My guest today is Bryan Johnson, founder of Braintree that sold Venmo to PayPal/eBay for $800 million.
After experiencing many years of deep depression Bryan decided to venture out on an intense experiment with his latest project blueprint and his newest company, Kernel. He has for the past two years been eating the same meals, taking 105 supplements each day, and doing the same physical training to create a non-disputable baseline. Bryan’s hope is to see if he could get into optimal health but also turn back his chronological age. I asked Bryan how long this experiment will go on and his answer is “forever”.
A lot of people have an intense response to his experiment, but rather than dismissing it or throwing some superlatives at what he’s doing, I thought it would be better to go in and try to understand and learn from him, his perspective. Bryan and his team at Kernel are collecting data, measuring over 200 health points, taking pictures of his organs, observing the brain under different circumstances and who knows maybe it’s all information that can help us. Enjoy
Listen to the episode here:
- The Genesis of Project Blueprint [00:06:29]
- Overcoming Depression [00:12:52]
- The Concentrated Tablet [00:19:13]
- Health in the Now and the Future [00:23:48]
- The Infinite Game [00:33:17]
- Commitment to a Lifestyle [00:37:31]
- Self-Harm Awareness [00:44:57]
- The Blueprint Process [00:48:37]
- On Philosophy and Truth [00:55:00]
- Bryan’s Routine [01:00:24]
- On COVID [01:11:14]
- Chocolates [01:14:54]
- Time with Son [01:19:49]
- Blueprint’s First Supper [01:22:32]
- On Zeroism [01:26:01]
- An Alcohol Experiment [01:33:53]
- The Rejuvenation Olympics [01:37:38]
- On Sex and Limitations [01:38:43]
- A Room for Fluidity [01:40:38]
Bryan Johnson | Achieving the Biomarkers of an 18 Year Old, Breakthrough Science in Age Reversal, New Ways to Overcome Depression & Ridding the World of Harm
“We love technology because technology grows at a compounded rate. Every time you make progress in technology, it’s stable, you build on top of it, the next layer, then on top again, and again. With human progress, we do make progress but we also make the same mistake thousands of times in our lives and we oftentimes can’t help ourselves but make the same problems.
We currently maintain we’re the smartest species on the planet. Also, we make the same mistake thousands of times in our lives, it’s a major flaw in our intelligence. With my health, I’m saying, “Why would I ever accept an error in my behavior because it sets me back? Why wouldn’t I accept a stable system that builds itself and it runs through the measurement and protocol process and I get to improve again and again?”
The question here is, as a species, can we systematically stop self-harm? The silliness of doing things that hurt us, that cause accelerated aging, disease, misery, and all the bad stuff, can we stop it? Can we say, “We’re past it and we’re going to move on. We’re going to focus our gaze on this horizon, a new possibility.”
Blueprint seems like it’s about health and wellness, it is about the future of the human race. It’s a way we can imagine ourselves improving at a compounded rate not so that we’re super intelligent, maybe that’s where we go, but so that we can imagine evolving ourselves into something where these gains take us.”
“I think of what we’re doing here as I’m a professional rejuvenation athlete. I’m not a biohacker, I’m not a hobbyist, I’m a professional athlete, and I’m going to treat myself as a professional athlete. When you have that mindset, it’s an entirely different game. Whereas for most people, if you think you’re trying to get along in life, it’s a different mentality versus you being serious about what you’re doing and you embrace that mentality. I don’t know why creative professionals go to work all day and use their brains. They have to be their very best in their brain, not their bodies. They’re not shooting balls or kicking balls. Treat your brain like you’re a professional brain athlete.”
My guest is American entrepreneur, Bryan Johnson. His first business, Braintree, sold Venmo to PayPal and eBay for $800 million. After that experience, he had some time and space and decided to take on a new project with his latest company, Kernel, and a project called Blueprint. You have to understand this is somebody who was depressed for about ten years and thought, “If I can fire Night Bryan,” the person making the decisions that aren’t supporting his well-being and health, physically and mentally.
He decided to create Blueprint, which is a project where he’s on autopilot from the minute he wakes up in the morning at 5:30. He eats the same things. He moves the same way. He’s taking about 104 or 105 supplements. He’s done eating his vegetable mash at noon. He is measuring about 200 points of data each day. The hope is not only to feel better mentally but to not do harm to oneself and to others with this idea of maybe not harming the planet.
I live differently and I thought rather than go against it or think, “This guy is trying to control every factor of his life,” I thought I’d go see him and see what he was thinking. If you want to know what the regimen is, it’s all free online. I wanted to get behind the why. The other thought is maybe he’s measuring things that we can benefit from. Maybe we won’t do it the way he does it.
I still am a huge believer in instinct, the natural world, spontaneity, and trying to get to a place where you can use discipline to make the choices and decisions you want but everybody does it differently. It was a fun conversation. The other thing is that Bryan gives it all away for free. If you ask him, “How much longer are you going to do this?” Remember, he is been doing it for over two years, and he says, “Forever.” I thought that was interesting. Enjoy.
Bryan Johnson, thank you for making time and for having me in your space. Justin and I occasionally go on the road and I’m happy that we could sit and talk with you because I was turned on by what you were doing and thought, “I want to go talk to Bryan and see what he’s up to.”
What did you hear?
I watched a bunch of videos and I saw a TED talk and I saw a bunch of things, I saw a morning routine video. I’m drawn to the genuine space of wellness and not in the fad way but because of maybe my generation and my experience coming through athletics and having somebody who, in a different way, comes through technology. That’s why I want to talk to you because that’s not in my wheelhouse. The way you assess things and approach things is going to be different and I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn.
That’s why I’m here. You had another company, you sold that company, and it did well. You’re at a place where you think, because you’re quite young, “What’s next?” How did you arrive at getting into Project Blueprint? What is the exact title of this experiment that you’re in right now?
The thought process behind it was lucky us that we exist, let’s play an infinite game together. That idea comes from an author, James Carse, Finite and Infinite Games. A finite game is a game that starts and stops, a winner and a loser, much like our sports, athletics. Infinite game, the interest the players have in the game is that the game keeps on going. There’s no concern about winning or losing.
I thought about if I could dedicate the entirety of myself to a single endeavor for the benefit of all humans, what would I do to try to contribute to a gameplay? It seemed to me trying to arrest the effects of aging might have a beneficial approach in terms of how we feel about ourselves, the games we can play, how long we can play them, and how well we can play them. I started this project to explore this scientific question with today’s scientific knowledge, what is possible in terms of slowing the speed at which someone ages and then reversing the aging that has occurred?
When I was driving here, I was thinking about this idea that also the way we practice medicine doesn’t ultimately support what you’re talking about. I was ever wondering because you have the intelligence, the bandwidth, and probably the relationships, do you ever think there’s a way in this game that we’ll be able to tackle that side of it on a parallel path at some point? I do think that is also a part of the formula. We’re going to dive into what you’re doing. I also wonder, after diving into this space, are you optimistic about how we’re going to also practice our healthcare?
The most meaningful shift that I made was, previously, I would use my mind to make most of the decisions about what I do. If I go to the grocery store, it’s evaluating the options, it’s a menu at the restaurant, it’s reading blogs, and trying to get together and trying to assemble information that I could piece together for a productive health regimen.
What I did is I shifted and said, “Why wouldn’t it makes sense for my organs to speak for themselves? Why can’t my heart have a voice? My lung, my pancreas, and my liver, why can’t they express directly what they want?” The issue was measurement. If I could implement a measurement protocol of looking at blood, urine, saliva, stool, imaging, MRI, ultrasound, DNA methylation tests, and fitness tests, dozens of tests producing hundreds of markers that allow each of these organs to speak directly and then use that data, compare it with scientific evidence, and then create a protocol.
[bctt tweet=”We believe we are the problem solvers and we may be our worst enemy. The answer may be right in front of our faces, it’s just counterintuitive and hard to see.”]
That resulted in me removing the authority of my mind to make decisions, empowering my organs to speak, and then following exactly what the organs and the scientific evidence said, and then repeating that process continually. I’ve done that for over two years now and it produced near-perfect biomarkers in my body. I have 50-plus biomarkers that are perfect, and a hundred biomarkers that are less than my chronological age.
The speed at which I age is 26% lower than when I started on this. I joke that I roughly get October, November, and December for free every year because I age much lower. It was that empowerment. It’s counterintuitive because most of the time, we approach life thinking our brains are the primary problem solvers. In this case, the solution was removing my mind from the equation and letting my body solve it with measurement.
