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Bryan Johnson YouTube.png

Your Tech Bro Wellness Regime Will Not Save You From Death

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Celebrity | August 14, 2023 |

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Celebrity | August 14, 2023 |

Bryan Johnson YouTube.png

The internet has been bombarded with the astonishingly silly anti-aging routine of Bryan Johnson, mostly because his publicists are working overtime to make it so unavoidable. The venture capitalist who founded Braintree, the company that owned Venmo, has made it his new life’s mission to make his 45-year-old body as young as possible. Project Blueprint has seen him spend over $2 million a year to slow down his biological clock. His routine involves going to bed at 8:30 every evening, eating 2,250 calories once a day but only before 11 am, taking 111 pills a day, and receiving blood transfusions from his son (he later stopped with the Dracula shit when he realized there was no benefit to it.) Johnson plans to live to the age of 200 and currently claims that he has the skin of a 28-year-old and the lung capacity of a teenager.

It’s also worth noting that this boon in PR for a previously mostly anonymous tech dude might be a way for him to talk over a 2021 lawsuit from his ex-girlfriend that claimed Johnson kicked her out of his house when she was diagnosed with cancer. Just saying.

Johnson’s sci-fi experimentations have mostly seen him be lambasted on social media as a kook of intense vanity with clammy skin and a distinct lack of self-awareness. If his goal is to have us look upon his pale form and weirdly yellow face and be astounded by the results, he’s failed. Of course, outside appearances do not necessarily indicate one’s internal health, but if your publicist is sending out all these images of you with minuscule levels of body fat and a terrible dye job to sell your mission as a successful one, don’t be surprised when the memes arrive.

It’s not just Johnson, of course, who at least has the decency to admit that his lifestyle is making him miserable. He’s but the most extreme version of a distinct kind of wellness that has become curiously prominent over the past few years: the tech bro hunt for immortality. Jack Dorsey, former CEO of Twitter, brags about only eating one meal a day, doing long fasts, and going to silent retreats in countries with poor human rights records. A BBC article from 2019 noted the fad of ‘dopamine hacking’, which had become the Silicon Valley trend of the moment by claiming that fasting, ignoring the world, and not seeing your loved ones for long periods of time will reset your brain. Insider detailed further tech bro health treatments, such as having glucose monitors fitted on those who aren’t even diabetic and sleeping less than three hours a day. They call it biohacking. The rest of us call it disordered eating.

It’s striking to see how these men (and it is almost always men) sell their highly limiting diets and misery-inducing whims as a new level of health and fitness. The media reports on such things, typically by publications that don’t usually delve into lifestyle or celebrity content, lavish praise on intermittent fasting and blood swapping, positioning it as one of the reasons these billionaires are so successful (ew.) It’s notedly different from, say, profiles of actresses who talk about eating ‘clean’ or the weight they lost for a big role. I’ve never seen the likes of Johnson or Dorsey, the latter of whom cannot be consuming more than a thousand calories a day, lambasted for encouraging disordered eating, not in the way that someone like Beyoncé was when she dropped weight for Dreamgirls. I think this is partly because none of these dudes look glamorous. Do you look at baby Rasputin Dorsey and think, ‘Boy, I need to stop eating so I can get in that kind of shape’?

Time makes fools of us all, and every single one of us will greet death by the end of it. If we’ve lived a good life, long and plentiful and full of joy, we hope to meet him as a friend. We don’t all get that opportunity. Illness can strike at any time. Accidents happen. Life is just plain unfair. Certainly, there are things we can do to keep our bodies in decent shape, but it doesn’t take much to unbalance the scales (and this doesn’t even get into the way these quacks prey on systemic ableism to position being ill in any way as a curse.) Humanity has spent millennia trying to stave off death, but sooner or later, the body just stops. Nothing will stop that, not even your son’s blood.

At the heart of tech bro hunts for immortality is the same smarmy capitalistic ethos that has powered decades’ worth of wellness scams, Goop products, and Beverly Hills quacks: if you’re rich then you’re somehow too ‘special’ to get ill in the same way that we poor plebs do. Your sickness can’t just be a regular cold; it has to be an imbalance of your gut that must be fixed with blood cleaning or powdered horns or a retreat to the Himalayas. See, your life is so hectic and elite that your illnesses are an extra level of extreme, and clearly your body is too delicate to sink so low as to see a doctor or use medicine that’s been tested in labs for decades. You can afford to get treatment that nobody else can, and really, don’t you deserve to take hundreds of pills a day and have scientists keep track of your penile functions as you sleep? And remember, it’s all for sale!

They seldom understand that obscene amounts of money typically come with heavy confirmation biases for those eager to get their hands on it. It’s one of the reasons there are so many quacks in Hollywood treating celebrities for chronic Lyme, a condition that the medical community does not see as a proper diagnosis and might be a mask for other severe auto-immune conditions in need of treatment. Oh hey, you want to make your body 18 years old again? This doctor who is in need of a beach house can definitely make those numbers look the way you want them to. So are the ghouls who offer ‘cryonics’ so that your body (or head, if you can’t afford the whole package) will be frozen until a time when we might have the technology to revive you. It won’t work, but hey, won’t you feel smug in knowing it could in several thousand years or so?

This self-aggrandizing version of toxic masculinity blended with the insidiousness of the wellness empire is disheartening, albeit in a morbidly funny way because of the people involved. Billionaires will spend their money on literally anything else other than helping those who truly need it. Ensuring that generations of those less fortunate than you can live happy, healthy lives would ensure your immortality far greater than fasting or blood transfusions.