How everything is not as it seems
"A man who dreams of fewer things than there are in heaven and earth," (Huxley)
Context: To the controller when the topic of a man called Maine de Biran comes up.
How it relates: It relates to the book as it captures what the average man in the dystopian society of Brave New World thinks about, which is limited to drugs and sex. It is also true of our real society where we take things for granted and never seem to need more than what we already have with very closed minds.
How is our world dystopian? Many would not consider our non-fictional world to be this way, but there is some truth to the fiction. In the United States we are constantly monitored by means of our internet, as it is the one thing that we all seem to use constantly. Whether we are watching a movie on Netflix, or just browsing the web, the NSA’s task is to watch our activity, collect information, and come to your front door if you type certain keywords into a global search database. Our texts and phone calls all go through a database as well, and it isn’t hard for a trained professional to gain access to that information to find out what you like to eat for breakfast. The government seems to be constantly spying on everything we do as an act of “national security”, but at what cost? How are we okay with the extent of this invasion that we are allowing, and some of it half the citizens of the continental United States probably don’t even know every time they send a message on some form of social media.
While our world may not be Huxley’s, there are dystopian elements like this. It is unnerving to believe that there are secrets that are being held from us. People such as Edward Snowden, have opened eyes as to how deep these conspiracies go. As a man who worked for the NSA, Snowden saw this injustice and sacrificed his career in order to give the American people inkling as to what is really going on and where we are headed. To quote what was said in an interview with him on his explanation of being an NSA analyst, “They’re the most deep and intense and intimate and damaging private moments of their lives, and we’re seizing [them] without any authorization, without any reason, records of all of their activities – their cell phone locations, their purchase records, their private text messages, their phone calls, the content of those calls in certain circumstances, transaction histories – and from this we can create a perfect, or nearly perfect, record of each individual’s activity…” (Rusbriger, MacAskill) So with this, be careful what you send, and know it is out of our hands. Hopefully one day we will we be less dystopian, and not increasingly more like fiction as this clearly shows.
Theme song: "O Green World" by Gorillaz
Taking a Stance: All for GMP's
Who is to say what defines a human being? Just because they might be born for a test tube or manufactured in a lab doesn’t make them any less of a person than you or I. I personally am all for genetically modified persons, as they are truly similar, not different. What if we to deny them citizenship? What if we completely exiled such genetic misfits from our society? Would there be conflict? To this, I refer to the brightly colored pages of the X-Men comics, where genetic mutations are common and often inherited, and the split between non-mutants and mutants becomes very apparent. In those stories the “normal” people are afraid and terrified of these mutants, who are really just people themselves, and they didn’t choose this life they lead. The government goes as far as to make giant robots called Sentinels that hunt down and exterminate the mutants in the name of justice and safety for mankind. However it is a sad statement that these genetically modified persons are indeed part of mankind as well. While the mutants in the X-Men stories are not always modified in a lab, the concept is certainly relatable to the debate between modifications or not. I believe there would indeed be conflict like this, almost like the racial conflict that happens sadly in our modern age, and no one benefits from the divides. To quote Professor X from the newest X-Men movie, “The future: a dark, desolate world. A world of war, suffering, loss on both sides. Mutants, and the humans who dared to help them, fighting an enemy we cannot defeat. Are we destined down this path, destined to destroy ourselves like so many species before us? Or can we evolve fast enough to change ourselves... change our fate? Is the future truly set?” (X-Men: Days of Future Past).
Albeit the X-Men stories of fiction, but the possibility of GMPs exists according to an article detailing the rising chance of genetically modifying babies before they are born. “Over a decade ago, scientists at St. Barnabas Hospital in New Jersey announced that they had created genetically modified babies with a technique called ooplasmic transfer. They described this as "the first case of human germline modification," which means that they had changed the genes not only of the immediately resulting children, but also of any children they might have, on through the generations. “ (Cussins). So not only is it becoming an increasing issue, apparently forty-five states have actively considered this to be a legal activity. While to some this may seem unethical, if it legitimately helps the child, I completely agree that medical professionals should have the right to do everything they can to aid the child in growth and development, even if that means making a few tweaks. They would have to get parental consent of course, but the law should not say they cannot help the child in that way which may or may not save the child later in life. If it makes a difference in the person it is unsure, but they will still be human and should again be treated the same as anyone else.
Albarn, Damon, and Jamie Hewlett. O Green World. Gorillaz. Capital Records, 2005. MP3.
Cussins, Jessica. "VOTE: Are We Ready for Genetically Modified Babies?" CNBC. N.p., 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper & Bros., 1946. Print.
Rusbridger, Alan, and Ewen MacAskill. "Edward Snowden Interview - the Edited Transcript." The Guardian. N.p., 18 July 2014. Web.
X-Men: Days of Future Past. Dir. Bryan Singer. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellan. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, 2014. Film.