Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine ● Longevity Nutrition

In the midst of an expanding vortex of ideas at last weekend’s Humanity Plus conference I retreated to a quiet corner for a couple of minutes to let my mind catch its breath.  I found myself sitting across from a 19 year old geek (in the endearing sense of the word) whose body looked like it had led a sedentary life under fluorescent lights. After a day and a half of fascinating lectures on subjects ranging from cutting edge AI to nanotech and living forever, I wondered what peaked the interest of this fellow human from an emerging generation.  Expecting another comment about the implications of being able to instantly modify mouse behavior by shining colored beams of light directly into its brain (which is extremely cool), I took pause with his reply.  “Myostatin inhibitors”   Myostatin is a protein that helps to break down muscles to ensure they don’t become too large.  Myostatin inhibitors dumb down its activity allowing muscles to become larger.  The pharmaceutical company, Wyeth, has developed and antibody that performs this function but is not yet on the market.

I asked this kid why he felt he needed that.  His reply, “So I can have bigger muscles.”   Me- “But, you can already to that without myostatin inhibitors.”  He- “Yes, but then I would have to work at it.”  We continued our conversation as I made a mental note to never hire this person. 

As we grow older the gratification that one experiences from taking care of one’s body is indescribable.  It must be experienced.  I have a hard time believing that the biotech or the cogtech world could ever simulate the mental fortitude or awareness that emerges from physical activity.  Gently pushing the body beyond its comfort zone and learning to manage it with breath is to commune with all aspects of existence.

As we face our own physical limitations, our drive and fortitude to expand beyond those limitations grows.  This resonates through every aspect of our lives.  The superficial gains of exercise, such as reduced risk of disease, increased longevity and youthful bodies, pale in comparison to the depth of character that emerges from it.  What precious traits of humanity will be unknowingly sacrificed as we evolve our world to effortlessly achieve more and more of what we consider an ideal?

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2 Responses to Sacrificing Mental Fortitude for Big Muscles Without the Effort

  • Hervé Musseau says:

    There is more to myostatin inhibitors than that – including cure for fatal muscle-wasting diseases, and age-related muscle loss.
    I don’t know who you talked with, but growing bigger muscles – even without the effort – is also a way to reduce obesity and diabetes, not just look better, or feel better, without having to exercise. So it’s a way to increase health. Unnatural, too easy? Maybe a little, but that’s also a part of progress: your dissatisfaction could be applied to a lot of things that we find absolutely necessary. Running naked in the savanna also is a great builder of character, but running with good shoes on asphalt, with sweat clothes, listening to music, without fear of lions and bears and tigers, better no?

  • Kyle Whitford says:

    Excellent point. My regular meditation and exercise have become a foundation of personal character that I think nothing else could replace.

    Really enjoy your blog, especially the quick food information like alkalizing foods and your mention of great northern beans. That info was somewhere in my past and you jogged it out of hibernation.

    Thanks for being a thought catalyst.