Biohacking, Lifehacking versus Consciousness Hacking

Yfke Laanstra

Nowadays ‘Hacking’ is one of the newest buzz words. You've probably heard of Life Hacking, Biohacking, Brainhacking or Neurohacking.  'Hacking' in this context actually means finding ways to make processes run smoother, faster, more efficient and more effortless. In fact each one of these are catch-all concepts, which contain many different aspects.

Life Hacking is about day to day things, about how to go about your life in a smarter and more effortless way so you can do more in less time. This does not have to be achieved by means of computer technology and the term "hacking" herein refers to finding clever ideas, tricks and shortcuts.

Biohacking is about the application of gadgets, wearables (gadgets you can wear on your body like eg. smart watches and heart rate monitors) to improve your health, your biology. According to wikipedia it is about looking at biology from the perspective of a hacker. Think of pedometers or gadgets that monitor and map your heartbeat or brain frequencies. This is also where you'll see The Quantified Self movement which is all about generating and mapping data, creating measurable data about yourself. From simply measuring your daily calorie intake to personally measuring your blood values, blood sugar, brain waves, mood, hormone levels, etc. With the aim to optimize your body and your life. Here you will start noticing a gradual symbiosis between biology and technology.  

Measuring your calorie intake is like the Light version of Biohacking and Transhumanism is like the Advanced version. You'll come to see that the 'Die Hard' version is maybe even a more appropriate term considering the context.

Transhumanism
This movement represents the continuing fusion of biology and technology. Where Biohacking is promoting wearables, wearing gadgets on your body, transhumanists actually advocate implanting, applying computer technology within your body. This can start in a (seemingly) harmless way by implanting a chip but can go as far as creating bionic limbs, application of genetic/ nano technology, 3D printed organs, cloning to uploading your mind into a computer and continue life as a cyborg in an immortal and indestructible robot body. Which is all about actually TRANScending biology.

As you can see there is not always a clear distinction between the different types of Hacking and some elements are represented in multiple types of Hacking. A common thread running through these movements however is the need for improving and optimizing life and wellbeing, with or without using computer technology. Which, in essence, is a wonderful intent.

You can imagine that the more and the deeper you enter into these types of Hacking the more ethical, moral issues will arise. To what level should we be able to take on the role of becoming our own doctor, to 'fiddle' with our own DNA and what are the actual implications of implanting computer technology, like nano particles in our blood stream that are remotely controlled by artificial intelligent computer systems. What is done with all this data, who has access to it and do we actually want to become more interconnected, linked to a global Internet of Things. How about our privacy, self-determination, our own responsibility etc.

Consciousness Hacking
Looking at my fascination for the cutting edge of consciousness and computer technology I came across a Ted Talk last year about Enlightenment Engineering which lead me to Consciousness Hacking. This community is founded in 2014 in the US by Mikey Siegel, a Computer Engineer who worked in Silicon Valley on projects that dealt with Robotics Engineering in MIT Media Lab. Until at some point he realized that we are more than just our physical bodies, that there is something like an inner reality and that it is important to explore how computer technology can be of service to our consciousness and wellbeing. In other words: how you can improve the quality of life, create inner harmony instead of focussing solely on improving processes, making them cheaper, more efficient etc.

How can you apply computer technology in such a way that it shifts your attention from outwards to inwards, triggering introspection, facilitating meditation. Instead of keeping your attention focussed on all of your gadgets and computers, in an almost compulsive obsessive manner. So moving from outside to inside instead of the other way around.

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Biology & Technology – friend or foo?

Yfke Laanstra

How ironic: the growing fascination for transcending biology, our human body, by the application of computer technology. From the assumption that our human body is obstructing our growth, our potential.

By the use of chips, bionic limbs (robot technology), wearables (portable gadgets like heart rate watches, programmed head bands etc), the application of Gen/Nano technology or the uploading of your brain to a computer.
Let’s call the Light version of this Biohacking, the Advanced version Transhumanism.

Ironic an the sense that we haven’t even mastered or (re)discovered our biological capacities. We haven’t even grasped the way our biological supercomputer works, let alone managed to work with it. We haven’t even mastered our potential to delete restricted programming from our minds and upgrade our consciousness to a whole new level.

Or let me put it this way: this knowledge ís available and we’ve been capable of using these skills but this knowledge is hardly available to most of humanity. Mainstream media uses outdated assumptions and perspectives of humanity, of who we are, of what we’re capable of and what part we play in the universe.

Check out Soulvalley, reloading lost data_

Instant Enlightenment
We apparently have the tendency to look for a Quick Fix, a Turnkey solution. The solution that provides ‘Instant Enlightenment’ by the push of a button. A solution that is to be found outside of ourselves, that is necessary to move to the next level in our evolution.

Artificial Obsession
What is it with our obsession for everything artificial….

Like how we tend to forget, even undervalue true inner beauty and loose ourselves in the search for artificial beauty.
Born from the illusion that this will boost our self-esteem. How many of us become dependent on make up and sometimes end up choosing plastic surgery: literally implanting artificial substances to be able to show a certain image on the outside. Maybe a ‘mask’ is a better choice of words.
But understandable when you think of the fact that natural beauty is something that happens on the inside and doesn’t create any profit in our consumption based economy.

Somewhere along the way we have forgotten what truly nourishes us, where our true power lies. What our body needs and what supports our biology. The healthcare and food industry also focus more and more on creating artificial, chemical alternatives to food and medicine. Treating illnesses with artificial, chemical and technological products and solutions.

There is a collective amnesia concerning our true source of healing or nutrition…. on what dimensions (spiritual, psychological, emotional and mental) need nourishment apart from merely our physical dimension.

Superhero
Our true calling is to (re)discover our full (biological) potential...

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