I heard you say a great line, you fired Nighttime Bryan, or it was something like that. Prior to this, you said you would try to use your mind to make decisions. Do you think you were in that zone of working and building something and you have three children and all this? Would you also say that health has been at least somewhat important throughout your life even prior to this experiment? Did you scotch tape it together like most of us?
It became acutely important to me when I had chronic depression. Nothing became more important than trying to resolve that feeling of hopelessness, there’s nothing worse. I’d say that at that moment, I locked in on a battle of death of, “Can I solve this thing?” That naturally grew. Blueprint grew out of chronic depression.
To give people a little background, you grew up in a religious environment and then it seems like you probably went pretty hard at work. When somebody watches you, they would think, “He is smart. He’ll think his way through everything.” Most people feel like they’re running through life being dictated by their feelings.
When you talk about depression, you said you go on autopilot till 9:30 in the morning or whatever, where did you find a place not only by navigating your chemistry but for your feelings? Did the language become easier because the chemistry got better? How did you find that rhythm? For a lot of people, it’s natural to be anxious and concerned. They talk about women having more negative emotions, being prone to negative emotions, and things like that but trying to find these outlets. Has this been made easier simply by getting the chemistry better?
Unquestionably, yes. One of the biggest breakthroughs that happened when I was depressed is I learned that the thoughts I had about my hopelessness were not my thoughts, they were thoughts that were generated and I became aware of them but they weren’t me. There was a space between that thought or emotion and me.
Once I learned how to observe the mind, this is something that is taught in meditation that there’s this separation, that was liberating for me that I could observe my mind in this passionate way and see it behave in these erratic ways. That’s the same thing when I fired Evening Bryan, there was this version of me.
At the end of the day, after working hard, putting the kids to bed, having a fight with a spouse, and then feeling like there’s nothing else in me and feeling the stresses of reality and wanting to soothe myself in any way and then turning to food. It was like some mechanism of self-soothing. That version of me was destroying life for all versions of me. I would overeat or eat the wrong stuff. I wouldn’t sleep well. The next morning, I’d be cloudy so I try again to exercise and eat well.
We think of ourselves as a singular person but in reality, we’re hundreds of kinds of people. There’s nighttime us, there’s therapy us, there’s friends us, there’s work mode us, and there are all these different versions. We behave so differently and we have different thoughts. We all know this, we feel very inspired or moved, we vowed to behave a certain way, and an hour later, we’re doing the thing we said we wouldn’t do. It’s a complicated process to get all these versions of us to cooperate.
What I feel happiest about, and to your question, is when I let my organs start speaking for themselves, it’s the first time in my entire life I’ve achieved peace within self. Before, it was war. Every version of me was fighting, it was the other version trying to get what it wanted. It was all at war. Now, it feels stable, clear, and peaceful.
Before, would you be a person who retreated if things were hard, tired, and combative? Would you retreat more? Knowing you for all of eight minutes, it doesn’t feel like you would be somebody who’s like, “Let’s be in a dust-up here.” Did you try to manage everything internally?
That’s hard. The reason I train and eat well at this point in my life is I’m not trying to hit any balls harder, I am trying to show up in this peaceful way. People don’t realize what you’re saying is this isn’t all of us. We like to think about spirit, consciousness, and all these things because it is all connected. You have the sun and you have the planets, we’re part of something. There then is this straightforward part of our chemistry that if we can pull some of those levers, it makes the other stuff so much easier. Let’s talk about deciding. Do you have an epiphany when you’re in bed or it’s a slow burn? It’s like, “I’m going to move toward this project.” How do you decide who is going to help you?
Humanity has been chasing the Fountain of Youth since the beginning of time and the story is typically a group of explorers on a boat in some Amazonian region going after some temple for some elixir. The question that was interesting to pose is, is the Fountain of Youth here right now? Is it hiding in tens of thousands of scientific publications? If someone was willing to work hard to be exact in adherence, would it be possible? That’s what my team and I have been doing for over two years.
The team is roughly 30 people, we have specialists for everything. I believe I’m possibly the most measured person in all of history, more measurements have been taken in my body. We’ve taken that data and compared it against over a thousand peer-reviewed scientific publications. We’ve now implemented 200 scientific protocols. We do this process again and again. The thing that I like the best about this is what I hear, a response is first people say eggs are good for you and then they say eggs are bad for you. No one knows. They give up.
The objective of this endeavor was to say there are answers that are more right than other answers and you can punch through the noise. That’s why I’ve shared everything publicly. My protocol and my experiences, everyone can do it, they can replicate it, they can do it themselves, and get their own data. It is meant to try to move the entire world forward with something that stabilizes the discussion that we can, step by step, figure out the best things for us. Right now, it’s fractured into a million pieces and everyone’s opinion is of equal value.
There’s some thought that we’re physiologically similar and different. You’ll meet people, let’s say certain high-performance athletes, where they go, “I need animal protein.” They might get hunted animals and high quality and there are no hormones and things like that. For some people, vegan is the way, they feel better, think better, and everything reacts better. I believe that there are universal truths about well-being and then there are some nuanced buckets. Are you being the concentrated tablet that at least you go, “I’ve played the game by every rule.” How long are you going to keep doing this, by the way? Is this forever now?
You’re going to do this measured from now until?
You’re the concentrated tablet that you’re saying to people, “You can keep using me as a home base. You can keep watching me. We can keep measuring and then you implement how you can.” Is that the invitation?
The statement is before we used our brains and we had tribal debates almost like we do with religion where anybody can cite any chapter and verse and make up any religion. There’s the carnivore versus vegan battle and there’s the this and that battle. What I’m saying is let’s not do that, that’s silly and primal.
Let’s measure, let the organs and biological processes speak, look at the evidence, implement, measure, evidence, protocol, and do it again and again. Stop with this fighting, let’s follow the data and follow measurements. What outputs for somebody may be different but let’s go on the data and not someone’s opinion and that pushes the entire field forward. The difficulty is when you are relying upon someone expressing an opinion about a given thing.
The important idea on why I do forever is that compounded gains are the eighth under of the world. If you invest $1,000 today and you let it grow for 30 years, it can grow to be a big sum. The analogy of putting one grain of rice on a checkerboard and the first, two, four, and eight. Compounded gain growth is the eighth wonder of the world.
We love technology because technology grows at a compounded rate. Every time you make progress in technology, it’s stable, you build on top of it, the next layer, then on top again, and again. With human progress, we do make progress but we also make the same mistake thousands of times in our lives and we oftentimes can’t help ourselves but make the same problems.
We currently maintain we’re the smartest species on the planet. Also, we make the same mistake thousands of times in our lives, it’s a major flaw in our intelligence. With my health, I’m saying, “Why would I ever accept an error in my behavior because it sets me back? Why wouldn’t I accept a stable system that builds itself and it runs through the measurement and protocol process and I get to improve again and again?”
The question here is, as a species, can we systematically stop self-harm? The silliness of doing things that hurt us that cause accelerated aging, disease, misery, and all the bad stuff, can we stop it? Can we say, “We’re past it and we’re going to move on. We’re going to focus our gaze on this horizon, a new possibility.”
Blueprint seems like it’s about health and wellness, it is about the future of the human race. It’s a way we can imagine ourselves improving at a compounded rate not so that we’re super intelligent, maybe that’s where we go, but so that we can imagine evolving ourselves into something where these gains take us.
We leave certain behaviors or things behind. That’s why I wanted to come to talk to you because I have to tell you, I live in a world in so many ways. For the health part, I’m aligned. I’ve practiced being pretty healthy and disciplined for a long time. I live with an athlete but what’s interesting is he’s all feeling primal. Laird is almost somebody who’s going backward to go forward. I feel like this industrialized time got us off in a weird place.
To me, when you talk, it feels like you are somebody who’s saying, “If we’re going to live in this world the way it is with technology and computers and we’re not going to be in nature getting water from the stream, we’re going to have to build or construct a real plan.” As somebody who feels more sloppy and messy, it’s fascinating to me because maybe it’s the way it has to get answered.
I always find it to be an interesting thought experiment. Imagine a dinner party happening in 2050 and they’re reflecting on how people behaved in 2023 and let’s say they’re poking fun at us as we do with people who live before us and the things they did. What would be fun is imagining what would they say about us.
