Who Is Will Block?

A Human Perspective on a
Visionary Mind

By Dr. Joyce Block

Chief among the principal operative or instrumental means to happiness, although not secondary to moral virtue and prudence, is …


Sometimes it’s called internal freedom, and sometimes it’s called moral freedom. It is the freedom possessed by the virtuous man who is able, by habitual disposition, to will as he ought. Stated negatively, it is the freedom from the opposing pressure of immediate wants, which enables man to seek what he wants in the long run.

— Will Block, 1971

Stage One: Preparation

1970’s—The Pantry

Will, the computer “shrink” walked into the house. I had just come back from the Princeton Brain Bio Center and was in the pantry shooting up with Vitamin B12. It was but a part of my regimen to combat the doctoral student pressure cooker.

Will popped his head in. “How do you know that will work?” I mentioned Dr. Carl Pfeiffer’s book on orthomolecular biochemistry balancing. “This is a biomedical approach to psychiatry. I’m not crazy. My synapses are misfiring. Pfeiffer’s book is on the kitchen counter.” I wanted Will to approve, but I knew he would question every word, every study, and every conclusion. On the other hand this was the very thing that made him a riveting conversationalist. He knew volumes about any subject from philosophy and political science, to the classics, to computers, to music, art, and even wine. Yet he was a pro at jacking blue crabs and spearing eels in salty inlets where the Atlantic Ocean spilled into the bays.

As a student of the world living in NYC’s Chelsea, Will created his own curriculum. He finished each solo day off with a 5 star home-cooked plate accompanied by the finest wines. The music of Mahler, Wagner, Bach, and Delius among others, were his dinner partners, along with a well-chosen book.

Although his best skills didn’t include psycho­social savvy, I didn’t mind. I would listen to him because he would make my mouth drop by the breadth and depth of his knowledge. This was far better than the lecture halls. It was better than being at the main New York Library, because he could soliloquize in every direction. As deftly as I could, I would slip in a question, “So how can I apply these great ideas to my life so I can make a difference in the world?”

As a person brought up in a loving, value-driven family, I set my course on breaking rank with the small town cultural desert that surrounded me. I was growing in graduate school, but mostly from my “chosen” teachers, of which Will was one. I invited Will to be my outside professor. These interchanges proved to be a great fit in terms of my doctoral dissertation on Collaborative Learning Relationships. I invited him to examine his world from a human development perspective, including the psychosocial, physical, and cultural viewpoints. More importantly, we would examine his life as a creative mind in search of a mission.

Look at This! Look at That!

Will grew up in Newark, NJ with a Mensa mother, an athlete father, and a brilliant older brother. His mother described Will as a child who excitedly pointed his finger at the most ordinary and extraordinary things, saying, “Look at this! Look at that! It was hard to move in a straight line because he stopped to see everything!”

While Will attended Carnegie-Mellon where he was an honor student along with his brother, he left in his senior year to explore the cultural paradigm shift shaking the Earth in San Francisco—far more interesting than the dry and unavoidable aspects of prescribed academia.

While his brother remains a world-recognized probability mathematician, Will’s future as a computer engineer paled compared to his drive to seek out and explore the many new worlds that were springing into awareness.

Will introduced me to his teachers, including Aristotle, Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises, Robert G. Ingersoll, Arthur Koestler, Robert Anton Wilson, and a couple of scientists promoting an integrated world view, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, altogether spanning the golden arc of freethought. The perspectives I soaked up thrust me out of the limits of depending on psychosocial constructs to make sense of my world. I finally understood the dynamic tension between thinking and feeling through the thought of Ayn Rand that, “Emotions are not tools of cognition.” I realized that the dynamic tension between thinking and feeling were, indeed, the very underpinnings of the creative process and needed to be harnessed into creative work.

Stage Two: Frustration

1980’s—Lights go out. Lights go on.

