Characteristics of #IdealLongevityProtagonist

Twitter avatar for @vgrVenkatesh Rao @vgr
I’ve been noodling on an idea for a while that I’ve been reluctant to do a thread on for… reasons that will become obvious, but let’s yolo it. I call the idea “charismatic epistemologies.” Aka… how successful people explain the world, and how those explanations fail.

July 31st 2021
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  • “as open as possible” (and as generous with data as possible,
    including the evolutionary input stream) given constraints (openness
    REALLY makes it possible for early-stage people to absorb more and
    know what’s possible - video learning allows some people to KNOW
    what’s possible where book learning doesn’t do) => not ALL important ppl in longevity are as “open as possible” [biotech can be a nasty world] - in fact people with “strategic genius” are often not the most open, but we need both kinds, and those mentally flexible enough to partition off what can be open and what is not worth the risk of disclosing (at least when not immediately)

  • gives effusive thanks/appreciation/love to people who do things JUST to improve their healthspan/youthspan (esp when they opt for low-calorie substitutes to standard foods and replace "unhealthy fried food” with fruits/veggies/hummus/MUFAs, and ESP in scenarios where they incur social risk for doing so - esp when going so far as to demand non-plastic packaging or getting special orders to replace grains/soybean oil with steamed veggies). So few people do this to themselves, and healthspan is a social good

  • knows all the pareto-efficient improvements to kindness (total
    kindness may not be possible - elon musk is not totally kind to

  • as high-integrity as possible. Or gives way for allowance to be
    corrected when needed.

  • knows how to access information that they don’t know (also knows
    when to “know enough” and move on). “know enough” often means find
    task where they can ideally allocate/distribute a new research
    assistant (or anyone with money) to do.
    Generalist is important. Being able to have a mental module for things
    one knows is important but doesn’t have enough time to learn (but with
    an eye towards filling it in in the future or getting someone to
    explain it to them). Ideally they should have the social capital to
    get the entire methods development + aging field to answer their
    questions (or they should have the social capital to get a maximally
    gutsy person with social access to WANT to fill in all their questions
    for them)

  • your ideas/opinions on issues have higher salience than most people’s ideas (at least to the critical set of people who believe in you)

  • very first principles in thinking (and b/c longevity means you have to try anything radical, you have to be radically open to changing your mind on the things that aren’t strongly held-beliefs [you recognize that longevity is the ONLY strongly-held belief worth holding - everything else is reconfigurable])

  • Gives people second chances (this is high kindness). Longevity is
    the longest of long games and some people take ridiculously long to
    mature (especially since almost everyone grew up in “shitty
    environments”) - give them the time. High kindness also means that spending some time on discouraged learners may be especially high-leverage. They may do everything for you if they recognize that you are the one person who can save them from feeling discouraged in all areas of life.

That said, long timeouts for some offenses may be important.

  • practices techniques from superforecasters and people
  • practices all pareto-efficient improvements to diet (b/c you can
    only be fully rational when your brain works as well as it can, and
    given decline in brain volume over time, this does NOT happen with
    most western populations). Take rapamycin+metformin, eat mostly vegetables+mushrooms+organic berries/wild fruits+MUFAs+omega-3’s, reduce calories/fast whenever possible (modafinil+donepezil make this super-easy)

being kind to your brain (making sure it always operates) also means
wearing masks whenever air pollution levels are above 10 ug/m^3 (yes
this means ALWAYS wearing masks when on subways and freeways - thank
god for covid for making it perma-acceptable to do this)

  • is able to twitch their learning process as much as they can. The
    more new people can understand them, the better they are able to
    supercooperate with new people
  • has a clean input stream, does not distract themselves with stupid
    things like trading and short-term price movements and logistics and
  • values their time to the max. Those who prolong other people’s lives
    should have more value placed on their time than others (b/c they
    increase the amount of time OTHER people have). This places hard
    limits on extreme right-tail kindness, but even expressing gratitude
    well can go A LONG way

he more of these characteristics you have, the more people will take
on pascal’s wager and fund the **** out of you, because you are one of
their only chances of achieving increased longevity. The net worth of
10 extra years of Jeff Bezos’s time is immense. Even that of
standard software engineers => can be easily worth millions

  • Be someone who a sufficiently critical mass of people want to
    believe in simply because of your unique values (and have them
    incentivize you to always be at your best (this means never straying
    from high-integrity if possible - integrity is all about playing the
    long game and sometimes takes patience). Being high-kindness is also NECESSARY for getting people to believe in you

  • Highly open- does not immediately look down on new ideas (and knows
    that many younger people have higher expressivity than they do - just
    look at platforms like replit and

  • giving everyone a chance even if they do not have the expected
    skillset or background. I’ve talked to many kind aging professors and
    they are clueless as to how to advise people with outlier
    skillsets/backgrounds. This does not have to happen (very few in aging
    have breadth, and while breadth means you can’t do experiments, many
    PIs are high-breadth and don’t directly do experiments anymore, though
    some is still helpful)

  • is not afraid of asking for more rather than less. has enough self-love to value themselves to the max

  • be able to train some people to understand them well enough to
    delegate everything to (eg ray dalio). If we had a bridgewater
    organization for aging, imagine what it would do. The money will be
    there sometime - it is in the self-interest of many of the rich to
    invest 30-50% of their capital into longevity.

  • can afford to hire as many personal assistants as they can (and
    crowdfund as many personal assistants as they can afford to hire)

  • knows how to access both online and IRL environments. It’s important
    to know SOME about each of the high-capacity labs and universities (eg
    knowing Stanford well).

