I’m Roderick Russell.
I’m a Sword Swallower.
I’ve made a career of traveling the country talking to people from all walks of life about pushing the limits of human abilities. I’m obsessed with hacking the human condition. From radical life extension to accelerated learning, rapid healing, self-modification, optimizing your brain and more, this stuff gets me buzzing with excitement. It will get you buzzing too.
My Motivating Belief
The one motivating belief behind all that I do is this:
We are remarkable. You, me, the entire human species - absolutely, stunningly, gorgeously remarkable.
But somewhere along the way, most of us lose touch with wonder and the ability to be literally awestruck. We become “practical” and “realistic” and get pulled down into the mundanity of the daily grind, becoming increasingly unaware that as a species, we’re barely getting started on this incredible journey.
Why Remarkably Human?
On stage I show you firsthand that the human mind and body are capable of not only far more than you thought possible, but capable of things you hadn’t even dreamt! I know that it gets my audience juiced because I stay and chat after every show – sometimes for hours – and you stay right there with me, asking great questions and getting excited about your own possible future.
But I can only go so deep in a live performance – and that’s why I started Remarkably Human. To go deep. To explore our world with you. To continue the conversation, and start new ones. To share with you the things that get me out of bed in the morning and keep me up at night with excitement. To bring you all of the bizarre, beautiful and amazing things that remind me just how remarkable we are.
I’ve Been Called a Bit… Unusual.
I’m interested in some weird things. Crazy sci-fi thinking on the fringe of human experience. Really cool stuff that redefines what it means to be human. I don’t believe that we’re limited by our circumstances – not our upbringing, our genes or our socio-economic status. Here on Remarkably Human, not only will we share our excitement, but I’ll give you practical tips on how you can push your own limits and do things you never thought possible.
You’ll hear not only from me, but from scientists working on the leading edge of their fields. From artists that force us to see things from a different perspective. Athletes redefining the possible with their achievements. Explorers and adventurers charting the outer limits. Even from less expected corners of the world like circus performers and self-made freaks.
But I’m also firmly rooted in scientific thinking. I’m a skeptic. So while I talk about really out-there things and may lead the way by jumping in with both feet and testing the waters of new ideas, techniques and technologies, you can be certain that I will always report back from a place of reason. Crazy, but reasonable.
I love my job. I tour the country constantly, working for large corporations, theaters, resorts and prestigious private schools. On stage I combine my love of the human mind and mystery with years of technical training to present a show that bravely pushes the limits of the possible. Artfully blending fact and fiction, I bring the ideas of tomorrow to life – on stage today. And yes, I really do swallow swords.
But I didn’t grow up wanting to be a sword swallower or professional speaker. Far from it. I was a poverty stricken, sometimes homeless kid who was constantly moving around because of a very unhealthy and dangerous home life. I was dragged from place to place by a mother and step-father who couldn’t hold jobs or a home, dealt drugs and were destructive alcoholics. I had nothing, and if there’s one thing that my early life taught me, it’s that I wanted better. Much better.
The Secret Sauce
I also knew that if I wanted more, I would have to create it myself – so I did. I began at my local library, taking refuge from my situation in books and learning. The library became my home. Books became my parents, my friends.
The number one most useful tool I’ve ever acquired is this – at an early age, I learned how I learn.
I’ve leveraged this ability every day since.
When I was 12 years old, with a desperate desire to learn computer programming but no access to computers, I taught myself – by painstakingly writing code and debugging it by hand, in a notebook with a pencil. I later turned that skill into a successful career as a software engineer, without ever having owned a computer.
When I was 15, having exhausted the resources at my little library and eager to physically escape my home life, I packed a bag and left home, bound for “America’s premier college town” : Boston. With nothing but a duffel bag of food and clothing, I found a job at a university, rented a room, and got down to some serious learning – and just months after arriving found myself starting my college studies.
It’s not always easy and I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way. I anticipate I’ll make many more. But since those early days, I’ve been blazing my own trail.
THINGS TO DO
Travel the World
Freeze Dead People
Jump Out of Planes
I’ve worked as a software engineer, I’m a recovering juggler and I play two musical instruments – I’m a bit of a geek.
I love philosophy and used to teach it – I can get a bit obsessive about the “big” questions.
I’ve jumped out of planes, I’ve traveled the world, I’ve smuggled weapons into foreign countries – and I used to freeze dead people for a living.
My life has certainly not been a straight path, and there’s been a lot of tumultuous upheavals, but through it all I’ve carried a profound sense of optimism, because I know through hard experience that as individuals and as a community we really can achieve anything. And at the end of the day, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to chase after the impossible! Our lives should be works of art, informed by science.
Here’s What I’d Like
I want you to join me. I want to share my best ideas with you, and I want you to share your story with me. I especially want to hear about where you want to go. How do you want to transform the future. Together, I want to take all those crazy ideas from science fiction, mix it up with a little self-discipline, a heaping dose of psychology, add some relentless experimentation and stir until what falls out is – remarkable.
Send me your email address (you can do that below) so that we can stay in touch. I’ll send you all of my best stuff, give you the inside scoop on new things I’m working on, and share remarkable resources with you.