the movement have been Rayy Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, Eric Drexler, James Hughes, and Nick Bostrom. All of them are either computer technologists, nanotechnologists, or philosophers from America. Transhumanism is primarily divided into supporters of two post-humanity visions:
- One in which technological and genetic advancements have resulted in a distinct species of radically enhanced humans.
- The other emerges with greater-than-human machine intelligence.
This movement has encouraged people to carry out procedures to enhance their human abilities. They are redefining the concept of mental and physical well-being. The prominent result of which is Biohacking; the DIY biology which is beneficial and equally dangerous as mentioned above!
Biohacking is a very broad and unstructured term covering a wide range of activities like experimenting with yeast and other living beings, tracking your sleeping and eating pattern, changing your biological features, fighting to age, and what not!
Do you know scientists are pumping the blood of a younger individual in an older adult with a hope to fight to age? Yes, it is a proper technique called young blood transfusion and it is a gift of Biohacking!
People who are practicing Biohacking are called biohackers. They attempt to manipulate their bodies and brain for optimizing their physical and mental performance. According to these people, Biohacking is an art that involves the use of science and technology to modify both the external and internal environment. Biohackers believe that humans have full control over their own body and as long as they are not harming somebody or something else, they are right to change their biology. Many biohackers have stem cells injected into their body, they take dozens of self-formulated supplements, bathe in the infrared light, etc. And most of them do so to live a longer life without any health adversities. This is one of the major aims behind Biohacking that people want a better and longer life. They don’t want to fall sick and die.
Biohackers not only use technology but some of their techniques have been practiced for centuries. For example, intermittent fasting, Vipassana meditation, and ice bathing in the morning are a few of them. Supplements, another tool for biohackers, have an older history. However, the difference here is that supplements of the biohackers are self-formulated having smart drugs in them.
Some other Biohacking practices include;
- Near-infrared saunas
- Virtual float tanks
- Computer chips insertion
The first one is where the biohackers make him/herself cold purposely. The second one is a training of oneself for regulating brain waves and infrared saunas are supposed to escape the stress from EM transmissions. Finally, virtual float tanks help with meditation via sensory deprivation and computer chips do more than you can even imagine! Chips implanted in the bodies can help individuals to do everything like opening doors without a fob, monitoring their level of glucose, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.
Why are people Biohacking?
The basic reason behind people practicing such techniques is their desire to feel better. They don’t want to get sick and live longer. Some people want to become smart and strong. Some want enhanced cognitive abilities, some want better looks. Human goals towards betterment are always escalating which pushes them to do such stuff.
The expected outcomes of Biohacking include;
- Human bodies will be augmented with stronger and sharper skills.
- The human thought process will be faster and transferable
- Human productivity will increase due to gamification
- Business practices will shift noticeably
Is it legal?
The present laws don’t address Biohacking particularly. Regulations issued by FDA don’t state Biohacking as an illegal procedure but many allegations have been put forward according to which humans shall not be freely allowed to do whatever they want because this could be dangerous for the world. One strong stance in this regard is that since Biohacking is expensive, only a specific class can afford it. And they will try their best to inculcate elevated features then isn’t it injustice with people who can’t afford it. So, the technique is not stated fully legal or illegal yet and authorities are still working on this matter. However, regulations must be issued as soon as possible so that people know their limits!
After receiving his undergraduate degree in psychology, Scott went on to work as a teacher and educational counselor while working towards his master’s degree. He has spent several years working with children and adults and has personal experience with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Dyslexia, and Depression.