Friday, July 21, 2006

reposted riposte

Larry Santoro's blog has an extended and pessimistic passage from Kurt Vonnegut's newest collection of essays, which caused me to wonder where will the Kurt Vonneguts of the future come from?

It is clear that the types of people who populate the earth is about to change. Once genetics are fully understood, and people select genes for their children, terms like "offspring" or "descendants" will no longer have any meaning, because people will no longer share DNA with their "parents". This will certainly affect the willingness of parents to make economic sacrifices for "their" children, which could lead to either state-run or privately financed orphanages with different castes of children, tailored to different social roles, or, also likely, a massive depopulation.

When people choose the genetic predispositions of their successors, will they select the traits that are associated with success in our civilization? In other words, will the coming generations of ultra-rich parents choose conscienceless aggressively psychopathic genes for their genetically modified children? Do these last generations of freeborn children have the final traces of the Jesus gene, before it is effectively rooted from the species?

No matter what, assuming it survives, the species is certainly in for another major shift. The first shift "weakened" the stock, when medical technologies allowed higher survival rates for mutations whose parents had been exposed to toxins (i.e., almost everybody in the world today). The next shift will radically "strengthen" the stock to levels never before seen, in ways that would terrify the weak-willed and excessively compassionate humans who now walk the earth.

My guess is that Nietzsche was wrong: man is not a link between ape and superman, but an interlude between ape and super-ape.

{ As a side note, notice how well liquor and compassion go together, while coffee is often coupled with mercilessness. Watch and weep as Starbucks outlets continue to replace bars as neighborhood hubs and coffee replaces alcohol as a consciousness changing drug of choice. }


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