Paranoia and Technological Temptation
As Oscar Wilde once said, “Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but molds it to its purpose.” Much of the literature I have come into contact with in this genre concerning genetics has the vague propensity to moralize. I doubt it was the authors’ overt intention, as these works are remarkably written fictional narratives, and remarkably written fictional narratives need conflict. It just seems to be a byproduct of this conflict that screams caution and restraint. However, having impressed upon me how a great many ways genetic engineering and cloning can go wrong, it’s enough to give anyone an overbearing sense of paranoia.
It’s not as if I’m of the belief that science should go full speed ahead, consequences be damned. I just wonder if someone has considered the possible negative repercussions if we deny ourselves this technology. Of course there’s the much publicized issue of performing stem cell research to cure diseases, but it’s still uncertain whether stem cell research will yield the results some claim it will. There are broader social implications for the suppression of new genetic technology because, if allowed to develop, it has the ability to radically alter the present state of human existence. I understand that caution should be taken and that I’m perhaps oversimplifying, but wasn’t light once considered solely the domain of the divine? Sometimes I feel the niggling hint of a spastically techno-phobic society in the back of my mind, the more unlikely of two extremes. But maybe that’s just me.
Then I wonder, in a fit of cynicism, whether this whole debate is useless. If it can be done, someone will do it, for good or ill. I suppose we’re just attempting to keep everyone from doing it. “Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.” (Oscar once again)
On a brighter note, there’s a nascent “something more” between Vincent and Jerome but it’s hardly considered canon. However, it’s still intriguing to wonder what a “something more” could be based upon…shared alienation, familiarity, protectiveness, and a healthy dose of narcissism. Jerome and Jerome, or Vincent and Eugene. Eu-gene. Fate, or at least the person who wrote the screenplay, had a twisted sense of humor. I wonder what Jerome’s parents would have thought of that.
In fact, I wonder what Jerome’s parents would have thought of a lot of things. They’re probably deceased, like Vincent’s parents, by the time the main action of the movie takes place. Were they alive though, when Jerome received his silver medal? Were they proud of Jerome or did he not live up to their expectations of the perfect child? Western culture tends to be much more individualistic than that of Eastern countries, and I believe literature reflects that. However, there’s also been an increasing trend towards individuality in the modern technological age. In quite a bit of modern literature (I’m generalizing some here) the role of the family, specifically the parents, is either peripheral or nonexistent. There’s a parallel between this and the way the clones in both Brave New World and Never Let Me Go grow up without parent-figures, but I suppose that’s another rant for another time.
– Wenting Chen