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Bodyhacking the Ego

Bodyhacking is a fad for those who know that the best duct tape solution to technical problems is to turn it off and on again. This virus is particularly well adapted at targeting the Valley audience—whether they be living on those self-serving pastures, or tuned in from another time zone. Makes sense. It’s in their DNA. An unreflective drive to technologize the world. Make it “fitter, happier, more productive.” And themselves along with it.

I had the pleasure of reading a chatty pompous article detailing all the code you can manipulate in your own body. All you need to know is a little HTML, and have money in the bank. The elite hacker perfectly epitomizes a stereotypical ethos that proves life is more entertaining than fiction. Did you know that the emoji keyboard his company is developing will help create a platform for the singularity? “God is dead; let’s make God instead.” Is real life a JRPG or is JRPG real life? “The rest of you schmucks will be cattle for our synthetic burgers.” He rambles on and on, gloating about his sexual conquest screwing agency-approved eastern European models. I’m sure he’s a real charmer.

Then, there’s the drugs: MDMA, Microdosing, antidepressants, SSRI inhibitors. He injects his body with the content of a high school locker. These are the tools to live forever. To mental clarity. To an enhanced consciousness too complex and superior to understand. A kind of Being that’s transforming the world—one goddamn emoji at a time.

Our bodyhacker specimen has a hijacked mentality. More silicon than carbon: a body hung on a hook in a dark room, sensors blipping on a screen for nobody to see. Wires spill out of their eyes, ears, and mouth, connected to slick supercomputers that are more mirror than tool. The brain has been given a new directive. “Here, consciousness. Manage homeostasis, make any improvements you can.” Like appointing a bureaucrat director of CERN, he says, “Ah, well this seems to make things more efficient. Let’s just keep doing this.” “What do you mean this is wrong. I pay the smartest doctor in the world $200,000 a year to tell me that SSRIs and Modafinil are going to make me a god.” A god too busy managing his world to pay attention to the world. At the seventh second, he’s dead.

What do I smell here? It’s that familiar noisome musk that rides on the coattail of a subway train passing by. Oh, that’s it! Weakness. Giving up on self-mastery, because it’s hard. Not that there’s no value in occasional substances. They can lead to experiences that broach the static ways of thinking and wipe the periphery clean. But day-to-day reliance is a crutch. You climb a mountain, snap a mental picture, internalize the rhythms of life, and descend back to the village. Stay up there and you’ll be caught in a freak storm.

Was it all bull-shit? No. The basics are eternally true: get enough sleep, stop eating like an American, have a goal, meditate. Between a mother, a guidance counselor, and the hippie born in 1992 that works at Quiznos, the conduits for receiving the secrets to a long happy life aren’t so secret. This is the stuff we all kind of know, but ignore because drinking is the nectar of the gods and who wants to live without the taste of tequila?

Anytime somebody writes anything they reveal a little something about themselves. Most of the time, it’s that they have no thoughts of their own. But sometimes, you find something interesting. Like our Valley hacker. Writing 3,000 words, or more, to justify an ego hellbent on proving the Dunning–Kruger effect. Bravo! An ego inflated to the size of the Hindenburg, what a spectacle.

I don’t deny there are ways of living which improve your overall well-being. What I do deny is that this asshole is any kind of genius, and more like someone who’s chugging Valley kool-aid from the booth selling The Secret. It’s not madness. It’s just stupidity. Lucky for me, this stupidity is a wonderful opportunity to play with sentences and I do thank him for his existence. Hubris, after all, is one of the most entertaining flaws snapped to humanity and forms the basis for many of the most memorable stories. What we have here isn’t a supervillain, but an idiot who demonstrates life is the best basis for satire.

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