How the evolved elite are separating from humanity, with the help of psychedelics
The big transhumanism news last month was the launch of the Drug Olympics, sorry, the Enhanced Games, by psychedelic investors and transhumanists Peter Thiel and Christian Angermayer, along with fellow libertarian crypto-biohacker Balaji Srinivasan.
The games, set to take place sometime later this year, will showcase athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs that are banned by traditional sports competitions, to stretch the limits of what humans can do. ‘I am the fastest man in the world’, says a mysterious athlete in the trailer. ‘I have broken Usain Bolt’s record. But I can’t show you my face. The Olympics hate me. I need your help to come out. Come see me break the world record.’
There’s so much going on in the trailer. The framing of doping as coming out of the closet / beating the stigma. The fact the athlete is white - pretty much the only way white people can win the 100 metres these days is to take drugs. And the big hook is the promise the super-athlete will break Usain Bolt’s world record live - a classic example of transhumanism’s pressure to be perfect. Imagine being the genetically-enhanced child of a transhumanist like Elon Musk. ‘You better break the record, son, or we’re ditching you for an upgraded clone.’
Peter Thiel and Christian Angermayer are the two most famous investors in psychedelics, and they’re also two of the leading transhumanists in the world - they think humanity should embrace new technologies to become superhuman cosmic immortals. If governments stand in the way of new technologies, they think this enhancement should / will happen offshore or off-world, just as Timothy Leary predicted in the 1970s. Angermayer has prophesied that humanity will bifurcate into two species - the future humans who go into space and modify themselves to become immortal beings, and the fearful ones who stay behind. This is a basic transhumanist idea going back to HG Wells - the split between the evolved elite. and the unevolved masses (as I explored in this article).
Balaji Srinivasan, meanwhile, is an investor and crypto-booster who wrote a book about ‘start-up societies’ - new city-states founded by libertarians to avoid government regulation and pursue their own goals, like taking psychedelics and altering their DNA. Patri Friedman, the grandson of Milton Friedman, is one such libertarian biohacker pursuing the dream of offshore enhancement. He initially ran something called the Seasteading Institute, funded by Peter Thiel, which aimed to create floating libertarian utopias. His new scheme is a city-state in Honduras called Vitalia, where the libertarian elite can gather avoid death and taxes, inject themselves with stem cells and party like its 1999.
‘There where the state ends, the superman begins.’ Friedrich Nietzsche
Less Than Zero
But today I want to talk about another transhumanist - Bryan Johnson, AKA ‘Zero’, the ex-Mormon founder of neuro-implant company Kernel. Johnson’s latest thing is spending a lot of money on ‘the blueprint’ to reverse ageing and live forever. He’s changed his name to Zero, injected himself with his son’s blood, put botox in his penis, taken radical gene therapies to reverse cellular ageing and so on. Whenever he appears in public these days he’s wearing a black t-shirt with the logo Don’t Die.
Zero thinks he is part of a new breed of Zarathustras called Gen Zero:
Gen Zero is a group of multi-ethnic, multi-national people, and they rise up, and say ‘we are willing to courageously step into the future and we’re open to divorce from ourselves all human norms, all human customs, all human thoughts, and we’re willing to say ‘we’re wide open to everything, absolute blank slate…
We got a glimpse of this super-powered divorce of the superhumans from the humans in Johnson’s separation from his former fiance and employee, Taryn Southern, as detailed in a new Vanity Fair article.
The two got together in 2016, Taryn moved in with him four months later, started working for Kernel, and got engaged to Johnson in 2018. The article says:
Early on in the relationship, Southern’s friends started to have misgivings about Johnson’s behavior. Southern’s friends say he was frequently on psychedelics. Johnson has spoken in interviews about his embrace of mystical experiences and has a tattoo on his forearm of 5-MeO-DMT—also known as the God molecule, derived from dried venom secreted from the Sonoran desert toad.