Even in the year 2100, they take whatever timescale you want and they could say things like, “Can you believe they used to celebrate a night out drinking with friends and not get ideal sleep? Can you believe they used to put pressure on each other to do these self-destructive behaviors? Can you believe that they used to believe in their own feelings about what to do with their body and not?” This is not to say feelings don’t matter, it’s to say that there are also other ways to acquire data.
It’s an interesting possibility to pull ourselves out of this moment and contemplate what is possible and then see how that creates a difference between us now and then trying to be there before it becomes inevitable. To me, this feels like an obvious reality that the future is here in this regard, the technology is present, it’s capable, and the science works. The data I’ve shared demonstrates its efficacy. It challenges many of our core beliefs and identities.
For example, this idea that I would demote my conscious mind. With our perceived freedom of choice and our individual actions, there’s probably nothing more sacred that we hold as a society and because it is, we protect it with everything we have. It’s outside of the realm of reality for most people to think, “I’m not going to have my mind evolved anymore. Let my body just run it.” That’s wild and counterintuitive and it’s almost offensive to people because it feels like it’s robbing them of their sacredness.
Instinct feels outside of parts of our chemistry. What does instinct mean to you? Do you think that’s an illusion? How does that show up for you?
On words such as feelings and instinct, there are the best technologies to try to capture phenomena. With an instinct, we’re simply saying there’s some biochemical reaction happening in our bodies, it produces some feeling that pattern matches in our brain, and it concludes something. Behind that intuition is data, there’s something happening. I’m interested in that data, it’s a more granular way to understand what intuition is, and it’s a more granular way to understand what is going on. Intuition is our best effort up until this point. Now, we can do better.
Meaning we can identify what’s happening? How can we do better? You have kids and I have kids. I have three daughters. I’m always encouraging them, “When you get that little thought or feeling, pay attention. Don’t put it at bay. Don’t shove it down. It doesn’t mean you have to start freaking out or worry or think a big opinion about someone or a situation but keep listening to that unknown phenomenon.” What do you mean about now you can understand? Is it in a way that now we can develop it or honor it? How do you feel?
In circumstances where somebody meets somebody.
Do you mean they have a bad feeling?
Exactly. They say, “I felt something was off.” Those are skills that our species have evolved over a long time and we probably shouldn’t ignore them. What I’m suggesting on the intuition side is if I’m managing my health and I’m walking through my kitchen and I say, “What do I need? It’s a banana.” That’s the way I feed myself. Could it work? It’s not my preferred way of trying to figure out what the body needs. I would rather look at measurement.
[bctt tweet=”Blueprint seems like it’s about health and wellness, it is about the future of the human race.”]
I’m doing this at my company, Kernel, where we’ve built this brain imaging device. For example, I wore it while having been administered ketamine. I did a psychedelic experience. When people have experiences, you do the psychedelic experience, you come out of it, and it’s like, “How was it? What did you feel?” You have this freshness of experience. A week later, when you report, it’s different because a week has passed and you change your opinion because your memory has changed your experience. A month later, it’s different even more, and a year later.
With our interface, we have a digital recording of what happened in your brain in that process. It’s a memory that’s captured in 0s and 1s versus this memory, which moves about over time. All I’m trying to say is that measurement of the body allows us to observe things and see things that we’re otherwise blinded to.
It’s not to say that instinct is not valuable, it’s not to say that our feelings are not viable, it’s only to say that as we pair them up, it creates a higher fidelity picture. If people are debating this and they’re stuck, everyone digs in, like, “I’m into this thing,” there’s a way to figure out how to break the log jam. We announced the Rejuvenation Olympics.
You’re smart, you’re gamifying things. There you go.
This uses a longitudinal study based out of New Zealand, over a thousand participants, and over five decades. They have the highest retention rate. They’ve measured these people consistently across this whole battery of tests. If they look at DNA methylation patterns, this algorithm does, it shows you your speed of aging. How fast is your biological clock going? Are you aging at one where you should be or faster than 1, 1.2, or 1.3, or slower, 0.76 where mine was?
If you could run a test and say, “Let’s have a person who walks about in the world and uses their feelings to decide what they want to eat. Let’s have another person do this measurement protocol and let’s see what their speed of aging is relative to what their biological processes are doing.” The whole objective is in this wild world where everyone has an opinion, it’s equally strong and people feel like they can’t tell the difference between what to do and now you can. The technology and measurement are there to punch through and say, “We can find ways to do things that benefit the body.”
My mind can’t help but jump around to Italians or the French or people who start dinner at 12:30. I can see other cultures. Did you ever read the book The Culture Code? It’s interesting that it talks about different codes in different cultures and how the Japanese thought how foolish we were because we married for love. It’s ridiculous. What about practical companions and things like that?
I’m interested because I see what you’re saying and then the biggest question most of us have is, what are we doing here? What’s this meaning? What is the meaning of life? That changes so many times throughout life. When you say, “I’m in now and this is how I’m living,” that means all of your relationships. Everything is sort of around this.
Does this shift the meaning or is this also part of your personal mission? Part of what you’re doing here is now saying, “I can contribute this information and whoever can benefit from it will do that.” In a way, it’s a sacrifice. It’s maybe not from your point of view but some of the unexpected of life or spontaneity. Maybe some people like some of the mess. Do you know what I mean?
I know part of that is not healthy behavior or it’s self-sabotaging but there’s sometimes that invisible thing about life. Maybe you’re the concentrated tablet. There are people like you who put you in the water and then we all get the hue but you have to be the one. Does that ever bother you? Are like, “No, this is part of my mission.”
In the meaning of life question, there’s more information in a person’s response about it reflecting its time and place than the actual answer. There’s no correct answer about the meaning of life. If you pose this question to some is somebody in the year 1500, 1600, or whatever, whatever the data is, the person responds, that simply is information on, what does that culture care about? That’s it. It’s a mirror of that culture of no other value.
For me, the objective here is, lucky, yes, we exist. If we’re going to play games together, let’s solve the most basic thing about this game. Let’s not stop playing the game and let’s not be on the bench because we can’t play the game. Let’s not be out injured. Let’s not be watching from a sick bed. Let’s be playing together. If you say, “Let’s play. We’re going to play together and it’s going to be fun.” Everyone can have their own gameplay. Everyone can have their own meaning, they can have their own justification for existing.” Wonderful.
If you say, “What are the things that are stopping that gameplay from happening?” First, I’m committing devastating self-harm naturally. I’m eating foods that are not good for me. I’m binging on alcohol. Whatever the thing any of us are doing, we are accelerating disease, age, and death. If we stop that self-harm within ourselves, maybe we stop harm between each other. If we do it with each other, maybe we stop harm on planet earth. The core of our problems is harm that we are violent within ourselves, with each other, and the planet.
When we talk about these ideas of what we want to do as a species and what’s our meaning and what are our goals, harm is at the basis of all these things. I achieved world peace within Bryan. I got everyone to agree, we’re cool. We’re going to cooperate and we’re fine. I call this goal alignment. You hear this lot in the tech world where we say we’re scared of AI because it’s not goal-aligned with humans. Humans are not goal-aligned. An individual is not goal-aligned. Within me, I’ve got hundreds of competing priorities and I had to get everyone on the same page and be like, “We’re going to be on the same team doing the same thing. Could we want to play this game?”
I have to say that you said a version of that at the beginning of the conversation but with that answer, I could feel differently the feeling in that too. I know it’s thinking, feeling, and all of that, and taking some of that away. I appreciate that part of it. Maybe let’s dive in. You’re recording over 200 data points every day or something like that and you have an expert of people behind you. Your new company, Kernel, it’s not like what people think. You have Blueprint.
People are going to wonder, is this hope like, “If we get this right and we can condense this information and test and drill down on something and have something that people can utilize, that’ll be what comes out of this.” What does a day look like? I’m glad you have cacao here, that’s so nice. What does it look like?
Also, getting started, was it easy or was it challenging for you? Were you like, “Lock and load. I’m one of those people. Once I make up my mind, I’m good.” Also, the adjustment of the people around you, tell me about that. Did you have a family sit down with the kids? I know they’re young adults and whatever but were you like, “I’m going to embark on this.” How did you approach that? This is a big commitment or a shift.
One of the most amusing things about the whole thing was when I fired Evening Bryan, I said, “Bryan, from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM, you no longer have the authority to eat food under any circumstance. It doesn’t matter if there’s a special occasion, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t eaten for four days, and it’s the only window you have to eat and you’re stuck somewhere in the desert, no exceptions whatsoever.”
