You’ve probably noticed a picture of Jim Penman’s encounter to the sides of his vans. You will find thousands of them driving around the region, mowing your lawns, solving your antennas, cleaning your dogs. In the photo Jim features a heavy beard and he’s wearing a bucket hat. He’s constantly cheerful.
I’m sitting across from John at his training centre in a vast complex in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges. He began his business, Jim’s Mowing, back in 1982. He’s aged a little since then, and he’s lost the beard, but as he tells me about his plans for world domination, he’s still cheerful.
The narrative of Jim’s climb to fame and fortune is a matter of public record: cash strapped uni student begins a lawn mowing company to greatly help pay his tuition. With an initial budget of $24, business grows to become a garden leviathan. With over 3000 franchisees throughout Australia, New Zealand and the UK, Jim’s Collection provides 35 different providers from Jim’s Bookkeeping to Jim’s Bath Resurfacing. At 60, he’s still heavily involved in the running of the business enterprise, which generates approximately annual income of $320 million.
What a lot of people don’t know from for more details is that Jim never wished to become a businessman. He began mowing yards to raise money to fund his study for a PhD ever Sold at La Trobe University. The uni wouldn’t give him anything because, in accordance with Jim, his suggestions were “too sweeping, too wild.”
Jim’s investigation is concerned with the rise and fall of human civilisations. He attempts to explain why certain historic events have happened to certain parents at certain points over time. To do this, he conducts studies on populations of mice and guinea pigs, messes making use of their diets and their family models, and if all goes according to plan, he’ll be doing exactly the same to humans.
Jim’s been giving money, up to now over $1 million, into a group of researchers at La Trobe, to keep the investigation the university made its back on three years ago.
To place it simply, Jim features a hypothesis that the big shifts in culture (wars, revolutions, impact of religion etc.) are explainable by changes in head and hormone action. For example, Jim cites WWI. Based on Jim, the Great War was brought about by popular hormonal change in the Austro-Germanic people of the 1880’s, which made them more aggressive and warlike. This way Jim could explain why Rome rose and fell, why Stalin was able to stay static in power for such a long time and why the West is in a really bad condition.
Just how he recognizes these hormonal changes so many years later, and with no actual proof, simply Jim knows, but he considers that by studying these styles he can anticipate the long run, and is developing a drug to change it.
Jim’s suggestions from for more details are based on a clinical flow called epigenetics. Epigenetics reports the changes in genes which are not set into the DNA sequence. In practical terms, if your scientist (or perhaps a farmer-cum-scientist) was able to identify the link between particular genes and behaviours they might transform people’s behaviour by modifying the genes. Jim recognizes it because the ultimate frontier of study. “For years people believed that genes were just genes, they didn’t realize they could possibly be switched on and off.” And he’s big ideas for mankind when the drug has been created.
“Why haven’t we been visited by intelligent aliens?” He asks me a bit later. “Why is that? There should be trillions of Earth-like planets throughout the universe, why hasn’t some battle removed and spread into space? And I believe that among the more possible motives is that when any civilisation increases past a specific stage of engineering, it becomes easier and easier to destroy itself.”
Lots of his initial screening has concentrated on developing solutions for alcohol addiction, drug addiction, overeating and other forms of emotional difficulties. Jim considers that a substance could possibly be ready by as early as next year.
But Jim wants to transform significantly more than that. He wants to change people’s celebrities, change how they feel and work, how they see-the world. He considers that Jim’s substance could make individuals more concentrated, more hard working, more clever and imaginative. Essentially, greater humans. “It could be something as basic as a nasal spray, it could become a remedy, a substance, a tablet you take,” he says. “There are benefits that this can raise IQ.”
Jim envisions a society where everyone’s chemical and hormonal deficiencies have now been fixed, making them totally useful members of society. “Imagine if the average indivdual is what was previously regarded exceptionally able, if not really a genius…We will make historical Athens seem like a stodgy smalltown. We’ve never had any human culture ever that has lived up to human potential.”
Jim thinks that the world needs this substance. He’s crunched the numbers and he’s a fairly bleak prospect for this earth if he can’t get his nasal spray out. Within the next few years Jim predicts that the West can continue its economic and moral fall, with China overtaking the reins because the big world power, followed by a few thousand years of hegemony from the unified body of African states.
From the year 4000 Jim envisions the world as a Mad Max style apocalyptic wasteland comprising of “poor peasant farmers where women are mutilated by cliterodectomy, and this kind of garbage, which is really what the people is headed for—poverty-upset peasants.” And Jim is doing everything in his capacity to stop that happening. A sizable proportion of the earnings that he takes from Jim’s Mowing go into a foundation that can continue his investigation and—if his theories are proven correct—save the world.
Of course, Jim is wary of the potential problems of acquiring his wonder drug. He worries that it might be so powerful that it might truly bring about the apocalypse. “Technology would burst because folks would become far more imaginative and ready by way of a component of countless times over. Now whether that would end up destroying the people, or we’d end up spreading out throughout the world I don’t know.”