According to Southern’s civil deposition, once she had moved in with Johnson and become financially dependent on him, Johnson became controlling. The article says:
Johnson…began pushing her boundaries even further. He demanded a list of her past boyfriends and made her “describe the sexual acts that took place,” citing his own reputational risk, according to the complaint. He also told her he wanted to have sex with other women and attributed his need for “sexual variety,” as one friend put it, to his conservative religious upbringing. He soon “became obsessed with his sexual conquests and relaying the details of his triumphs to Ms. Southern under the guise of ‘radical transparency and honesty,’ ” according to the lawsuit. A declaration Southern provided to her lawyers described an incident that took place while she was staying with Johnson at the Bowery Hotel in New York in February 2017 in which he allegedly called a prostitute to their shared room and had sex with her while Southern pretended to be asleep. (When Johnson was asked about the incident in his deposition, his lawyer advised him not to answer.)
Then Taryn Southern got breast cancer.
In October 2019, right as Southern was finishing her last round of chemotherapy and preparing for surgery and radiation, Johnson broke up with her. Friends say she was shocked, although Johnson described their breakup as “mutual” in his deposition. “Client reports [Johnson] broke up with her unexpectedly,” read a note from Southern’s therapist dated November 2, 2019, which was submitted as part of her petition to vacate the award of Johnson’s legal fees. Calling her a “bad deal” and a “net negative,” Johnson told Southern she had to move out of the house as soon as possible, because, according to the lawsuit, it would be too inconvenient for him to move.
‘We’re open to divorce from ourselves all human norms, all human customs, all human thoughts’ - Bryan Johnson / Zero
What followed was a messy separation battle, with Johnson and Southern arguing over a settlement agreement for the abrupt ending of her relationship with Johnson and her employment at Kernel, as well as what Southern could say publicly about how the relationship ended. The article says this about the settlement negotiations:
In early February, Johnson asked Southern out on a date, where they took drugs—her MDMA, him mushrooms, according to her declaration—and wound up sleeping together. When asked by Southern’s lawyers about the date, he denied taking mushrooms. The following day, Southern received an agreement that offered her stock options plus severance from her job; the $149,000 to cover rent and living expenses for a year was not included. If she didn’t agree to sign within one day, Johnson told her, the stock options were off the table.
Eager to put everything behind her, traumatized—and, according to Southern’s lawsuit, foggy from the tamoxifen—Southern signed the separation agreement without retaining a new lawyer. In her deposition, Southern said that, in retrospect, she thinks Johnson “knowingly manipulated my state of mind and took advantage of that…at a very interesting time when he was actually receptive to going to therapy and getting back together.” In the new version of the agreement, there was a non-disparagement clause that was much shorter, though both featured a “general release” which meant that, by signing, Southern would forfeit her right to sue not just Johnson’s businesses, but Johnson himself, for any reason. It was the release in that separation agreement—which Southern’s lawyers argued was signed amid “undue influence” by Johnson—that the arbitrator cited when she threw out Southern’s claims.
I am not an expert on this case. Bryan Johnson has accused Taryn Southern of trying to extort him - he says her lawyers inititally demanded a $9 million settlement otherwise she would go public with complaints about his ‘perverse’ psychedelic polyamory - every tech founder’s nightmare! But the case opens up an interesting argument over what ‘undue influence’ means. If someone takes psychedelics with someone else and then pressures them to sign a life-altering contract the next day, is that ‘undue influence’? Every respectable psychedelic retreat centre advises clients not to make any big life decisions for at least 48 hours after taking psychedelics, because of the ‘after-glow’ effect. So pressuring your ex-fiance to agree to a separation contract the day after taking drugs with them - that sounds unethical (although I am a mere homo sapiens and not Gen Zero, so who am I to judge).
More news and links after the paywall, including an update on Sowilo, the Mexican 5-meo-DMT cult I wrote about last year.
Plus our next Psychedelic Safety Seminar is online on Thursday at 10am PST, featuring Brian Holoyda on - come along!