It was amusing to see when 5:00 PM struck and that evening Bryan came out, he would throw tantrums, he would punch holes in the wall, and he’d be on the floor crying. He would have every good excuse imaginable. He was like ChatGPT rolling out these reasons why he should be given an exception to the rules. I loved seeing this on display and I watched him behave just this once or this little. It was amazing. It was like watching this version of myself panic, wanting their control to do what they wanted.
The hardest part is to say, “No, you’re not going to do it because you’ll ruin life for everybody else.” Once I was able to succeed in that one little example, taking the worst version of myself and wrestling control over that person who no longer has the authority to do it, everything else became a baby step forward.
When people approach Blueprint, it feels overwhelming and it’s a lot. The best thing anybody can do is to start by identifying your worst version and wrestling control and then start layering on the baby steps. What a lot of people do is they’ll incorporate a few good things into their lives and then they feel pretty good about it and then their destructive behaviors become worse because now they feel entitled to do more because they’ve been a little bit good. Doing a little good ends up being a lot worse if you haven’t solved your self-destructive tendencies, and we all have them. We’re a self-destructive species.
Number two is my lifestyle, people view it from the outside and they think it’s ridiculous. It’s even more ridiculous than they realize because I haven’t shared everything I do. Nothing brings me greater joy. In terms of the last question you asked about adaptation, my friends and family laugh it off and we have a new norm. It’s cohesive, it’s fun, and it’s a joke. I provide a lot of humor for people because I am an aberration of a lot of norms, which is great. A lot of people fear disrupting their social lives and they get fearful about that and what other people will think. We all know when stuff happens, we change. Everyone changes and it’s fine. It’s confronting that and it works itself out.
The great thing about being a parent is you’re never cool or you’re always going to be weird or somewhat embarrassing on any level for your kids so that’s perfect, at least you’re doing something that it’s like, “I don’t eat past 5:00.” Hopefully, they don’t come over and then order pizza or something and then you have to smell it, I don’t know. I would kill somebody.
I have such a cool experience in high school. My house was a congregation house and so my friends came over all the time and everybody loved my mom. My mom substitute taught at my high school and she won the hearts of everybody. I would walk into the hall with my arm around my mom’s shoulder. Everyone loved her. I was proud of her because what a great person she is.
My son has done the same thing with me, he has fully adopted me. He celebrates my eccentricities and he’s proud of me. I go to his school with him. It’s been nice that he has not taken on a typical teenager discipline, a typical American teenager where there’s this expectation that one needs to be ashamed of their parents, which is ridiculous. I like that he has been courageous enough to say, “I don’t care what you guys think. I love my dad, we have a great relationship, and this is how we roll together.”
A lot of times, it’s mostly a natural breaking away. I have grown children and then I still have one of my daughters at home. What was that Mark Twain quote? It was amazing how much my father learned from when I was 12 to 21. They come back around. I am curious because you are highly measured and I was joking earlier that you’re the second person I’ve ever met that makes me talk a little more quietly and Rick Rubin being the other. It’s an involuntary response.
I know you’ve had a first career and a level of success and certain things are probably good. Let’s say life throws you something because it does. You have kids and things you care about, maybe a partner. It wasn’t on the schedule and it’s not planned and it’s hard. Are you responding differently than you used to because of Blueprint and this practice of two years? Also, what happens when you can’t solve or fix it? What do you do with that? That’s messy human stuff. What do you do with that?
It’s similar to how I learned with depression. Like the depressive mind delivers observations about reality that are not you, life delivers circumstances that are not you. It’s observing in a detached state and that’s the objective. I try to take everything in stride that I’m part of a bigger system, I play in it, and it’s out of my control what happens. We’re not trying to brute force existence but roll within it.
I want to talk about your routine and get into some of the brass tacks but I have to ask you one last human question. When I hear that passion and love, it’s something. Even within that, are you able to go into it or do you think, “I’m observing it and I’m going to roll with it.” If you were in love with someone and they’re like, “Bryan, it’s not working out. I want to eat at 7:30,” and you felt heartache, would it be something that you also process in that same attitude?
This one is a hard question for me to answer because, ultimately, I am unaware of how self-aware I am. I have a perception of myself of my own level of self-awareness but I don’t know. This is an opportunity for me to misstep and suggests I have more self-awareness than I do. I have emotions that I feel, I don’t know how strong they are compared to other people. I don’t know how to measure that. Many people have made the observation that I don’t experience emotion as intensely as they do or at least I don’t appear to.
That’s an important word.
Yeah. A lot of people do make this observation, they suspect I don’t but maybe I do internally and I don’t express it in ways that they understand it. I experience all the emotions that everyone experiences, I just don’t know to what intensity relative to them and their manifestation may be different than mine. Yes, I feel love, empathy, and pain. I don’t think there’s a part of the emotional spectrum I don’t experience.
Connecting to your message is also connecting to you a little bit. You have a unique way and it’s interesting to get to hear from your point of view. Asking questions is how we learn and know. I try really hard not to get sideways from my kids because that’s the one place that’s hard for me to be objective but I fail all the time.
You’re maybe too young but there used to be those punching clowns that would go down and come back up. I always try to be someone who’s like, “Let’s go down and come back up and be there.” I sometimes get hit down. I was wondering because it is a fascinating thing to me that you have a family and you do this and it’s an interesting balance.
What I was trying to convey was there were several people in the comment section of various things. I love them, I love the commentators, and I love the haters, I sincerely do. They’ve made observations that I am an AI or I seem like an AI and it’s funny to me. I’m trying to acknowledge them, like, “I hear you. I think I have emotional experiences, maybe I don’t.” I’m trying to acknowledge the humor in how people experience me in their observations. I have this own internal thing that I experience and I don’t know how to make up the difference. That’s it, it’s funny, and it’s a great area to explore.
I do, too. Tell me about Blueprint, how long did it take to get the iteration of where you are now in place and what was the process of everyone whiteboarding what you were going to be putting yourself through, and what needed to happen?
It’s taken us two years and we’re improving all the time. It’s a process where people are accustomed to the idea of chronological age so the moment you left your mother’s womb. A concept that is new for people is biological age. If we look at somebody who’s 16, we can identify biological characteristics that are unique to a 16-year-old and we know they’re different than an 80-year-old. We know that there’s a spectrum of biology.
My sons are 19 and 17 and my 17-year-old lives with me. Our objective is for me to be indistinguishable from my 17-year-old. If you take a blood panel of him and a blood plan of mine, were almost unidentifiable, you wouldn’t know which one came from whom, we’re that close. If you do an MRI of him and an MRI of me, you can tell the difference between him and me.
Is it bone density?
Yeah, he has different structural elements to his body than me. His thymus is different. Biologically, he’s different. We’re trying to make the biological age of each of my organs identical to an 18-year-old, and that’s the objective. It’s not a vanity project. It’s meant to say it feels great to be 18 and it’s not so great when you’re experiencing the deterioration of age. The question is, can each of us do that?
The objective of Blueprint was I’ve spent millions doing this and I make it available for free for everybody so that they can do it at the cost of the food and whatnot. It’s to try to change everyone’s perspective to a new norm. Going back to this gameplay, can we imagine rebuilding society so we are at this level all the time? We’re all in a biological rejuvenation, a constant state, and we move our minds to play a different game. We elevate to something else but that’s a norm now and we’re good and we can move past it.
Is it so that we can go to 100 with high-quality life playing this game and then biologically if it’s time or is this an idea, like, “We want to also push out to 150 years.” Is there a thought into that or is it first things first?
[bctt tweet=”Humanity has been chasing the Fountain of Youth since the beginning of time. The question that was interesting to pose is, is the Fountain of Youth here right now?”]
You can do this question two ways and they elicit different responses. One is if you say to somebody, “Do you want to live tomorrow?” I’ll ask you, do you want to live tomorrow?
The first thing that comes to mind besides the natural impulse of survival is I have a job to do with my family.
You have stuff to do. Imagine you arrive tomorrow night right before bedtime and I ask you the question, do you want to live tomorrow? What are you going to say?
It depends on what day it was and how the kids were. Of course, yes.
This first question is, at the end of each day, do we have something to look forward to tomorrow? That is the only time span that matters. It doesn’t matter what we think about living forever, it’s only, do you want to live tomorrow? If you frame it the other way and you say, do you want to live forever? It breaks people’s brains and they say, “I would be so bored. I would hate everything.”
