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Peter Thiel takes HGH, plans to live until he's 120

The venture capitalist and libertarian offers that he takes HGH to boost his muscles and longevity. But why choose 120? Why not live forever?

HGH apparently makes investor Peter Thiel more robust. Stephen Shankland/CNET

I hadn't ever thought of Peter Thiel as an NFL linebacker.

His backing tends to be more of companies like Facebook. His championing is of libertarian principles, rather than of the joy of tearing a quarterback's head from his torso.

I have now learned, though, that the famous venture capitalist has something in common with those large, shiny-panted defenders: He takes human growth hormones.

No, I am not offering a gossipy expose. This revelation, according to Bloomberg, comes from Thiel himself. Indeed, HGH is part of his dietary regimen.

He explained his HGH habit: "It helps maintain muscle mass, so you're much less likely to get bone injuries, arthritis."

Surely, though, there must be downsides to this brave bulking. He admitted: "There's always a worry that it increases your cancer risk, but I'm hopeful that we'll get cancer cured in the next decade."

This is marvelous news. It's also a marvelous gamble. It's true that many of us gamble with our bodies while quietly uttering: "One more pinot won't hurt. Twelve more slices of bacon will be fine."

You'll be wondering what else Thiel allows into his body. He told Bloomberg that he follows the Paleo diet. This consists of not eating anything that its proponents say wasn't around in Paleolithic times. So Thiel doesn't allow himself refined sugar. I am delighted to report, though, that he does permit his body to enjoy the glory of red wine.

To have Thiel's level of confidence in science is blessedly charming. Still, one aspect to his interview has moved me to contemplate the meaning of life. Thiel said he plans to live until he's 120.

What a beautifully arbitrary number. Can it be that he feels science can only take him that far? Or might his proprietary algorithm have calculated that he'll have seen, done and experienced everything life has to offer by that age?

I am a touch skeptical. He is 47 years old. This leaves him a mere 73 years to create and enjoy what may be his magnum opus: an island off the coast of California where entrepreneurs can live and have the privilege of only talking to other entrepreneurs.

There would need to be time to finish it, attract the entrepreneurs, import enough self-driving cars, set up an intricate justice system for when they all sue each other and ensure that it has a sophisticated system of policing that can somehow dampen the inevitable attempts at theft of intellectual property.

I am concerned, in any case, that 120 is the sort of number that feels like a startup valuation plucked out of pot-addled ether.

Our aim should be to live forever. For only then can we have any hope of somehow learning from all our mistakes.