Prolonging Life with Aesthetic Medicine
"The permanent struggle for optimizations is surely one of the most significant cultural principles operative in contemporary Western societies. If we do not want to be left stranded by a species of modern living dominated by acceleration and competition, we have no choice but to play our part in the incessant performance priming and productivity boosting, the relentless pursuit of self-enhancement and the ubiquity of the multi-tasking phenomenon in all walks of life." Source
This was the observation of editors Vera King, Benigna Gerisch and Hartmut Rosa in their 2018 book titled: "Lost in Perfection: Impacts of Optimisation on Culture and Psyche".
The age of eternal self-optimization
There are a lot of trends out there, but few are core to our identity as human beings. The concept of improving oneself and reaching perfection weighs heavily on our psyche as a species and thereby has a strong influence over our behavior. Consumer behavior is rapidly changing alongside the advancement of technology and social media in particular consistently challenges our established ways of communication. In combination with other factors, these developments have afforded us the ability to live in a gamified vacuum of dopamine hits and provided access to a continuous flood of new information.
As a result, the illusion of being able to control just about anything has become more prominent and widespread. Countless examples from geo-engineering to food supplements fool us into believing that we can easily control complex systems that we have not yet understood.
By far the most illustrative and perhaps interesting example of this is seen in the world of aesthetic beauty treatment. Research and data shows that aesthetic medicine is being used by an increasing number of people all over the world to stop or at least postpone visible aging.
For example, recent global research from the pharmaceutical company Allergan revealed that women across the world are more open to enhancing how they look and emphasises that the desire to boost self-confidence is now considered equally as important as aesthetics when it comes to determining beauty treatments. Source
How much of our drive to enhance our aesthetics is due to social norms and trends? And how much is a subconscious psychological aversion to aging and ultimately death itself? What if aging didn't necessarily lead to death any longer?
The "Amortal" human
The premise behind an "amortal" human is that death is a result of the natural aging of organs and tissues. The accumulation of these aging organs contributes to the body's malfunctioning and death is the eventual result. Hence, death is just a technical failure, one that can be avoided.
MDI Biological Scientists have recently managed to extend the average life expectancy of Caenorhabditis elegans worms by 500%. Could they do something similar for humans? Nanotechnology might soon allow for a bionic immune system composed of millions of nano-robots, which would inhabit our bodies, open blocked blood vessels, fight viruses and bacteria, eliminate cancerous cells and even reverse the aging process.
Becoming amortal could therefore be another giant leap forward to eventually creating the first immortal human being.
Modern research shows that the idea of eternal life should be viewed not only as a biological and technological possibility. The idea of humans living forever is moreover a religious and philosophical matter.
Currently, the Nobel Prize Museum's new exhibition "Eternal Life" brings together science, art and cultural history. Thereby offering a unique approach to exploring the future of the human era. Source
Is the search for Eternal Life a moral dilemma?
Perhaps the time has come to re-think the question of ever-lasting life as a one-dimensional issue... Extending our lives is an attainable reality and trends in healthcare, technology, social media, etc. has brought us ever closer to reaching an immortal or "Amortal" life. Our need of control is undoubtably growing, and we are all being pulled along with it. The issue is complex and requires a holistic approach, especially from a business perspective. The more interesting questions are:
What do consumers value and what is expected of the market?
Who are the stakeholders involved and what are their insights?
Where are the business opportunities?
Whether one's motivation is to become amortal, immortal or simply to look younger, our goal at Opticom is to not only identify trends in consumer behavior but also help our clients understand what they really mean and thereby empowering them to identify business and market opportunities. We have seen the growth and even birth of many industries as a result of the everchanging human psychology, cultural norms and technological developments.
At Opticom, we pride ourselves on 30+ years of experience in consumer behaviour studies, transforming data into strategy and helping our clients make better decisions.