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There’s more to life than dietary supplements

Maintaining “maximum efficiency”: is it really worth it? Getty

As the practitioner of a lifestyle that is “de-optimised to the point of irrationality”, says James Marriott in The Times, I consider myself a “natural adversary” of Dr Andrew Huberman. I will never, as the neuroscientist and lifestyle guru advised last week, ingest “exotic collations of dietary supplements” or confine myself to a room illuminated by red lightbulbs. My favourite “Hubermanism” was his advice to watch the sun set each evening – not because it is beautiful, but because when the sun is low, “blue and yellow wavelength contrast is enhanced… activating the biological circuits that support mental and physical health”. By comparison, Mr Gradgrind is a “rank sentimentalist”.

What I object to above all is the idea that human beings are little more than organic machines, “requiring carefully calibrated inputs to maintain maximum efficiency”. Yet this mechanistic view of our bodies and minds – and an envy for the “perfection” of machines – has a sadly wide appeal in an age that has become “insecure about the human condition and its limitations”. Today, we fear that humanity is “not only weak but evil”; that we are the “murderers of rare species, the arsonists of rainforests, the polluters of the skies”. We should remember the uplifting words of the 15th-century architect and humanist Leon Battista Alberti: we humans have been blessed with “a body more graceful than other animals”; “wit, reason, memory”; and “most sharp and delicate senses”. We might be terrible sinners, but we should not forget to regard humanity with “a measure of awe”.