In 1982, Ayn Rand died. In 1983 Arthur Koestler left this world by his own hand. Life was finite. By 1983 Pearson and Shaw were deep into life extension research and had published their 1.5-million copy best seller, Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach a year earlier. In 1983 Will’s first child, Bherin, was born. By now, Will had taken to the pantry as well. Longevity mattered.

In any creative process there are predictable stages a person travels through: Preparation, Frustration, Incubation, Illumination, Elaboration and Validation. Without conscious explicitness, Will had been preparing for a life of integrity and meaning much of his early adult years. His appetite and aptitude to master and integrate vast amounts of information was apparent. He could do anything, but how would that “anything” manifest in the world?

Frustration is marked by a period of knowing what’s important but not knowing how, or, if it will come to fruition. It is a period of rich learning replete with false starts, blind alleys, and lost alliances. It tests the creator’s will to go on even when he does know exactly where he’s going. Some others watching a person in this period may want to blurt out, “So what do you want to be when you grow up?” Too bad for them! It’s a period only the brave may enter. It is a period when you realize that you are the maker and sculptor of your life. To quote Rand, “Man is a being of self-made soul [consciousness]—and it is of such conclusions that the stuff of his soul is made.”*

* Rand, A. The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature. Rev ed. New York: Signet, 1975.

Stage Three: Incubation

Company in the Pantry

Unfulfilled in his career as a high level 24–7 computer consultant, Will turned his focus toward more creative and challenging work as a videographer. Alongside this avocation lived the researcher in search of life-extending technologies. Sparked by Pearson and Shaw’s wildly successful book, Will traveled to California to meet the two of them in their Manhattan Beach libraries and laboratories to discuss a documentary about them, their ideas, and their newly created nutritional supplements. With relish, in the first meeting he realized what a great opportunity this represented despite how much he had to learn to transform his knowledge into work. Whoopee! Plus, he might have a chance to live a very long time.

As a new father, the less structured time perks were favorable and the time to explore new disciplines was proving highly attractive. During this period Will produced documentaries under the banner of his company TVSee on such diverse subjects as the war in Eritrea, child development, the Armenian Holocaust, cooking, infertility, somatic healing techniques, and futurism. He also interviewed a number of influential writer-thinkers, heroes in their own right. Yet the challenges of running an under-capitalized business presented a steep learning curve. Nevertheless, Will’s talent for the medium and persistence to produce a superior product was proof that he was not a dilettante but closer to a Renaissance man. For me, it was exhilarating to be a co-creator in these highly challenging endeavors.

Sometimes his toddler daughter accompanied him on video shoots by sitting on his shoulders with her hands wrapped around his neck. Other times he was exercising or in his studio editing a video, or writing. At some point he would slip into the kitchen to replenish himself by cooking cuisine par excellence, replete with the right wine, while music wafted through the rooms. Three times a day, he too visited the pantry organizing his nutritional supplements just so. The discipline of finding and taking supplements was now an ingrained practice.

No doubt it was a rich time for learning. But a piece of Will‘s livelihood was stuck in a not-for-profit world. Unless you are part of the government (never!) and buy into that model, things can only go one way. For real change to ensue, Will realized he needed to operate in an entrepreneurial venue. This pursuit would hurl him into a greater world of opportunity, yet it carried higher risk without any guarantees. He needed to step back into what he knew in the computer world: the ability to move quickly and the commitment to live in the 24/7 cycle without getting needlessly caught in the trap of bureaucratic passivity.

It would be a big leap. Rob Asghar explained this well in Forbes, … “a nonprofit is like living in a small town.

Working for a for-profit corporation is like living in a large city.” It was time to move to the “city.”

† Asgar R. Should You Work For A Nonprofit Or A For-Profit: Comparing A Small-Town And Big City Mentality. http://www.forbes.com/sites/robasghar/2013/10/22/small-town-or-big-city-do-you-have-a-nonprofit-or-for-profit-mindset/. Published October 22, 2013. Accessed July 22, 2014.

