Posted: Mon, December 03, 2012 | By: Hank Pellissier
A blonde lad with ox-like shoulders strode past my table last night at the cafe next to Borderland books in San Francisco.
The bloke with the beast physique seemed jarringly out of place at the H+ pre-conference reading.
Everyone else was quite like me, with “average” physique, or worse. Paunches were commonly sported. Fitness was visibly not top priority, even though, as transhumanists, we all crave eternal life.
Who was this Muscular Minotaur? This God-like Specimen?
I imagined he was just dropping by to use the loo, before proceeding on to a sweaty gym for extra bulking and ripping.
When he emerged from the lavatory, burly chest blocking the portal, I saw his face, ruddy with yellow locks.
It was Max More! Legendary Extropian founder / philosopher!
Huge biceps and lats strained the cotton of his stylish black t-shirt. He was thickly imposing, but amiable, self-deprecating and funny in his speech with wife Natasha Vita-More on the difficulties of publishing their upcoming anthology.
How old is he? I wondered. He seems “boyish” but he’s been around forever, he published Extropy: The Journal of Transhumanist Thought in 1988.
I thought he’d be a geezer. A slob, or an invalid, wheeled in by Natasha.
But instead, he’s built like an NFL linebacker, a gay porn star, or both. I think he could clean and jerk a Harley Davidson.
I know, I’m shallow. But really… he looks great.
I remember Robert Tercek’s speech at the 2010 H+ Summit at Harvard. He insisted that Transhumanism - to gain public support - needed media spokespeople who presented a positive image.
“Positive” meaning… we envy them. Even in superficial ways.
Max More fits the bill.
Do others? Aubrey de Grey = wizardly beard? Ray Kurzweil = thick glasses + nerd demeanor?
All the speakers at the pre-conference reading were great. Exceptional. Ramez Naan - author of the upcoming book The Infinite Resource: Can innovation save the planet? - opened with a riveting exposition on technological breakthroughs in the near future. Annalee Newitz of io9 was eminently charming, offering genuinely helpful advice to futurist writers. James Hughes of IEET was fired up, sociologically, tearing holes in the faulty future-of-work scenario posed in a recent Singularity book.
A fine gang. Natasha Vita-More was excellent too. She’s quite the “cougar” I learned later, via wikipedia - at 62, she’s married to Max, who’s only a spritely 48 years old. Natasha is tenaciously fit as well.
Listening to people talk is educational, of course, but when George Dvorsky arrived, slightly late, I couldn’t help wondering if this Cross-Fit Canadian transhumanist who can dead-lift 400 pounds, could last five minutes in a mud-wrestling contest with Max More.
The H+ @ San Francisco conference costs $150. I can’t afford it. But surely, I’d find the cash somewhere if those two uber-men went mano y mano.
Seriously, though. Health is important. Isn’t it? I’m going to lift some weights today, I’ll try that. Max is inspirational.