“For me, curiosity is a helpful trait. What happens next? How will the future unfold? That helps to keep me going.” Ben Bova
I was sitting around, drinking, moping, and complaining. I was trying to figure out when I would die. I was living like I would die tomorrow. My brother Ronnie died suddenly last year. My best friend Dink fell over dead. I have three other friends who just up and died. My worst fear was a stroke, being trapped inside my body.
Renowned writer Ben Bova is a friend. He wrote a book on immortality. He introduced me to immortality researchers. Science can now replace the telomerase, the endcap on our DNA strands. These deteriorate as we age. Science used to think the deterioration had something to do with avoiding cancer. But they have restored the telomerase in rats, and the rats got younger, and did not get cancer. We are so close.
Look at Jimmy Carter. He was dying of cancer. They used gene therapy on him. His cancer is gone, 100 effing percent gone. Gene therapy only works in 20% of the cases, but when it works…it really works! And there are many more new cancer treatments.
Every day we live, the odds of living longer increase. As Ben says, if you can live to be 100 or 200, imagine where science will be.
We’re almost there. Nanotechnology lets us store 3 terabytes on a drive the size of your thumbnail. Now there are nanobots that can create new nanobots so small we couldn’t produce them without…well, nanobots. Nanotechnology is the true future of immortality. That and stem cells. Soon, stem cells will be used to grow a new prostate, a new heart!
I read short science articles daily. I read Flipboard on my phone.
There is great hope. I believe, Gulley Foyle, in The Stars My Destination, was looking for evidence of hope. He didn’t need the hope, he just needed to know it existed.
Now, how to change the attitude? Your computer has ROM chips, read-only-memory. What’s written there, stays there.
The amygdala is a very old part of your brain. Among other things, it records threats. You’re walking through the jungle. You see a snake. Before you can make a conscious decision, your amygdala has you jump back. Then your conscious brain takes over, and sees it was just a stick. This is why people develop fear of flying, and various other phobias. Something bad happens once, and that old reptile brain amygdala records it as a threat and you are done.
But the amygdala can be re-written. It takes patience and repetition. So I took something very simple. The Constitution of the United States of America guarantees us the right to pursue happiness. It does not guarantee happiness.
Many of us, me included, mistake the lack of happiness for unhappiness. We want happiness, damn it! Where’s my happiness?
Some weeks ago, I made the decision to settle for not-unhappiness. I’ll be happy if the Seahawks win the Super Bowl, or I get a bonus check, or I see an old friend. Happiness is not a constant state. Chinese Traditional Medicine has a treatment for too much happiness.
I constantly lived in a state of unhappiness, mainly because I wasn’t happy all the time. I found new reasons to be unhappy. I would wake up in the morning and wish I was dead so I wouldn’t have to go to work and face a difficult problem. Many, many times, I lay in bed in the morning, facing despair. I was an unhappiness generator. I threw out unhappiness all over the place. I criticized everything. I agreed with those who already were unhappy. The easiest solution—alcohol.
That was not working, so, I decided to rewrite my amygdala using positive feedback. I’m sick? So what? That too shall pass. Every time I found myself in a position to moan about poor little me, I changed it. Even if I griped about being ill, I added on at the end…”But my attitude is still great.”
I told people I was changing. I told myself 100 times a day that things were okay, and I would be fine. Through repetition, I am reprogramming my amygdala to accept not-happiness. And it is working. Never stop. Not for a second. I still wake up sometimes, like now when I’m sick, and think “Why should I go on?” And I stop that cursed thought right there. I am not unhappy. I AM NOT UNHAPPY. And it’s working. I swear to God, it is working! And when you stop being unhappy, your health improves.
One of my mentors, George Carl Ball, used to ask, “Who ever said you have to be happy?”
Repetition, repetition, repetition. What I say three times is true. “I’m not unhappy, I’m not unhappy, I’m not unhappy…”now say it one hundred times…one thousand times.
“My grandfather always told me, ‘Tom you get what you look for in life. Look for good things, you will find them. If you look for bad things you will find them too; it won’t make you happy.'” Tom Doherty
From The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll
Fit the First
“Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.
“Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true.”