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Home > Articles > Max More Has Awesome Muscles - a report on the H+ pre-conference reading

Max More Has Awesome Muscles - a report on the H+ pre-conference reading

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. 

Max More
Max More

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?

Sorry. No.

Natasha Vita-More
Natasha Vita-More

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.


It is amazing to me to see so many people in the H+/Singularity/Tranhumanist communities not take care of themselves. 

Health and nutrition is important if you want a chance to see the future - this is why I have my low carb “paleo” or “bulletproof” emphasis. 

If you want my prescription, go low carb paleo/bulletproof. Lift heavy things. Sprint (High Intensity Interval Training).  For bonus points, intermittent fasting. 


By Jolly on Dec 01, 2012 at 11:06am

Ha ha! Perhaps mud-wrestling George would have been an effective fund-raiser, especially considering the location of the conference. I must note that the photo you’re using of me is more than a decade old. My muscles are probably bigger but I have far less hair, so it all balances out!

Yes, the conference was excellent, even more so considering how quickly it was put together. A tremendous variety of great speakers and topics.

I second Jolly’s concise recommendation. Jolly is another transhumanist who is ripped and fit.


By Max More on Dec 03, 2012 at 9:52am

Max and Natasha are in better shape than 99% of the people on the planet, and better than 99% of Transhumanists, too.  If you ever meet them in person, you will find that they are confident, honest, and straightforward.  I don’t know if they are what Nietzsche had in mind when he was thinking of the Übermensch, but they would certainly fit some of the more attractive interpretations.

It would be nice if we could all have strong and healthy bodies that outlast the ravages of time, but with current technology, we won’t.  Poor Nietzsche was certainly well acquainted with illnesses, and truth to be told, we still haven’t gotten much farther than he did in understanding enough about what is happening at a molecular level to fix it.  We might learn enough in the next decade or three, but to survive it that long, people our age need to take care of our bodies (I’m older than Max).

The big problem is that no matter how long we live, we’ll be dead much longer.  Both Ray Kurzweil and Robert Frietas have told me—rather confidently—that in a billion years we personally should be able to figure out a way around the heat death of the universe, and therefore live forever.  I dunno.  I’ve been accused of being a outrageous optimist, but I don’t hold a candle to these guys. Forever is a long time. Compared to eternity, billion years is nothing.  Even a googolplex years is but an eyeblink.

To believe that we’ll live forever seems like an act of faith, and I’m not holding my breath waiting for it to happen.  After all, reciprocytes will only let you hold your breath for four hours (though a vasculoid could probably last ten times longer).

It seems to me that if time began with the Big Bang, then it will end when the Law of Thermodynamics runs out.  I have had lots of experience with the three laws of Thermodynamics, but I must admit that I have not witnessed nor experienced any universes ending—especially any containing intelligent life forms, so I may be over-generalizing.  Hopefully I’ll be able to debate Max and Ray and Bob on this issue for many centuries to come.

At the same time, I wonder what it will cost to achieve even primitive versions of immortality (i.e. resetting the seven mechanisms of aging). By cost, I don’t mean money, but in terms of what it will cost our humanity.  At the Toronto Transvision conference, Stelarc talked about becoming ghosts, zombies, and cyborgs.  He even did an impressive demo. I can understand wanting to become a ghost by uploading into the net (and thereby traveling at the speed of thought).  I can understand wanting to cyborgify your body to become very powerful.  Zombification, however…  I’m wondering if Stelarc, as an actively participating Transhumanist artist, isn’t on to something.  After all, artists usually connect to things that us intellectual types don’t quite see yet.  But I think he’s onto something disturbingly bad. Something about zombies…zombies who have lost their essential selves that made them what they once were… they have bodies, but no mind and no soul.  And they are therefore capable of much evil. That is my worry, but I can’t quite put an intellectual framework onto whatever it is that Stelarc is drawing on.

As far as who lasts longest in the ring… well, at the next H++ conference, I’ll just have to challenge Max and George to some wrestling matches.  Or judo contests.  Of course, given that one of us has a ton of experience at violent sports (including international competition), I’m not sure that it will be a fair match!  grin

No boxing or MMA, though—we all value our brains too much for that (at least until we can back ‘em up somewhere).

By Tihamer on Apr 18, 2013 at 2:20pm

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