I am married too, by the way. I’ve been with the same partner for over 27 years. We joke, Laird and I are like, “If you lived forever…” That’s not the offer when you get married, you think, “We could pull this for 70 years.” You better ask 24 hours before. That’s a good point.
That’s all we need, our human brains. Let’s work for a 24-hour period of time. Do you have stuff to do tomorrow? The question as it’s been framed in our culture and by media triggers a violent reaction and it’s unproductive because everyone benefits by being in a better state. Blueprint, I should clarify, this is not to say that the expectation is that each individual has the willpower to do this. It’s hard and it costs a lot of money. Even the stuff I make for free is hard.
The objective here is to say, “Society, we should make this default and, specifically, we should stop dedicating ourselves to addicting everybody to food, algorithms, and every kind of bad behavior. We should stop self-destructive behaviors, getting people to do bad things, and doing bad things ourselves. Stop it and build society so it’s normalized where everyone can be healthy.” If you go back to the 2050 thought experiment, they may look at us and be like, “Those people were insane. They had this self-harm machine where everyone had all the economic incentive to get people to perform the worst self-destructive behaviors and drive themselves into a hole.” It was madness.
Doesn’t that feel sometimes like an overwhelming undertaking? You mentioned the word technology, it seems like it’s all set up to keep us hooked on everything so we don’t have this freedom that you’re talking about. God forbid, we had harmony and we were kind to one another and then we’d be able to ask bigger questions or say, “The people who are in charge, what are they doing?” Whatever those things are. Do you keep your head down and say, “This is what I’m committed to and it’s good. I know that the world works the exact opposite way.” You keep each day.
I keep my head up. Looking down is going to give you a disordered perspective so it’s up. It is a trust that, not always, a decent probability is somehow correct answers naturally find themselves in a winning spot.
Like the truth.
I’m careful to not use the word truth because everyone has a different version of the truth.
This idea of whatever that is shows up. Is that energy or is that God? What is that? I know you were raised religiously. Is that an unknown? What is that for you?
It is not intelligible to me how any human could, with a straight face, take a position either in support of God’s existence or not. I don’t know how we do it. That argument, that disagreement has probably cost humanity more lives and more suffering. I’m not sure if we want to embrace that debate as the thing we kill each other over.
Whatever side of the debate someone takes, fine. Is it worth bloodshed? Is it worth us becoming tribal? I don’t know. It’s a tough one for me to understand why we have such strong opinions and it’s why I’m skeptical of our minds. I saw what my mind did to me, it was destroying me, I couldn’t stop it, and I was helpless against it. I only achieved proper health by removing it.
This is the same phenomenon that we use to fight and kill each other. The revolution that needs to happen on this planet is potentially demoting our minds and elevating ourselves and removing ourselves from the situation. We believe we are the problem solvers and we may be our worst enemy. The answer may be right in front of our faces, it’s just counterintuitive and hard to see.
There’s this funny comic you’ve probably seen where there’s a person searching under a street light on their hands and knees searching and a person walks by and says, “What are you doing?” “I’m looking for my keys.” “Where’d you last see them?” “Over there.” He says, “Why are you searching here?” He says, “This is where the light is.” We frequently look in the light for solutions even though the answers are elsewhere. This one, to me, is one of the more compelling solutions to pretty much everything that plagues us on this planet.
You must be astounded by what we call normal human behavior. You must be like, “Look at those people.” It must be foreign to you. It’s interesting. If you have that feeling and clarity about certain things, you must be like, “That looks hard.”
The same way that I was observing how I responded and how I was watching the different versions of myself responding to this is identical to how people around the world are responding to this now. There’s no difference between the arguments my brain was using against me and how I was throwing tantrums, acting out, and insulting myself about all things. It’s the same thing across the world. It’s this phenomenon that we have this shared space and these patterns are predictable and common. It’s why I love haters.
I got to adopt this philosophy. I want to hear it, why is that?
It’s beautiful. It’s the same thing that happens within you, you have your own haters within you. You know that they chirp in your brain all day every day, they’re your haters. You have your own comment section in your brain every day, “How’d you do in the interview today? What did you say? Are you sad about something you said? Did you phrase something incorrectly?” How many times is that going to loop? It’s this phenomenon that exists everywhere. We don’t want to denigrate them and call them trolls. We don’t want to say that they have no value to offer. It just is. We’re the sum of all things.
You get up around, what? 5:30? Maybe you could run me through the important supplements. You said till 9:30, I don’t know if it’s still the same, things are pretty laid out. There are no choices to be made. You’re going through your routine in your program. What does that look like?
I’ll go from memory here. I’ll walk you up until we started this morning. I track my sleep with three different measurement devices. I walk into my bathroom and I do my inner ear temp so I see my body temperature. An interesting outcome from my protocol has been my body runs roughly 2 to 3 degrees colder than normal. My body temp is around 95.8 or so. This is what happens when you are on caloric restriction, 25% fewer calories than normal. My body runs cooler and there’s compelling science to show a cooler running body lives longer.
2,150 calories a day on the button or did that change?
We changed it.
Only because this year I was born.
You were ready to turn it up a little.
For females, we know that calorie restriction is always good. Fasting, not so much. We can get into that. Now you’re down to 1,977.
Inner ear temp and then I weigh myself on a scale that gives me weight, body fat, water hydration, and a whole bunch of stuff. I then take certain supplements that I do on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, which is part of a protocol that changes all the time. I wash my face, walk downstairs, drink my Green Giant, and take 54 pills.
What’s in the Green Giant?
Chlorella powder to get spermidine, cinnamon, creatine, and collagen peptides, that’s it.
What’s your base?
Water. While I’m doing that, I have HRV therapy going on so I have this device I put on this part of my ear here and it stimulates my vagus nerve. I do that for 60 minutes from the morning I wake up until I do that. I have a light therapy device that uses red light therapy for hair growth.
Does that work?
This is a time of day when my son and I are in the same space in the kitchen so we’re talking about the day. He monologues about everything on his mind.
That’s lucky. That’s great that they’re talking to you.
It’s gorgeous. He monologues about everything he’s going through in life. He’s talking, I have an HRV device on my ear, I have red light therapy on my head, making my Green Giant, taking my 54 pills, and putting super veggie on the stove, which is a couple of pounds of vegetables and chocolate. I wrap that up and he goes to shower because he’s going to school. I go work out for an hour, come back in, and eat breakfast. I go upstairs.
The training, that’s designed. Are there two days of longer sustained elevated heart rate? Is there banging iron a little heavier? Is there a split in this recipe about what you guys think is going to work the best?
The workout I do is about 35 to 40 exercises. I do the same thing every day.
Let’s say the argument would be. Everybody always talks about adaptability. What’s the way that we’re going to continue to get gains? This is out of curiosity.
To measure the efficacy of my workout protocol, it all comes back to data. I have a medical-grade ultrasound machine in my clinic here at the house and sonographers specialized in muscle skeletal. They come and they look at my tendons and my ligaments. We measure my whole body looking at that and we compare what the workout protocol is doing.
If you take this to a bunch of specialists, you’re going to hear a cacophony of opinions, an unlimited number of people expressing opinions. This is not to say that what they’re saying may be better, it’s to say there are so many opinions that it’s hard to know what to do. All I’m saying is the protocol I’m doing, we measure and we look specifically at what’s happening in my body because of it. We’re tracking what’s happening. We have a closed loop.
If I do these fitness tests, I look at my VO2 max. I do a full lung assessment so I’m looking at my diaphragm and I’m looking at my respiratory pressure. We’re doing an ultrasound of my lungs. Am I breathing? We’re looking at hundreds of measurements. I always know what’s happening to my body and I know the inputs. It’s not to say that someone doesn’t know something better. It is to say I can baseline and measure what I’m doing and it brings clarity to the conversation. If somebody else wants to put something forward, wonderful, give us your data. Until that, I don’t know what to believe.
Are you enjoying the workouts?
Yes, I love it.
Do they show up differently from week to week? Even though the moves are the same, is there something within you that the same thing can be so different? Are you having a different relationship with the movements and how you’re doing them and how you feel?
I love my routine, it’s a ritual. This is not to say it’s the only thing I do physically. Also, my son and I go play basketball. I do trail running. We do trail hiking. We play tennis. I do a bunch of activities. As a base, every day I’m active and it gets my whole body ready. A lot of things I do is intense stretching. I’m not going after powerlifting. I’m not trying to build a ton of muscle.
