Episode 3: Wearable Wellness, Biohacking, and the Quest for Immortality

Wellness is a $4.2 trillion industry, but what even is wellness? And can living well enable us – or at least a few billionaires – to live forever? In this episode, we investigate the information and misinformation surrounding wearable, biohacking, and consciousness hacking. The episode focuses in detail on Silicon Valley tech magnate Bryan Johnson, who is using these phenomena in order to reverse his aging and crack the immortality code. By honing in on Johnson, we open a window into the slippery and subjective nature of wellness claims, and how they often become misinformation. We talk about the neoliberal quantification of the self, and how wellness overlaps with spirituality, creating problems for how to evaluate claims made online. And GOOP. There is GOOP. Lots of it.

For more information about research-based media by Axis Mundi Media visit: www.axismundi.us

For more information about public scholarship by the Institute for Religion, Media, and Civic Engagement follow us @irmceorg or go to www.irmce.org

Funding for this series has been generously provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. 

Creator: Dr. Susannah Crockford

Executive Producer: Dr. Bradley Onishi (@bradleyonishi) 

Audio Engineer: Scott Okamoto (@rsokamoto)

Production Assistance: Kari Onishi 

Dr. Susannah Crockford (@suscrockford): Ripples of the Universe: Spirituality in Sedona, Arizona

Further Reading:

Karppi, Tero, Aleena Chia, and Ana Jorge. “In the mood for disconnection.” Convergence 27, no. 6 (2021): 1599-1614.

Chia, Aleena. “Virtual lucidity: A media archaeology of dream hacking wearables.” communication+ 1 7, no. 2 (2019): 6.

Chia, Aleena, and Joshua Neves. “The Data Pharmacy: Wearables from Sensing to Stimulation.” Media Theory 6, no. 2 (2022): 78-110.

Lupton, Deborah. The Quantified Self. John Wiley & Sons, 2016.

Crockford, Susannah. Ripples of the Universe: Spirituality in Sedona, Arizona. University of Chicago Press, 2021. 

Crockford, Susannah. “What Do Jade Eggs Tell Us About the Category “Esotericism”? Spirituality, Neoliberalism, Secrecy, and Commodities.” In New Approaches to the Study of Esotericism, edited by Egil Asprem and Julian Strube, 201-16. Leiden: Brill, 2021.

Cederström, Carl, and André Spicer.

The Wellness Syndrome

. Cambridge: Polity, 2015.

Barassi, Veronica. “Algorithmic Violence In Everyday Life And The Role Of Media Anthropology” in the Routledge Companion to Media Anthropology, 2022. 

Gault, Matthew. “Amazon Introduces Tiny ‘ZenBooths’ for Stressed-Out Warehouse Workers,” Vice, 21 May 2021, https://www.vice.com/en/article/wx5nmw/amazon-introduces-tiny-zenbooths-for-stressed-out-warehouse-workers 

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