  • knows the periphery areas to aging (most progress in aging will
    ultimately be driven by biotechnology. This means being the “bridge”
    or “interface” between different areas. They may not have the time to
    do the interfacing - this is one area to hire apprentices to do it.

  • the extreme approximation of the ideal
    protagonist may be like Jesus Christ (Christ “rescued” people from the dead, and was infinitely willing to give people second chances (redemption) and was infinitely
    kind in the theoretical approximation. Thiel’s recognition of the
    importance of Christianity may not have been an accident. Christ loved everyone and remains one of the most loved people in the planet - and made all of those who accepted His grace live forever in the Kingdom of God. AGI may make ChristianTranshumanism finally possible (only after 2000 years of abuse by Western Empires that abused people under the Christian name). If you truly love someone, you don’t want them to ever die (people are already like this to their elderly parents, except they are rhetorically myopic rather than globalist on this). Subscribe to read | Financial Times

  • valuing their time to the max also means not wasting their time in
    inefficient lectures and meetings (see SOME aspects of george church).
    The training process is incredibly wasteful to most people’s time.

  • in cases where they have burned bridges or don’t get along well with
    everyone, some of their closest associates will have a way of getting
    along well with anyone

  • their principles will be read as deeply and as carefully as ray
    dalio’s principles (this means intermittent quizzing - I once asked
    someone if he remembered a single passage from ray dalio’s principles
    and he remembered nothing, even though it was his favorite book).

  • Knows that compassion and kindness is the root of longevity (because
    longevity means giving everyone the gift of extra time, of extra
    chances at life, extra time to self-actualize at the fullest,
    especially because almost everyone socialized prior to GenZ was
    subject to incredibly repressive social forces that inhibited them
    from being at their best or having the fullest expression of

  • Does not self-limit themselves, but is also kind enough to
    themselves to not wreck their health (like Elon Musk) in the pursuit
    of longevity [though maybe timelines are urgent enough that we do need
    someone who wrecks their health as much as Elon does]

  • knows that longevity is the ultimate “infinite game” (from “finite
    and infinite games”)

  • has extreme self-confidence in themselves (but also the confidence
    not to delude themselves). Having personal assistants or
    accountability buddies helps. Ultimately there will be a way to twitch
    stream one’s non-private information + wearables [of alertness/brain
    waves/etc] and then have AI algorithms auto-analyze them so they can
    constantly be at their best (and so future people can learn from them)

  • has enough social capital/power to get people to want to do things
    for them (you can have that and still be kinder and more appreciative
    than the vast majority of PIs)

  • be the ideal allocator and judge of character + enabler of people (esp the early stage) and people will want to fund the hell out of you to fund others to do what they are best at doing.

  • the internet has to care enough about their well-being to ensure that they value their time to the highest degree, fill or tutor in their knowledge gaps where their technical might be lacking, recognize that helping them is helping the collective conscious reduce its brain decay

person will have social power to define the tokenizations for future ppl, and there will be a hermeneutics to translate their thoughts.

  • they are very clear at clarifying their intentions (and there should be very few incentives for them to do otherwise, especially b/c they should be able to act outside of the gatekeeper system [especially with those Pascal’s wager funds]). Clarifying intent is important for getting people to want to cooperate with you and even recognize that cooperating with you is so much better for them to put their work into than is slaving away in grades/courses.

  • they will be able to magically reconfigure people’s incentives towards not slaving away in the system

  • there will not be very many people who believe in this person at first, but when the inflection point comes, it may come very quickly

-they must be “open af” and pretty much willing to try anything (that isn’t dumb/immature) - b/c we NEED unconventional - going by conventional approaches alone guarantees death. In the ideal approximation, they may configure their own long-term valued longevity-value system that frees people from all emotional association from current degenerate value systems (unschooling is one way to do it, but it does not do it fully)

  • agency >> intelligence.

seeks out new info in the goldilocks zone of mutual information [not too redundant with previous information, not so abstract/sparse as to be unable to remember anything one comes across]

They will be treated as a sacred object, like, there WILL BE AN IMPLICIT MORAL OBLIGATION TO SUPPORT AND BE PROTECTIVE OF THEM.

in the absence of belief (nihilism), others will WANT to believe in them, if nothing else (kind of like jesus christ who promised them eternal life - What is eternal life? |

“you will get everything you want on sufficiently long timescales”

also they just KNOW how to systematize their weaknesses (esp the technical kind) across other people

“Who am i? Am I a nerd? Hippy? Villain?”
“What is my role?”
And i am like
there is no role for you Jeremy. because your role is created by you.
the only correct way to describe Jeremy is to say that
this is Jeremy
thats it…
I am working to create my role too
thats why ppl obssess over Laura and Elon Musk… they created roles that never existed before them

Innerring - CS Lewis Society of California — this is the essay I mentioned

Essentially there are two big lessons:

  1. inner rings are a kind of dangerous treadmill and not to be sought because they so often reflect a hunger for inclusion and acceptance — desire for self-inflation via prestige;

  2. better to be mindful and do good work, and eventually you’ll stumble into your true inner ring but it’s not because you’re looking for inclusion, but after you’re truly okay being an outsider and doing the work

I think the friendship theme is extrapolated from some other tidbit article. Part of what makes Tolkien amazing was his friendship with Lewis (you can read about it in the book “Collaborative Circles”). And LOTR follows the same theme of friendship and people who didn’t seek the inner ring, but who stumbled into the right people at the right time serendipitously

^Thiel is intensely close/loyal to his inner circle