Also, I do full-body MRIs. We looked at the full body quantification of my fat and my muscle. There are optimal clinical outcome ranges of fat muscle and I’m in the 99th percentile for optimal fat and optimal muscle. It’s a full-body measurement. At least we’re okay with where I’m at. Of all the data we have looking at people’s optimal clinical outcomes, I’m in the 99th percentile.
Let’s say you’re going outside and being in nature and you’re feeling great and you go on a hike and your son wants to go long and far and you’re on 1,977 calories. Are there times when you’re like, “I came up short today.” Have you had to contend with that a little bit?
This has been counterintuitive. I’m vegan and have caloric restrictions. A lot of people think when you pair those two, the person is going to become frail. My boys and I will go up to a trail, we hike this trail, it’s 3.5 miles, 1,500 feet in elevation, it’s tough, and we sprint it. The last time we did it, I smoked them for the first 31 minutes.
That was one of the most human things I’ve heard you say, you’re like, “I smoked those boys.”
I was leading them and I kept on turning back and I was like, “I’m going slower because of you guys. Can you pick it up?” They both beat me in the path in the last 500 meters as we sprinted to the finish line. I can hang with my athletic 17 and 19-year-old on a caloric restriction diet and vegan. I have the data and it suggests maybe this is a viable thing. What’s interesting is I eat this number of calories and a lot of people think, “You must have to modulate up and down according to your level of physical exertion.”
I don’t. I eat the same number of calories every single, and I never deviate. Somehow, my body figures it out.
Your body navigates that.
Some people have postulated it’s not sustainable long term, we’ll see. Right now, my body is stable, nothing’s changing, and I’ve done these peaks and valleys of exertion. We’re guided by the measurements.
Because we are hormones, rhythms, and all of these things, is it easier in certain weeks than in other weeks? Have you hit a stride where you feel pretty level and consistent?
[bctt tweet=”Blueprint grew out of chronic depression.”]
I’m remarkably stable. If you look at my sleep scores, for example, I’m 100% every single day of the week. That’s not true entirely all the time but generally speaking, it’s incredibly stable. My routines are non-negotiable. It’s funny, in the house, and our friends know this, when 8:30 PM strikes, we run to our bedrooms. We don’t play nice and social. Everyone knows it’s out.
Let yourself out.
Having that clear expectation is humorous so everyone is cool with it. The point is it’s a rigor of discipline that we have incorporated. I think of what we’re doing here as I’m a professional rejuvenation athlete. I’m not a biohacker, I’m not a hobbyist, I’m a professional athlete, and I’m going to treat myself as a professional athlete. When you have that kind of mindset, it’s an entirely different game.
Whereas for most people, if you think you’re trying to get along in life, it’s a different mentality versus you being serious about what you’re doing and you embrace that mentality. I don’t know why creative professionals go to work all day and they use their brains, they have to be their very best in their brains, not their bodies. They’re not shooting balls or kicking balls. Treat your brain like you’re a professional brain athlete.
You do your routine exercise and then what happens? You come in and you eat?
I eat breakfast, yep. I did a long therapy. I haven’t shared this publicly yet but we’ll share it in the future. We found some things in my lungs to rejuvenate age and I had COVID for the first time.
It’s funny when you talk about the lungs, I go, “I wonder if this could have good ramifications for long haul COVID or something like that.”
We’ve written this all up. Because I’ve been measuring myself over a two-year period of time, I have these measurements on my body, lungs, heart, and everything. I have a high degree of evidence of what COVID did to my body, it’s not good. The refrain I’ve heard most commonly is people get COVID and they say, “I had the sniffles for a few days, it’s bad, but I’m back and good.” The conversation ends.
This goes back to the thing of what we cannot see. I have measurements now to show what happened to my lungs and my heart, it’s not good. I’ll share this publicly. Having this data would change our opinions. It’s now pretty clear to me why people who had less robust health would die from this. It takes a pretty big toll on the body.
I had COVID very early in March of ‘20. After that, I started getting Afib. I went to the cardiologist and my heart is fine but the thought was maybe it was COVID, my age, hormone changes, and things like that. I’d be interested to hear about that one whenever you guys come out with it. You eat your breakfast. Does any of these foods represent something? Did you already have your chocolate in the morning with your son?
Before you work out?
After I have my breakfast. Of the 1,977 calories I have a day, the engineering challenge is how do you pack in all the nutrients the body needs to be in ideal health without a number of calories? Every calorie has to fight for its life.
Also, vegan. For certain things, there are more bioavailable things.
Every organ is asking for stuff and that’s why it’s 1,977 calories plus 104 supplements. That package, for me, gives my body exactly what it needs. To your point before, it’s going to vary from person to person. The principles, however, are going to be applicable. For breakfast, it’s cauliflower, broccoli, black lentils, mushrooms, garlic, and ginger.
I’m going to try it.
Over a month period of time, you would eat over 70 pounds of vegetables per month. It’s about 10X the fiber of a normal diet.
Do you heat this up or do you eat it as is?
Heat up. I puree mine.
Why do you do that? For ease of use or digestion absorption time?
There are benefits of mastication and I do masticate other stuff. The volume I eat is almost 1,000 milliliters. it’s a large volume so it’s for the time. I’d do that and then breakfast is this nutty pudding.
I was curious about the nutty pudding. The name is quite good. Did you ever hear the stuff that they would send? It was like nutty butter or nut butter where they would put a lot of nutrients in peanut butter and send it over to places like Africa where you couldn’t refrigerate. When you did this, I was like, “It’d be interesting.” What do you guys have in here?
Walnuts, macadamia nuts, flax seeds, sunflower lecithin, pomegranate juice, berries, and cinnamon.
This is a dessert.
Is there stevia in here?
What’s the after-kick? It’s interesting. Maybe it’s the chocolate.
People oftentimes love this dish, it’s their favorite dish because it tastes like dessert, and it’s topped with berries. It’s a fat dish because you’ve got a lot of the best nuts. You can’t sprinkle that with this chocolate. The way we think about chocolate, however, is the way how we think about Blueprint, there are five levels to think about it. The statement is chocolate is good for you and so people would think, “if I had a Snickers bar, at least a blank percent of it must be good for me.”
If you go to level two, it’s not just any chocolate, it’s not milk chocolate, but dark chocolate is good for you. If you go to the next level, non-dutch dark chocolate is good for you. Four, you say, non-dutch dark chocolate that does not have heavy metals in them. On the fifth level, it’s dark chocolate, non-dutch, and non-heavy metals from areas of the world that have the highest polyphenol count.
Some South American regions like Columbia have high polyphenols. Every time we do something at Blueprint, we have to look at it from all these different levels. If you stop at, “Chocolate is good for me,” you miss out on these benefits so you have to go down. This diet is representative of several years of tuning. It’s trying to be the perfect diet for the body. The same thing is true for olive oil so I eat two tablespoons a day of olive oil.
I’m going to taste your olive oil.
Be ready, it’s got a kick.
I can handle it.
I’ve got water to chase it if it kicks too much.
We have seven different ways we quantify the chemicals.
Is the chocolate for satisfaction or is it also for health benefits?
This is what my organs have asked for. This is not what my brain says.
My organs ask me a lot for chocolate. I don’t want to stop you. You eat and then what is the next part of your day look like? I’m sure you’ve made room for people like me and in case you have meetings and other tests, you’re talking about certain lung tests and things like that. You seem like somebody who’s probably well-scheduled and organized. Is there ever an I-don’t-know window like it’s free-floating?
What do you do? All of a sudden, if I gave you two hours and you were here, maybe no one else was here, what do you think you would lean into?
It would be an evaluation of what day of the week is it.
What needs to happen on the whole landscape of the week?
For example, is it a Saturday, a Monday, or a Wednesday? It depends on what day of the week it is when the window opens up.
Let’s say it’s a weekday.
I would prioritize the first scan, do my kids need anything? Number two is I would look at Kernel and Blueprint. Kernel and the technology it’s built works. Maybe what is the highest value thing that needs to happen for this company to move forward faster? The same thing for Blueprint, scanning all the possible actions that could be taken and then trying to identify the exact highest value thing to do. We’re always tempted to do easy things that check boxes and it’s hard to choose the hard thing that is meaningful. It’s identifying the hard things that are meaningful.
Are there things that you dread doing or you are systematic in your approach and you get it done?
