In the new era, old age may well follow on directly from prolonged adolescence. The young-old of the future will be even less prepared to accept forgetfulness, any more than failing eyesight or declining libido, as a natural sign of growing old. Newly in love senior citizens will know that the pain of separation they experience is caused by lower serotonin levels and will ask for a drug to boost them.
The lifting of temporal and geographical constraints on communication nurtures the illusion of unlimited accessibility and mobility. Just as the libertarian phase of capitalism offered ways for the individual to optimise his or her external appearance and status, so the imperative of the future will be to optimise cognitive and emotional resources as well. The availability of an unlimited supply of effective neuro-enhancers, the opportunity to exchange experiences of using them with others via the Internet, and the utilitarian approach to ethics taken by many individuals, are all preparing the ground for the market success of substances that today are still being experimented with in the laboratory.
The psychologically relevant question of how the self will relate to a mood-enhanced, more capable version of itself is rendered irrelevant by the fact that the requirements of the new capitalist reality make an individual improvement of this kind appear a highly desirable option. Indeed, as a consumer and commodity value appropriate to capitalism, it has already been in currency for some time. Alongside globalisation – the capitalist rationalisation of space and time – we are witnessing the epistemic and technical rationalisation of the neuronal foundations of the self, or what Walker Percy called the abstraction of the self from itself.”—Eurozine - Neurocapitalism - Ewa Hess, Hennric Jokeit (via Instapaper)