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              Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans

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Posted by caliban , 18 May 2017 · 4,738 views


Shalot” = a made-up word for a type of person active in life extension, cryonics, artificial intelligence and related fields. Sometimes encountered on LongeCity.


The word is a constriction of ‘zealot’ and ‘shallow’ and also a reference to Tennyson’s poem ‘the Lady of Shalott’ (2x’t’) as someone who is removed from the real world, obsessed with images and appearances and likely to disappear suddenly and pointlessly.
“Shallot” (2x’l’) Is a word for a type of onion. A bland yet pungent vegetable that can make you cry when you work with it…


Characteristics of a shalot:


1) Shalots know little about the history of science and technology, let alone in life-extension. They fail to appreciate how much they risk repeating the past, and moreover, how much they themselves are –hopefully unwittingly– playing the part of a peddler of hype and false promises in the footsteps of hundreds who have come before. Instead, they are usually convinced that it’s all new and unheard of –including their own schemes and fancies.


2) Shalots don’t understand a lot about science. Most of the time they obfuscate this fact, sometimes they are quite upfront, even aggressive about it. They make a distinction between scientists as people who do the grunt work and people like themselves who are ‘organisers’. They understand even less about medicine.


3) They are interested in media buzz and talk a lot about ‘mass movements’ and ‘marketing’ about ‘policy’ – but usually fail to demonstrate where these factors have ever been truly relevant in producing tangible scientific advances.


4) Shalots often lament that different activities are not well-coordinated enough and paint a picture where global innovation would function much more efficiently if only someone would be in charge to co-ordinate.


5) They are usually not very successful in their professional life but are fairly sure that they were born to greatness. Even worse, if they have been successful once, they are now convinced that they have all the answers.


6) When a shalot accepts a specific, useful, or even important task they often under-perform… which should come as a surprise because the things that they really wanted to do would have been much more demanding.


7) Shalots tacitly assume Life Extension is a kind of ‘pill’ – something that will be invented at some stage and then solve all medical issues associated with aging in one go. They therefore talk about things like “before and after” and “until”. Some shalots declare that they realise it is more complicated than that, but their attitudes don’t suggest this is true.


8) They come onto the scene with a splash, a rush of activity. Sometimes that is very welcome because you can’t or don’t want to identify them as a shalot straight away. Sometimes, it is clear to most who have been there before that shalot shenanigans are in evidence, but not giving them a minimum of time would look bad and –who knows?– maybe, just maybe, the shalot can make a useful contribution before wandering of. And they will disappear after a while. Sometimes they get a job or a girlfriend.


You can tell that my own studies about shalots are as frustrating as they often purport themselves to be. I try to avoid them. Nonetheless I might return to this polemic with more observations as my experience may regrettably inspire.
This is a private rant, in no way related to anything I do at LongeCity or elsewhere.

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