I try to be dispassionate about it. If I look at something that seems hard, I try to sit with it and then overcome the inertia that would otherwise be invited and do it. It’s like working out in the morning, you don’t want to work out, you do your first set, and it’s like, “I’m good.” It’s that first little thing to go after a hard thing.
If it’s the weekend, do you watch a movie? Do you ever watch a movie or do anything like that or that’s not time well spent? Let’s say it was the weekend, the kids are cool, and everyone is doing their thing. What would you do for you if you had an extra bit of time?
Two things, one is I’d read, I read a lot. My son is going through something similar that I went through, he was raised in a religious environment. He left the religion as I did. He’s now reacquainting himself with the world without this structure being imposed upon him, which means he can now watch movies, read books, and play with ideas that were forbidden before.
I’ve been his guide exposing him to these different realities. I spend a lot of time walking through books I’ve read, ideas I’ve played with, and movies I’ve watched. We do that. I have one year with him before he goes to college and I try to give him as many models about reality as I can. It’s probably those two things.
What about the middle of the day? You get through work, your last meal, is it going to be at 5:00?
Your last meal is at noon. It opens up a lot of time. Isn’t it amazing how much time eating takes and thinking about eating and what you’re going to eat? It’s insane.
You’re a person from 2050 now saying this. Most people think this is such a non-negotiable part of our existence and it’s too sacred to touch. Your enthusiasm for what you were saying maybe represents somebody from the future. In an industrialized world, why are they still spending 50% of their metabolic energy trying to acquire food like hunter-gatherers? Why isn’t it automated?
This is a representation it feels like of where we’re going. The other idea of this is part of the time I live in Kauai, it’s a different lifestyle. A lot of times, the gathering and celebrating are around food. What it does for the spirit or the connection with our brothers and sisters arriving at this place feels like time well spent. It’s an interesting thing because if we’re living in this fast-paced world and we’ve got the technology and all this is rolling, maybe that makes sense. How do we survive that? How do we, the physical body, survive that? Sometimes I feel like it’s almost like two separate places. Sitting around would be a good thing.
I’ve been hosting these Blueprint brunches, I call it the First Supper. We meet here at this table and we make a full Blueprint spread so everybody has super veggie, nutty pudding, chocolate, and olive oil. We do serve berries with chocolate smother, 100% dark chocolate.
We use these two-hour windows and we talk about the future of intelligent existence. We’ve had world-leading scientists, engineers, astronauts, artists, and school teachers. We’ve had medical practitioners. We’ve had this wide assortment of people and we get together and I pose these thought experiments, some of which we’ve talked about, and we have a deeply engaging conversation.
They all follow a similar arc. Most are familiar with Blueprint to some level. We warm some things up, people introduce themselves, people are finding out where they’re at, who’s there, and all that stuff. We start these questions, people start giving these answers, and then somebody will hit vulnerability, they’ll be like, “Here’s the deal,” and it breaks it open.
Everyone starts being vulnerable and then everyone’s comfortable. There are some thought experiences that are controversial and some opinions will start going around and people start feeling a little bit of tension where people are setting off. We then do this reconciliation phase. In the end, everybody’s hugging and exchanging information. They leave saying it’s one of the most interesting and engaging conversations of their entire life.
They feel reprieve of not just having their brain focused on what’s for dinner or what’s the weather like or what’s happening in politics. They feel tremendously relieved. I run this Jeffersonian style so I moderate the conversation. Everybody talks and everyone contributes. There’s no one person that dominates. In social situations, there’ll be one person who wants to take over. I acknowledge the social value of interaction.
Blueprint is not antisocial, it is not something that ruins socialization. I found it enhances it because when you’re getting together and you’re doing this, it’s a level of connection that we’re doing something on different levels. It’s nourishing the body and the soul. We’re nourishing each other. I found my social environment and life much more enriched now than I did before.
Especially, if you don’t feel trapped within your own hell, probably everything else is probably more enjoyable. Let’s face it, if we can get peace in here to start. Health is everything and being able to have some sense of peace or homeostasis for yourself, then you can enjoy whatever it is you’re doing. I’m trying to be sensitive to time. I hear you talk about Zeroism. I’m fascinated. I ordered the book. If you could talk a little bit about that.
Among engineers, it’s common to hear people say, “From a first-principles perspective…” What they’re meaning is they want to say, “Given a certain constraint on time right now, what do we know about the universe?” If we follow what we know about the universe, what is the most basic thing we can say about the universe so we don’t have any assumptions? The absolute first principle.
When I was starting, years ago, to think about what do I do that could have a meaningful impact on people that existed in the year 2500, what would it be? I found that I would get stumped if I thought about that from a first principles perspective. You’re inherently constrained by what you know today now. You can take those things and extrapolate and make models.
One night, Zeroth-principle thinking came to me and it made total sense because I had been stumbling. How do you think about the future of existence in a way that exceeds your own imagination, it exceeds your own creativity, and it exceeds your own reach? Zeroth-principle thinking was a way to do it. One way to understand Zeroth-principle thinking is talent hits the target no one else can and genius hits the target no one else can see.
[bctt tweet=”Like the depressive mind delivers observations about reality that are not you, life delivers circumstances that are not you.”]
Talent is first-principles, it’s to clearly sift through all the assumptions and find out what can be known. Genius is Zeroth-principle thinking. An example of this is when AlphaGo, the AI, beat Lee Sedol. He was a nineteen-time world champion. When AlphaGo went against him, the commentators observed that AlphaGo was playing from a different dimension. It played moves that humans could have played but humans didn’t. it was a target that was present and nobody could see it. AlphaGo played moves that nobody could see. It was baffling for humans that this genius came onto the world stage.
The fundamental bet about our existence and the whole reason why this whole thing is in is this the nut of why the whole thing is interesting, what we’re talking about. Humans have largely built a society based upon first-principles thinking. A few times, Zerothe-principle thinking has come along. For example, Newton invented calculus. When they bring about these certain things, when I did special theory relativity, when we discover black holes, these certain things have fundamentally changed our understanding of reality and expanded our reality.
My hypothesis is the future of our existence is going to be defined by Zeroth-principle discoveries. It’s going to change at a scale and type that far exceeds our imagination. For us to be in a position to welcome that, we need to be in a good place where we can roll with it. That’s why getting our health is the most baby step of them all. Get everything working properly, get things working between us properly, and get things working with our planet properly. Let’s stop self-destruction and let’s roll with what these Zeroth-principle discoveries are going to happen because of AI.
What is the future of being human? It’s a Zeroth-principle world. The philosophy behind Blueprint is Zeroism and it’s the most exciting prospect of any existence that has ever been had by the human race. If we can situate ourselves to get ourselves in this flow, maybe existence could be more magnificent than we can even imagine from our current vantage point.
I can’t help but think that, in certain ways, you’re able to be analytical and you talked about sometimes a detached point of view. I know people because I get accused a lot by the people that are close to me or the observation is that I will process my emotions first before I’ll react. Compared to you, I’m like a crazy person. I have friends that are like, “That’s not your language.” There are groups of people. Even if they’re healthy, they’re emotional more. They’re moving in from their heart. Even if their organs were healthy, to be able to respond by like, “I’m assessing and now I’ll respond.” They’re responding. Is there going to be room for that when we talk about this?
Yeah. It’s a fascinating philosophical question, who’s in charge? It goes back to this basic concept. When you set your alarm for 5:00 AM, is that person in charge, or is 5:00 AM who wants to hit the snooze button in charge? When someone decides they’re not going to eat dessert because they have committed to themselves they’re not going to eat dessert and then dessert arrives, who’s in charge? We have this authority question.
The same thing when a person is aroused, feels fear, feels anger, or whatever, who’s in charge? This is what I was trying to solve, the authority question for me, who’s in charge? I said, “If I look back to my life, my mind has not been all that great to me, it’s bad to me. My mind gives me a lot of hate, it’s always telling me how awful I am. It leads me to all these self-destructive behaviors.” I was like, “You’ve had your time. You’ve not performed well. Time to give authority to the full body.” It has been the most liberating experience in my life and this is counterintuitive.
People think that Blueprint limits their freedom. It increases your freedom because you’re no longer subjugated by this tyrannical force of your mind. It’s hard for us to see this. The single observation we make about ourselves and our species that’s holding us back is we’re in a death grip holding on and thinking that we have the answers when we’re the biggest impediment to our own progress.
