“Youth,” George Bernard Shaw once said, “is the most beautiful thing in this world—and what a pity that it has to be wasted on children!”
I’ve been reading the sci-fi series Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan. It’s also a series on Netflix with lots of graphic violence and nudity. The main character, in fact everyone in this futuristic world, has his memory, knowledge and basically his soul downloaded into a chip implanted in the back of his neck. The data can be transferred with the chip or via transmission and so can be put into another body. In the future, one can live forever in a series of youthful bodies.
It’s a wonderful concept and I wish I had thought of it. It raises questions about who are you really seeing when the soul is in a body different than the one in which it was born. Obviously today, we cannot plug our very essence into a whole other body, but damn we’re trying our best to reinvent and reinvigorate, whether it be diets, exercise, steroids, hormones, plastic surgery, Botox, liposuction, body augmentation or a smorgasbord of any or all. There are chin implants, cheek implants, breast implants, butt implants, rib removals, neck lifts, boob lifts, face lifts, skin peels the list goes on and on. Women remove their eyebrows and then tattoo in replacements.
We have been altering ourselves for millennium to appear better and more youthful, from Cleopatra to Queen Elizabeth (who layered a caustic potion of lead and vinegar on her skin) to Michael Jackson. Sometimes, we alter ourselves right out of appearing human. Joan Rivers and the comedian Carrot Top looked bizarre after their various operations and treatments. Athletes have shaved years off their lives injecting themselves with steroids.
We Americans don’t think twice about orthodontia or even rhinoplasty for our young children. We equate so much of our happiness with how we look. We endlessly cycle between dieting and weight gain and exercising to sculpt the perfect body. As we grow older, we despise every wrinkle and grey hair, so we inject Botox and dye our hair.
As a man I mourn the loss of my own hair and resist the temptation of transplants. I try to exercise to keep the weight off and stave off the signs of aging, but mostly I’m just delaying, not curing. I had braces as a kid. I do not look the way I would had I been left to nature. Knowing this, I often think I have some nerve looking askance at those who have had work done, but sometimes I think some people have gone a nip or tuck too far. They’ve sailed well past their destination and landed on alien shores.
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#alteredcarbon #plasticsurgery #botox #antiaging #balding