The Salk Institute: Declining new members at the country club of the everlasting

GE stock is tanking, as of this writing it is hovering just about the $13 dollar per share mark, which is embarrassing for one of America’s largest and most successful companies. But GE’s problems in a lot of way reflect America’s problems. GE as a legacy company controlled by labor unions for far too long, that used their sheer size to dominate their competition, pay their people too much and the people no longer working there are still on the payroll in the form of a pension. Since we are in a global economy and GE’s business model was formed in the years after the Korean War where really only America was making things the world wanted from appliances to avionics, GE could afford to be sloppy. The previous GE CEO Jeffery Immelt hedged the problems further into the future by befriending the Obama administration which was really the only move he had. The latest CEO, John Flannery is trying to straighten things out at the company now that it has a lot of divisions that are no longer competitive in the world, and that reality has contributed largely to the massive sell-offs of the stock. GE still does great things in the manufacturing world, but so does a lot of other companies, and so there isn’t any way to pay for all those top-heavy costs.

America too is at the same place. Our national debt is over $21 trillion. Trump’s plan to deal with it is to grow the economy by shutting off the rest of the world that is choking off American manufacturing while our government works out the problem of the legacy costs which is tying up most of the cash the United States has to work with through taxation. What America must deal with is ending the socialist program Social Security and solve the health care riddle by simply ending sickness. America cannot afford to have sick people who die and take their skills to the grave any longer. A sign of things to come can be seen in the Parkland radicals going after gun control in the wake of the tragic shooting there during February. If they are the future America won’t survive anyway. Not even with the promise of artificial intelligence will we survive. Most of the adults working today will need to work for at least another 100 to 200 years to retain the intellectual information they’ve acquire for the future economy which will be different. That is why the good people at the Salk Institute are working on ways to heal people through gene editing which has the real potential to cure cancer and many other human diseases, including old age. That is the key to not only solving America’s healthcare problems, but also the legacy burdens of socialist mistakes like Social Security. GE may have to break itself up or maybe even go out of business, but America can’t do that so solutions to the problem of legacy costs is the only answer.

I’ve been saying for a long time that regenerative medicine was the future of the medical profession. Why get old if you can just turn it off at the level of our DNA. And why should people even get sick at all? All of human development starts with the cell and ends with the cell. When we are born we grow everything we are ever going to need and the process of aging gradually takes away everything we acquire as children—which is a pretty stupid concept if you think about it. I am quite convinced that as we trace society back to a period well before the pyramids were built-in Egypt, well before Greek society—there was a period where humans lived a long time by either natural are artificial means and we lost that trait due to a philosophic introduction of ideas either through religion, or warfare that ended the practice, and we are still functioning from that depleted state. Noah lived over 900 years, so what happened and why to reduce our lives down to a mere 80 years? And if we could change it, should we?

My argument is of course. There is no profit in death. If the afterlife really wants new members at the country club of the everlasting then someone can come to the next board meeting and tell us, otherwise the human species led by the United States needs to dump Social Security with the trade-off of gene editing and other forms of regenerative medicine and to allow economies to expand around the world. As artificial intelligence contributes more and more to our rapid economic expansion since jobs are being invented quicker than humans can breed and meet those new jobs, we will be dealing with a new dynamic in work place maintenance. Humans essentially need to start thinking of themselves as machines which occasionally need to be repaired. What they have that is superior to the machines of our invention is the intellectual knowledge gained from lifetimes of experience. That is where everything is headed, it’s just a matter of admitting as much to ourselves.

The two things that hold us back from making the needed adjustments are religion and legacy habit. Like GE who is so big that so many employees have built their lives around outrageous pay packages and a company too big to move quickly on their feet to meet market demands, America is moving too slow to meet all the challenges of tomorrow and unfortunately the rest of the world is following our lead. The Chinese don’t do anything on their own without copying western civilization, so even with their rapid economy they aren’t exactly breaking any molds with new ideas. They just copy off the west and beat us to solutions because they have a communist system that doesn’t mind losing a few lives here and there to develop ideas. They make their livings with cheap knock-offs stolen from American patents. America is still the leader of everything and in the realm of science and biology it is companies like the Salk Institute who are paving the way for solutions tomorrow. It is up to our art and essential philosophy to structure our society in such a way to meet those challenges.

The advancements in just five years since I first started talking about these types of things has been astonishing. It has even exceeded my expectations and five years from now, while President Trump will likely still be in office, there will be a chance to make these new regenerative sciences mainstream. I think cures for cancer, extended life, and a cure for most diseases will be common practice instead of the drugs that are provided by pharmaceutical companies. They will soon be as primitive as a western frontier settler taking a swig of whiskey to solve the effects of the common cold. Everyone in the world should have access in the near future to a perfectly healthy 35-year-old body for the rest of time—however long time goes.

Obviously, earth isn’t big enough for all this activity—that is because we are meant to move into space as a human species. We are meant to work on the moon, Mars, and moons of Jupiter and Saturn and to move to and from the earth frequently. But humans are needed to settle the solar system and to harness the power of it to take those next great leaps of thoughtful development. I would argue that we are not meant to die a slow death like GE is currently undergoing because it has reached the top of its market and must now retract just to survive. We have the potential to reinvent ourselves for a new future that is not chained to the legacy mistakes of the past—and for everyone, a real chance at true equality. Nobody has to be old, nobody has to be sick and nobody would have to fight over the fledgling opportunities of a tomorrow that may never come, because tomorrow will always come. And humans can take that next step into an adventure of thought that can only be possible when intellectually the same people can see ideas mature over the span of thousands of years. That’s where we are, and that’s where we are headed.

Rich Hoffman

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