In whatever language, if you want to call it meditation or prayer, do you ever lob it up and say, “I have a question. I’m trying to do something or look for the right sign, signal, or idea.” Do you ever have a practice of that? Without it being in a box or religious, do you open yourself up that way to other inspirations?
I do, I look at the data.
I love this. This is why I wanted to talk to you. When I don’t understand something, I’m like, “I want to go and learn from how that person is thinking and understanding things.”
We did this funny experiment at Kernel where we were testing the effects of alcohol on the brain. We gave the placebo a low, high, and moderate dose of alcohol. We did blood alcohol level and behavioral impairment. We do fun stuff.
I had this vision of the newbie and he had to drink or she had to drink the most and who knows what they made.
In Kernel, what do we do? We do psychedelics and give people alcohol. We were looking at impairment. We did a behavioral test. When a person had a low amount of alcohol, their behavior was unimpaired. They would do behavioral exercises and it was like, “That person is not impaired. They’re fine.” We could see impairment in their brain. We can see with this imaging device impairment happening but their behavior doesn’t show itself.
From the outside in, you’re looking at it like, “They’re fine.” The brain just compensates for the impairment. We give them a high dose and their brain could no longer compensate for the impairment so their behavior changed. Also, the person’s observations of themselves, they’d say, “I’m not impaired.” A person’s observation about themself was absolutely unreliable.
There was zero connection to reality between what the person observed about their impairment and what was true. Every time I read something or do these experiments, the data is pretty compelling that our observations about ourselves need to be looked at carefully because it sometimes can be far away from the truth and these tests show that.
That’s how I get through my days, Bryan. I tell myself a lot of stories. Also, do you still do three ounces of wine or are there too many calories in there?
It’s too expensive.
70 calories for three ounces and I couldn’t fit it in. I don’t have the budget for it.
I do half a Brazil nut in the nutty pudding.
Are you still doing any metformin, NMN, or rapamycin a couple of times a week? Is that still part of the program?
Yes, it’s 2,000 milligrams a day of Metformin.
Out of curiosity, I had a friend and we were talking about it. If somehow the data showed up that you needed medication, and you could say rapamycin or metformin is considered “medication” but let’s say something else for something, would you be willing to take something like that? It’d be hard because of your levels, everything is measured. If something showed up that a certain medicine would help you, would you be open to doing that?
Who’s in charge? It’s not me, it’s the system of measurement to evidence to protocol. I’m not going to respond with yes or no. It’s the system, I follow the system. it’s a source of authority.
What’s your dream? We’re going to play the game. Do you have an expectation? This takes a lot of patience on your part and you’ve given away all this information. By the way, for people reading, your supplement protocol, which is extensive, is online.
I want to direct people to that. What does it look like? Is it in five more years that you provide blood tests and Blueprint or Kernel are providing all these other ways to support this program? What does that look like while you’re waiting to see?
I’m exploring that now. The Rejuvenation Olympics is a good one for someone to do because it’s a finger prick and you get a score for your pace of aging, which is like a single report card number for all you’re doing. It’s a nice way to do one thing and get a full-body health report card. We launched it to gamify it but then also to punch through it. This test can be a scorecard for you, your physician, your favorite health guru, your favorite celebrity guru, or your favorite critic. We can use data instead of words to try to slice through the noise.
Justin, you got a one-minute question. Do you have one? I wanted to ask, do you have to watch out how much sex and stuff you have? We can do that another time. I don’t know if that’s too expensive. I see in your eyes, Bryan, you don’t want to answer that question.
Yes. Is there a limit to expenditure?
Did you find I had any boundary conditions?
I’m trying to honor you. That’s a guy question, “Can you have as much sex as you want?” That’s energy. In the data, it would show energy. Is there a way? It must be interesting. Is it like, “I try to do it a couple of times.” If you have a partner who you’re with, is it spontaneous?
Is it regimented?
There’s a time. Obviously, it has to be done by 8:30. It’s like, “I’m going to bed.” With women, we can be fickle. We can be like, “I’m tired,” or, “I’m revved up,” or whatever, and then you’re like, “Sweetie, it’s eight 8:20.” What do you do? I want you to come to my house and meet my husband because it would be amazing to have conversations. Are you like, “I’m ready.”
First, this conversation around sex, if we look at it, there’s this giant number of social norms around the topic and people feel like they have to dance around it. even the discomfort you felt, you were dancing in your sleeve.
I don’t know you and I want to honor you. If we were at a real dinner and not on camera, I’d be like, “I got to ask you.” I know libido is a big thing, you’ve talked about that as an important part of health. Is there room or fluidity in your life for it?
I’ll tell you one thing I’m doing related to this. As part of our experimentation, we found a technology, it’s high-frequency electromagnetic stimulation. You’ve maybe seen this before where people do this to build apps. They put this device on and create 20,000 sit-ups. It takes your body beyond. We were experimenting with this technology. Part of what the technology can do is you can strengthen your pelvic floor. Women primarily use this after having babies.
You sit on this little circle and you move around and you find the exact spot and then it pulses and it grabs everything. It’s like a kegel but it’s much more powerful and it pulses and it’s flexing the muscles on the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is not something you think about when you think about a gym. Gyms are advertising biceps, they’re not advertising how to kick ass pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is important, as women know, for a lot of things like post having babies and other things. The pelvic floor is also important to men because the entire muscle structure down there atrophies with age. We start playing around with this device. Should we leave this as a hanger?
No. It’s working for the men as well.
Funny enough, the number and intensity of nighttime erections I had dramatically increased and that turned our attention to the scientific literature of, what does the biological age profile look like of male nighttime erections? If you dig into the literature, you see clear graphs that, with age, the number, frequency, and intensity of nighttime erections go down in time. Strengthening the pelvic floor reverses that.
All things like Blueprint, it’s an organ, it’s a biological function, and it has a relationship to aging. This frequently happens in Blueprint where we start with a certain area of exploration and then we have this offshoot we never expected to happen. We dig into the literature and we look at what this looks like. The question becomes, what is the profile of an 18-year-old’s nighttime erection? Frequency and strength. It comes back to putting the system in. Is that an achievable thing with the technology we have today? If you think about everyone wanting to be well and healthy.
That’s an indication of good health.
Sexual health is a big one in society. It’d be great if we could talk about these things without the cloudiness of the taboo. It’s a natural function. It can be openly discussed. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Blueprint is fun.
Do you mean sex is fun? It is, of course. Blueprint is fun because you’re getting to play and you’re learning how the same root cause can impact everything positively.
What would be the number one place you’d want to drive people to learn more about either Kernel or Blueprint or you?
I mostly hang out publicly on Twitter. Most of everything I do is on my Blueprint website. I’ve spent millions of dollars and it’s all available at no cost. Anybody can test whether it’s for real. No one has to believe me. You can do your own tests. My friends and family have implemented this and lives are changed.
People walk into this with skepticism and apprehension and then once they do it, they can’t imagine existence without it. It happens pretty quickly but they go through the same predictable stages every time. Much of our life is so predictable. People can do it and adopt it and incorporate it into their lives and I would encourage people to do so. Life will be more enjoyable for them if they do so.
Even if you’re emotional, it still will be. I’m teasing you. Bryan, I appreciate your time and for sharing what you’re doing. I’ll come back in 2050 when you’re 25 and I’m 90, 80, or however old I’m going to be and recheck in and see if we laugh about how crazy we’re acting right now.
That’s right. Sounds good.
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About Bryan Johnson
Bryan Johnson is the world’s most measured human. Johnson sold his company, Braintree Venmo, to PayPal for $800m in 2013. Since then, he’s been investing millions to slow and reverse his aging. In 2021, he set a World Record by reducing his epigenetic age by 5.1 years in 7 months. Johnson publicly blogs, sharing at no cost his protocols, data and learnings for others to implement and improve upon. Project Blueprint, is an endeavor to achieve humanity and earth scale cooperation starting within Self.
In 2023, Johnson launched Rejuvenation Olympics, an epigenetic leaderboard assessing one’s speed of aging. Of the 1,750 people who have been using this state-of-the-art aging algorithm to track their progress longitudinally, Johnson ranks #1 in speed of age reduction.
Johnson is also the founder & CEO of Kernel, creator of the world’s first mainstream non-invasive neuroimaging system; and OS Fund, where he invested $100M in the predictable engineering of atoms, molecules, and organisms into companies now collectively valued over $6B. He is an outdoor adventure enthusiast, pilot, and author of children’s books, Code 7 and The Proto Project.