Transhumanism in Practice: Don’t Do It

Biopolitical Times
Screenshot of Saturday Night Live’s All-Drug Olympics

Screenshot from 1988 SNL skit

Modern transhumanists can be remarkably absurd. Case in point: the Enhanced Games. Peter Thiel and two other venture capitalists, Christian Angermayer and Balaji Srinivasan, are now funding “the Olympics of the future.” The president of this operation is Aron D’Souza, whose chief claim to fame, according to his bio, is that he “Led Peter Thiel’s Successful Litigation Against Gawker Media (Involving the Wrestler Hulk Hogan).”

The actually existing Olympic Games have come under criticism for decades now, for political reasons, for exorbitant ticket prices, for corruption, for scandals the press loves to revisit (top 8; top 10; top 12; even top 44), and of course for the reportedly widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs. Anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, diuretics, stimulants, and more are banned by the Olympics, as well as by most sporting institutions and governments, for one very good reason: They harm people. The Mayo Clinic has a long and detailed list of the medical problems they cause, physical and emotional. Athletes may perhaps be able to train harder, in the short term, and build larger muscles. But the costs include hair on the body but not the head, high blood pressure, heart problems, shrinking testicles, enlarged clitoris, issues with anger and violence, and dozens more. 

Nevertheless, these wealthy libertarian transhumanists want to replace the Olympic motto (updated in 2021 to Citius, Altius, Fortius – Communiter, that is, Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together) with a slogan that English occultist, writer, and mountaineer Aleister Crowley wrote in about 1904: 

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

The Enhanced Games “formally recognizes any and all world records challenged by the World Anti-Doping Agency and reinstates them as Enhanced World Records.” Strangely, some of the athletic “records” they include are in fact slower than the generally accepted version. For example, Usain Bolt, the world record holder at 100m and 200m, does not appear in the “enhanced” list. Florence Griffith-Joyner, who still holds the women’s records at the same distances, does appear, even though she never tested positive for drugs; if she were still alive she might well be in a position to sue for defamation. 

Saturday Night Live is unlikely to sue, but they did have the idea first – in 1988:

“Getting ready to lift now is Sergei Akhmunov of the Soviet Union. His trainer has told me that he has taken anabolic steroids, novocaine, NyQuil, Darvon, and some sort of fish paralyzer. Also, I believe he has had several cocktails within the last hour or so. All of this, of course, is perfectly legal at the all-drug Olympics. In fact, it’s encouraged.”

Warning: The sketch turns bloody. 

Transhumanist fantasies fuel the escapades of billionaires and the dreams of people for whom reality is simply not enough. They exist to aid the exploitation of some people by others, and to encourage eugenic dreams of impossible worlds that only get in the way of improving the real world we share.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. But who would feed the steeds?