If all else fails, you can make become the Man of
Tomorrow yourself by performing simple exercises to release the hidden
powers and potentials that all men have. This may sound a
bit silly, but from '30s on it was regarded as a serious path by many
people for reaching the next stage of human development. Since
science had done so much to improve the efficiency of manufacturing
and office routines, then it stood to reason that the application of
the same techniques could take any ordinary nebbish and transform him
into a streamlined Charles Atlas with the grace of Nijinsky, the speed
of Jesse Owens, and the brains of Einstein-- though without the weird
Exactly how to accomplish this was another matter.
George Bernard Shaw in Back to Methuselah claimed that
longevity could be improved by sheer willpower.
If you were a Doc Savage fan, you could go
the whole route of doing a daily routine of Swedish exercises and
drills to improve your taste, sight, hearing, and moral integrity.
There were other ways that were dressed up in all sorts of doubletalk
and technobabble, but in the end, it all boiled down to the same thing
in different packages-- some of them very expensive.
By the 1950s, the advertising pages of pulp
magazines were filled with "unleash your mental powers" adverts and
science fiction types like A. E. Van Vogt and John W. Campbell became
so enamoured of easy shortcuts to supemanhood that the pages of
Astounding Science Fiction were filled with articles on how to
remove "false memory associations," scanning the totality of your own
brain, and generally improving yourself in every possible way
that couldn't actually be measured. Eventually, this
sort of thinking descended into the dingbat craziness of
general semantics and Dianetics and became ripe for satire from Fritz Lieber in his short
story "Poor Superman."
Then it all moved to California where it fit right