h+ Magazine

Summer 2009

Issue link: http://cp.revolio.com/i/1161

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Page 59 of 83

AI BIO eNHANCeD NANO NeurO HumOr FOreVer YOuNG 60 summer 2009 BIO eNHANCeD NANO HumOr FOreVer YOuNG NeurO Running with the Dopes: Cheating to be a Better Human m odern humans are put in many moral conundrums, but the most pernicious may be the confl ict between performance and ethics. In the modern world we are expected to be productive for at least eight hours a day, and that means being awake, functional, in a good mood, and ready to perform without complaints. We have drugs and supplements to make us more productive and effi cient, and the industries that supply those drugs are among the largest in the world. But while these industries thrive, we are told that using drugs is unethical and amounts to cheating. What is the modern performance-minded human to do? No matter what you want to achieve in a lifetime, there is a drug to help you do it better and faster. Without coffee, the modern eight-hour workday would be impossible. When we get stressed and depressed from overwork and lack of sleep we turn to alcohol or anti-depressants to wind down. When we feel pain we knock it back with anti-infl ammatory pills and keep going. We dope ourselves to be more productive. We are told it's okay. We do it without even thinking. There's a pernicious aspect to all this — the lines between enhanced performance and cheating have become blurred. The adverse effects of chemical optimization are either grossly exaggerated by politicians or quietly understated by industry fl acks, both using clever Pr manipulation in order to pull bigger numbers. We are allowed to use coffee and alcohol and prescription meds to cheat our way through the modern day, but when we use steroids or marijuana this is suddenly a scandal. The doping rules are rigged and enforcement is arbitrary. The take-away message is, "Be more productive, but don't get caught doing it with the most effi cient drugs: that's cheating." Welcome to the 21st century rat race: move along as fast as you can or get run over, and we may inspect your urine anywhere along the way. All doping is rooted in two things — performance and expectation. As modern humans, we're expected to perform fl awlessly. If we have performance fl aws, we're told they can be fi xed — we can be normalized with treatments and medications. The 20th century model said that patent pharmaceuticals and psychotherapy held all the answers to the human condition. But JAmes KeNT

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