Will’s vision widened one more time. Now, he knew the goal: a commercial venue, where accumulated skills, avocation passion, and biomedical knowledge could meet.

Stage Four: Illumination

1986: The “Ah Ha!” Moment

Then it happened. After a viewing of one of Will’s documentaries by his lawyer, Will became engaged to produce an infomercial about the ideas and work of Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw. It was the perfect medium for the next step. In retrospect, this was Will’s “Ah, Ha” moment. The videographer and the biomedical researcher tied the knot. What followed was the development of a Pearson/Shaw line of products, a newsletter, a staff, and some partners. His mission to bring his passion for cutting-edge research, life-prolonging nutrients, and high-level information to the marketplace was coming to fruition. Will was in business.

Stage Five: Elaboration

1986–1993: 99% Perspiration, Ethical Dilemmas, Hard Lessons

The elaboration stage gives a creative product its quality and its longevity. It is the stage about which Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” This is when you are doing the hard work of testing, pruning, adjusting course, and safeguarding your “baby.”

Will, as a person of high integrity found it hard to compromise his values. He held his business to the same standards he applied to his heroes, his music, and even cooking expertise. Sometimes he would invite his daughters to be assistant chefs, but the assistance had to be to his standard, teaching them the value of doing something well. When it came to cutting corners, or sacrificing the purity of product ingredients, Will would hold his ground! For him to accept an alternative, you had to convince him that it was in the service of the ideas and the product.

After working with partners, teams, and committees, Will came back to the table and decided it was better to have dinner alone. He didn’t want his standards compromised, his innovative mind hampered. If he had to go out and “catch” the ingredients, he knew how to do it. If he had to endure the difficulty of going it alone in the dark, he would do it. If he had to spend more money making the finest and most nutritionally potent formulas, he would do it.

With or without partners, Will believed he would find a way to pay the bills, but would never skimp. Although it’s called integrity on an ethical level, I call it good business sense, the stuff that pays off in the long run. In business, the bottom line is king, and if Will has an Achilles heel, it’s his trust that others believe in the same unwavering principles that he does. Insistence on top grade ingredients, the highest standards of production, and the delivery with truthful and non-misleading information are Will’s bottom line. It takes business partners who are equally impeccable to make innovative practical products. This is Pearson and Shaw’s recent take on Will in 2014:

“… [W]e can always TRUST Will to deal with us honestly and honorably, something that is so remarkably rare. You add that to a sunny personality and a brilliant, creative mind and you have the basis for a lifelong bond.”

— Email communication, June 2014

Reclaiming the Mission

The period before Will went “solo” is why I don’t read fiction. You could never make this stuff up. Will’s Elaboration stage is a story akin to Homer’s Odyssey, a ten-year period of the hero’s adventures full of intrigue, and moments of seduction. Long before Odysseus returns home (perhaps 1–2 years into his Odyssey) on the island home of Circe about half of his men are drugged with an anticholinergic substance that makes them forget their mission, along with the homeland, their wife and their families. Thus, the possibility they could ever return is all but destroyed. Not drugged, Odysseus serves up an herbal antidote, which became the principal ingredient of GalantaMind.

To quote from one of Will’s articles, “To break the spell on his men and restore their memory, Odysseus used a potion of his own, made from a flower that Homer called Moly; it was a gift to Odysseus from Hermes, the messenger of the gods.” (Life Enhancement, August 2004.) The gift of Moly ultimately rescues his crewmembers from the sleep of forgetfulness. With this, they could return home. For Will, coming out of the chaos of this stage was almost like waking from a dream. Like all harrowing experiences, Will came out of this period recognizing the depth of his strength, the verity of his mission, and the enduring support from those who believed in his work.

