The Middle-Aged Genius’s Guide to Almost Everything 18 – Shirt Off, Gut Sore, Coping, and Cow Heaven
September 22, 2018
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You have been having panic issues and working out excessively as a result. How do you cope with it? What is the reason for it?
Rick Rosner: One reason is I am shirtless at 58 with the Lance series, which is an excuse to work out like crazy. Also, I have this thing going on with my gut. I have trouble digesting carbohydrates, which means it is hard for me to get enough calories.
It means I am tending towards low body fat anyways. It all works together anyway. Perhaps behind this, there is an existential angst. Middle-age is when a lot of people deal with parents who have serious health issues, more so now than in previous generations.
I am 58. I still have my mom and dad. With more parents living into their 80s and 90s, you have more middle-aged people who are confronting their parents’ health issues when they themselves are getting health issues.
This is compared to previous generations who, perhaps, were more likely to lose their parents early. I had two dads, a dad and a stepdad, until I was almost 46. I still have my real dad.
My stepdad fought thyroid cancer for 25 years. It is probably not much of a coincidence that I went from taking 5 multivitamins a day or supplements per day to like 70 vitamins and supplements per day.
Going from 12% body fat to under 10%, just getting more fanatical about working out, I am sure that was, at least, partially a reaction to my stepdad’s mortality. Now, my real dad is facing real health issues.
He moved into assisted living a few months ago, which is not coincidentally that time I started working out doing at least 200 sets per day at various gyms. For the last two years, I have worked out no fewer than 5 times per day. For the past 160 or so days, I have done 200 sets a day.
They are not sets to exhaustion where you do 30 reps. A lot of them are dumb 2 or 3 reps per set. Today, I did 411 sets. It is pure nuttiness. But I am here in Albuquerque visiting my dad.
I am sure my panic about mortality is woven into my gym behaviour, even though all the gym behaviour in the world… the most dedicated guy in the world, Jack Lalanne, he would tow boats around Santa Monica Bay with his teeth.
Rosner: He was one of the fittest guys over his entire life. It didn’t get him to 100, maybe 96.
Jacobsen: How many years do you think he added to his life by doing that?
Rosner: It is hard to know what an undedicated Jack LaLanne would do, but, I guess, you could compare him to everyone born the same year he was born – every guy. If you did that, you would probably get at least 25 extra years.
Given the technology that is going to come online over the next 30 years, between me at 58 and me at 88 – depending on how lucky I am – I could get a bunch of bonus years, more than Jack LaLanne could get because there will be more technology.
That is one reason. One is pure, raw OCD. I am in not in charge of my behaviour. My compulsions are in charge. Part of it, it is trying to live all these extra years, 20 years from now when all the medicines will be personalized to your genetic profile and the genetic profile of the disease you have.
Jimmy Carter was as good as dead, but he is not anymore because of targeted gene therapy. They killed it with targeted gene therapy. They found the right medicine that would attack the genetic profile of this particular flavour of a brain tumour.
They eradicated it. He seems to be okay. By 20 years from now, more than 90% of all cancers will be fightable using very specific therapies. Anyway, that is about it.
Jacobsen: Some people adhere to a philosophy of afterlife or a hereafter. This comes in many religious systems, not all but many. These seem to reduce anxiety through the provision of certainty; this life amounts to a small interlude to an eternity of either goodness or badness of experiences.
Does your view of the world provide any room for that?
Rosner: Yes and no. A lot of the jobs that God does in the world are hard to believe in anymore, as science advances. You have talked about the God of the Gaps. That magic can exist in parts of existence unexplained by parts of science. But those parts get smaller.
Jacobsen: In a way, those gaps get smaller and more numerous as they become more filled. Same with the transitional fossil arguments.
Rosner: There are gaps, but they are less awesome. There is less magic to them. The magic gets squeezed out as science takes over. There might be some ridiculous technology performing or doing some of the jobs that God was formerly responsible for, including some form of resurrection.
I think it will become possible to technologically resurrect people with increasing fidelity as time goes on, 20/30/40 years from now. The Mormons are famous for making sure everyone gets to the afterlife, whether Mormon or not.
I am not completely hip as to how it works. But if the Mormons know about you, and your ancestry, somehow, that helps you get a place in the afterlife. It could be that at some point in the future there is a religion.
Some new form of Mormonism or something else altogether that not only tries to get people into the afterlife via ancestry but tries to give people technological afterlives by taking everything known about them: everything said, all the video left behind, and all the genetics left behind, and then rebuilding them.
That seems like a fine religion for the first half of the 21st century: the technological resurrectionists. Those who say we can bring people back to life if we have the technology to do it. The first people to do it will be the rich people, who will want to be scanned.
This will be available to more and more people in the same way running somebody’s genome went from costing $100,000 to $30 in less than 20 years. Once it becomes cheap to technologically resurrect everyone living in the second half of the 21st century or the first half of the 22nd century, people may strive to start resurrecting people who died decades ago, but still left a lot of information behind.
Then, maybe, there may be enough about Lincoln, where you can start to resurrect historical figures – people from history. Less known people from history, there may be some technologically enhanced religions; some religion that works intimately with technology to extend the footprint of people who can be brought back.
I think that is a real possibility. But there is an alternate possibility; that the world moves on from people. “What’s up with bringing back sad humans with their sad brains, especially since we’re these things with the super augmented brains?”
There is a counter-counter argument to that. “It is so cheap to resurrect people.” They may go ahead and do it. The resurrected folks may not have a big part in the cutting-edge world of augmented AI super beings, but they still might get their little virtual realities that might be so cheap to create for resurrected people of the future. That we simply go ahead and do it.
I mentioned before. Maybe, we figure out a way to resurrect every cow that has ever existed, roughly, so we do not have to worry about the horrible things that we have done to cows. Every cow consciousness that can possibly be, within reason, gets to live in some resurrected cow heaven.
That seems unlikely.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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