IEET > Rights > HealthLongevity > Vision > Bioculture > Affiliate Scholar > Hank Pellissier
Future Beautiful Identical People - is this horribly icky, or sexy wonderful?
Hank Pellissier   Feb 12, 2014   Brighter Brains  

Let’s imagine you’re beamed forward to 2025 Gangnam South Korea… You materialize in a party room filled with twenty lovely happy humans smiling flirting laughing but… there’s… something.. .wrong… strange… weird…

Let’s imagine you’re beamed forward to 2025 Gangnam South Korea… You materialize in a party room filled with twenty lovely happy humans smiling flirting laughing but… there’s… something.. .wrong… strange… weird…

Staring confusedly, then shuddering, you realize:

“everybody looks… exactly the same! aaagh!…. what is this? a clone chamber?… there’s two genders but otherwise… everyone’s identical… same wide eyes, full lips, sleek physiques, ivory teeth, arching eyebrows, elfish nose… freeeeaaky!”

Nervously you approach the bar to guzzle a fizzy beverage. People approach you, they’re friendly, you chat, you admire how everyone’s so “easy on the eyes.”

Slowly you notice subtle differences. His legs a little longer, her breasts a little larger, she has a mole, he has a goatee…

Relaxing, you drink more, you giggle, mix, backslap.

After an hour you need to piss so you head to the toilet, glancing in the mirror there you notice - YIKES! You’re ONE OF THEM!

You’ve lost your old familiar ugly face! You’re someone else! HEELP!

With trembling fingers you try to scrape away, scrub off the new face… sobbing, you fail…

but then… peeking in the mirror, a bizarre joy enters your brain…

“Damn! Soooo beauuuutiful! I’m looking at one of the best-looking humans EVER…!”

You stare intently. Wow! Your new head. Your whole body. You take off your shirt and gasp “what a lovely shape I am!”

You realize… you don’t want your flabby ass back. Your beady eyes bad hair blemished skin. You like the NEW YOU. You shout out loud:

“I’m sexy! I’m fantastic! With this new look I can do anything!”

Beaming with self-infatuation and confident pride you return to the party and make twenty new friends who all totally love you.


Is the scenario above optimistically stupid? I don’t think so.

Do you think a future world of lookalike beauties would be alienating, depressing? I disagree.

You hate plastic surgery and despise people who do it?

Excuse me, I regard your opinion as very self-righteous, out-dated, intolerant, and regressive, and I don’t mean that in a nice way.

South Korea is currently the world leader in cosmetic surgery - 20% of the women between 19-49 in Seoul have gone “under the knife.”

Clinics for men are proliferating also, promising a strong-but-sensitive soap opera star sultriness.

Other nations are also slicing forward - Brazil leads in buttock operations and vaginal rejuvenations, and Greece has leaped ahead in penis enlargement.

Miss South Korea 2012, Kim Yu-Mi, was an ugly duckling in high school, but nip ‘n tuck excised her flaws. 2013’s contestants for the SK beauty queen title all looked incredibly similar. Many bloggers decry the trend in South Korea as “unnatural”, “addiction” “unnerving”, “Samsung Robots,” “plastic poisoning”, and “a clone parade.”

Cosmetic surgery opponents often say South Koreans are racing towards similarity because they want to look like Americans. Ha! The main trend of the Super-Size Nation is towards obesity, estimated to be 66% in several states by 2030.

Critics of cosmetic improvement mutter that “beauty is only on the inside” and other false maxims, but South Koreans and the rest of the planet recognize the politically-incorrect truth - physically attractive people aren’t just more likely to attract the opposite sex, they are also less likely to be ignored in a room, more likely to be hired, more likely to be paid more for a job, less likely to be fired, even less likely to be perceived as guilty when they’ve been charged with a crime.

(References: Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful; Survival of the Prettiest; and Do good-looking people have a better life?)

The Ugly Truth Is—Beauty is Better.

Why are many people bioethical prudes on the subject of cosmetic surgery? Are they religious, believing we cheat “God” if we tamper with His Work? No… If that was a majority POV, why are newborn American boys circumcised at birth? Additionally, we mend cleft palates at infancy and remove extra fingers and toes.

Enemies also relish the tales of plastic surgery gone awry, to assert their POV that techno-beautification just “doesn’t work.” These anti-plastic progress folks remind me of troglodytes 100 years ago that resisted the automobile, due to accidents and blown radiators…

What are the real reasons behind the gripes? Perhaps two are:

1) Some people think they’re maximum high class hotties already, and those that aren’t as lucky deserve to suffer, like untouchables,

2) If we view ourselves as homely, we don’t want to confess our insecurity to the public via a fixit operation.

I suspect many people flutter in a self-deceptive fog, mumbling plaintively, “I Like My Face” even though they really do want multiple improvements, or a major overhaul…

South Koreans don’t have this hang-up. They are asking each other admiringly, “where’d you get your nose?” They’re thrilled that modern technology can liberate them from Darwinian beastliness, giving them the face and form they desire.

This transhumanist attitude is a progressive step forward. We select our clothes, hobbies, friends, and careers… we even demand the right to decide whether we Die, or not…. so…

Let’s assume total control of our exterior biological appearance!

Transsexuals enjoy cosmetic surgery, and we support them.

Biohackers enjoy magnets in their ears and RFID chips in their fingers - we thrill at these enhancements.

We prettify our nails, wax our pubes, shave our legs, freeze off unwanted moles…

Let’s manage the entire anatomy.