Life Enhancement, Will’s new company, was incorporated in 1994. Will sat securely in his CEO observation post and guarded his “baby” even closer. He had won the psychosocial savvy skills, which translated into taking charge of the whole enterprise. Will’s second daughter was born and the company moved to California.

The accomplishments that ensued, as Life Enhancement was back in the hands of its native father, proved that Will’s adherence to his principles was paying off. In spite of the arduous journey, the company broke into international markets, and the newsletter format became a magazine. Will was invited to prestigious speaking engagements, as Life Enhancement attracted well-known clinics, doctors, authors, and formulators. His stature was growing.

Life Enhancement’s new building in Minden
Pearson and Shaw moved to the noteworthy place of being proclaimed as the “Founders of the Anti-Aging Movement,” as declared by the spokespeople of the American Academy of AntiAging Medicine, at their 2007 Conference in Las Vegas.

California, for all its perks, was not the ideal business climate for Life Enhancement. Will left his revered Frank Lloyd Wright abode and bought a state-of-the art building in Minden, NV. As a testament to Life Enhancement’s ability to create loyalty, key members of the staff moved over 200 miles to continue working for Will.

The Manifestation of Innovation

Over the years friends and colleagues spoke openly and appreciatively to Will about the breadth and depth of his mind. But for Will, being talented and smart wasn’t enough. Once when someone asked him, “So who is the person you compare yourself to judge your success?” He named Johannes Brahms, a composer to whom success came late in life. Over the years Will has begun to appreciate his visionary mind and talent to create something real. The tide has turned over these last decades and this is how Will writes about himself today:

“Will Block is a researcher, writer, and speaker specializing in the life extension, life enhancement, and cognitive enhancement aspects of nutritional science. His writings have appeared widely in newsletters, magazines, and books. He is also the author of Tools for Privacy, a book about public-key encryption and speaks about futurology, nootropics, nanotechnology, and freedom.

Innovation is our Lifeblood

“Life Enhancement was the first company to market non-prescription DHEA, making it commercially available in the summer of 1995. We were also first to market pregnenolone, 5-HTP, vinpocetine, mastic gum, the world’s first DNA support supplement, galantamine, and many more firsts. We’ve been out there pushing the envelope and building acceptance for the enhancement of life since 1985, when the concept of life extension supplementation first gelled.”

Stage Six: Validation

2014: Recognition in High Places–The Award

The validation stage in the creative process is something like a parent sending the baby that has been doted on and struggled with out into the world. It’s the applause at the end of the performance from those you respect the most.

Excellence in Health Product Innovation Award

Apparently someone out there noticed. Will Block and Life Enhancement are to be given an award this September in Washington by Emord & Associates, a prestigious Washington FDA Law Firm (see sidebar).

The Emord & Associates’ 20th Anniversary Celebration Awards Committee has selected Will Block to accept the firm’s “Excellence in Health Product Innovation Award ” honoring Life Enhancement’s product formulations that have improved the quality of life and public health. It will be presented in September at the firm’s 20th Anniversary Gala (entitled “Sacred Fire of Liberty”). Digital photos of the awards ceremony will be issued with a press release immediately after the event. Media will also be present. Attendees will include members of Congress; executives in the food, dietary supplement, and over-the-counter drug industries; scientists and integrative medicine practitioners from around the world; prominent D.C. area constitutional and administrative lawyers; public policy leaders from across the nation; and prominent journalists in the health and general media.

About Jonathan Emord, President and Principal, Emord Associates

Celebrated FDA Lawyer Jonathan Emord, President, Principal of Emord & Associates, has defeated the Food and Drug Administration more times in federal court than any other attorney in American history. His firm represents over 450 different food, dietary supplement, over the counter and compounded drug, medical device, and biologics companies on issues of regulatory compliance, claims and advertising, and agency investigations and enforcement.

Something of consequence has come to life …

… because of Will. Call it persistence, courage, or brilliance of mind, his visionary innovations will never cease to be.

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