[ExI] Where’s my body’s Control Panel?

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Thu Apr 9 06:59:26 UTC 2009

2009/4/9 Brent Neal <brentn at freeshell.org>:
> On 8 Apr, 2009, at 22:11, Emlyn wrote:
>> I just wrote this in my blog, and it struck me that it might play well
>> here :-)
> You make some really good points in the article. A couple of things to
> consider:
> 1) Some of us don't consider exercise to be flagellation. Its an enjoyable
> activity! Well - at least for me, some things are. Lifting weights I find to
> be tedious and abhorrent. Things like the rowing machines and the elliptical
> machines are like a moving meditation for me. Kind of like Yoga - Hatha,
> Bikram, or Ashtanga. But hiking is by and far my favorite exercise.

Yep, point taken. I walk about an hour and a half most days of the
week (that's how I commute), I love to walk.

But, there's exercise and exercise. The flagellation is
body-modification oriented exercise. Nothing wrong with body
modification, but the purity/sanctity memes surrounding it, no thanks.

Something obvious, but interesting in context I think, is that we
don't take our cars out for a drive to get them some exercise, or run
our appliances to keep them fit. It'd be stupid, because in general
running a machine wears it out. However, we actually need to exercise
in order to stay in good condition ourselves. This really only seems
to be the case because we need to signal to our bodies "We are using
all these muscles and other body bits, keep them in good condition",
again it's a hack. We must also be wearing out parts when we do this,
but we have self-repair mechanisms that are good enough that the
signalling hack is more valuable than the losses due to wear, at least
until we are old.

If you were going to design a replacement body, you'd allow those
signals to be sent directly, and skip the otherwise useless behaviour
of exercise.

> 2) More interestingly, let's assume that we learn how to install the
> functional equivalent of your control panel and that a large fraction of the
> population both have access to and choose to install it. Wouldn't a logical
> outcome of that be that the world's total caloric intake would skyrocket as
> people chose to overclock their metabolisms to self-enhance? (muscles,
> brains, looks, whatever would float their individual boats.) Right now, we
> produce more food than the world needs, then waste a good deal of it through
> systemic inefficiencies, causing there to be both massive obesity and hunger
> - often within a single square mile.  I'd assume that with that "control
> panel,"  there would be a lot more hunger and almost no obesity.

Well, if you have a control panel, you turn off or turn down hunger.
Hunger is a hardwired signal to you to eat, part of a feedback loop
with the weight gaining stuff. But over-eating as enjoyed in the west
involves quantity over quality, a lot of time, and a lot of moral
negatives (especially shame). I bet people would just turn down that

If you want to bulk up, well, we already consume way too much; it'd
probably turn out not to require any more than we currently eat, and
maybe less. OTOH, a lot of people will want to be thin, and will
consume little as a result.

I think if we could control hunger and metabolism separately, we'd eat
very little. A problem that might arise is people not eating enough
(and turning off the signals to tell them they need to).

> And a good number of people consuming vat grown yeast- and algae-derived
> proteins and fats. :)

I'd eat that if it was tasty. Is it tasty?

> B
> --
> Brent Neal, Ph.D.
> http://brentn.freeshell.org
> <brentn at freeshell.org>


http://emlyntech.wordpress.com - coding related
http://point7.wordpress.com - ranting
http://emlynoregan.com - main site

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