South Korea - I support your leadership in the cosmetic surgery field. I support anyone everyone who want to “upgrade” the aesthetics of their physical form. Girls with Neanderthal jaws. Boys with piggy eyes. Fat-cheeked matrons. Raisin-wrinkled CEOs. Go for it! Let everyone look exactly how they want. Maybe they want to be Barbie or Ken, or a movie star, or their mother, or a reptile, or an historical character.

Reader, you disagree?

In 10-20 years, you fret, we won’t be able to tell each other apart because we’ll all be identically gorgeous…

We will lose our personal identities, because they are based on… what? Fleshly imperfections? That’s your actual concern? Really?

If it is, don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be that way. You personally can do something about the situation. All by yourself. You - alone - can remain who you are - stubborn and cheap. You can be…

The Last Ugly Person on Earth.

Hank Pellissier serves as IEET Managing Director and is an IEET Affiliate Scholar.


I can imagine “quirky” attractiveness commanding a premium when everyone looks sort of blandly, statistically attractive.

Overall, I certainly do agree that it is time that we cast off our negative attitudes towards cosmetic surgery. It is simply another form of self-modification that often leads to greater satisfaction for an individual.

However, this does not mean that the future will be comprised of individuals who are identical. As is evidenced through other forms of autonomy generally and body modification more specifically, people possess varied interests and attractions. Hence, if I was to have my facial features cosmetically altered, they may very well differ from those that another would seek to possess.

I have a great deal of respect for those who choose to alter their appearance as a means of striving for their ideal concept of beauty. For myself, I must first say that I have quite varied interests, and as an undergraduate student, despite my all encompassing academic pursuits, am honing in on a field within the sciences.

However, I have always been a visual artist, and have spent a great deal of my life creating works that speak to beauty from my perspective. Are my facial features perfect? Certainly not. In this, though, lies my contradictory nature, which stems from my artistic inclinations; I find imperfections to be mesmerizing, even erotic. I love my face. Not because it is beautiful, but because I view my face as I do a piece of art. The artist in me would have little to be entranced and attracted to if each face, including my own, shared the same features. It is those differences, the asymmetry and imperfections, that capture my imagination and get my blood pumping.

Given this, I would not be upset by such a shift in trends as a result of any archaic inclinations. I am quite aware of the selfishness in my feelings, as it is for the sake of my visual pleasure that I would be saddened. As this is the case, I would wish that people will do as they please; if this means that variation in facial features decreases or disappears, then so be it. One of the most exciting aspects of having a strong imagination is the ability to conjure up self-pleasing fantasies!

On the topic of maintaining a youthful countenance, I can see myself submitting to such rejuvenation in time (unless I was blessed with particularly pleasing wrinkles, but I can’t see this happening - most elderly men that I’ve encountered have far more attractive wrinkle patterns than do the women).

All in all, I suppose that I haven’t contributed anything worthwhile. I am a chronic lurker; I have been for years. Expressing my thoughts in this fashion is a foreign exercise, so forgive the lack of structure and coherency.

My response is this article from The Atlantic today “The Narcissistic Injury of Middle Age” from which I will quote:

“People who make contributions to the younger generation and to society at large tend to feel good about themselves at this stage and find it a consolation for the loss of top billing. They will grow old with a sense of grace and acceptance. Those who can’t bear the shift to a supporting role may become increasingly narcissistic in the unhealthy sense of the word. Even adults who haven’t seemed particularly narcissistic for most of their lives may become so as they age. They will ape the behaviors, clothing, and attitudes of the young, trying to preserve their sexual appeal. They may opt for plastic surgery. Socially, they become more self-absorbed and insensitive, demanding to remain the center of attention.”

I wonder if the high median age in S. Korea of 37.9 (it won’t be that high in the US until at least 2050) combined with the rage for plastic surgery means they are going through somewhat of a national mid-life crisis.

But come to think of it, I am kind of weird looking.

I have no real problem with people undergoing cosmetic surgery (though it sometimes can be disturbing), but I personally doubt that we’ll have everybody looking exactly the same.  Different people have different sense of what is attractive and if radical body modification becomes more of a norm in the future, people may become more diverse than ever before.

The reason I suggested that we might all look the same is because that is what South Korea - the trend-setter - is accused of. But South Korea is mostly… Koreans.

I didn’t mention this in the article, but I wonder if other people experience this:  I have two very close friends who look so much like me, people think we are brothers. I think I have a natural affinity towards men who look somewhat like me—tall and skinny. For example, the other day I met John Smart for the first time, and I liked him immediately. He is younger and better-looking than I am, but he is tall and skinny, so liked him. We also both have faces a bit like Kevin Bacon, who I also like.

My point with this is - if the world was filled with many people who looked very much, or exactly, like you or I - would it really be uncomfortable? Or would we feel a natural bond towards those who chose to adopt the same form as us?

I also have a brother who looks a great deal like me. I have an empathy towards him that is quite strong. Perhaps I think he is me, in some way.

ps. Rick - of course, you are exceptionally beautiful, but even you… could use a tiny bit of work

I agree with Christian: the more similar people look, the more it will become sexy to look different. Does everyone dress the same? No. So why would cosmetic surgery lead to us all looking the same?

Beyond that, Rick I’m wondering how relevant your narcissism point really is. On the face of it it seems very relevant: there does seem to be a narcissistic edge to people’s wish to improve their looks. But at what point does self-care and self-improvement slip into unhealthy narcissism, and why should we assume that cosmetic surgery crosses that line? Isn’t there a positive externality involved in looking good? Can’t “I’m fine just as I am” be just as narcissistic as “I want to look better”, perhaps even more so?

I imagine two women running shrieking from a party because they are wearing the same face.

That sounds like fun.

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