How much can we change? How much should we change?
In “Cracking the Code,” words such as instruction book, blueprint, and manual are used in order to describe a DNA molecule. The program repeatedly states that the DNA can be “read,” as if it is some sort of book. One bioethist, George Annas, refers to the DNA molecule as a future diary because the information it holds about the individual’s future life is so private.
When the program cuts to the movie “Gattaca” and the nurse already knows the child’s exact cause and time of death along with many of the disorders that the child will struggle with, it makes me wonder whether this would be such a great thing. If we all knew the approximate moment that each of us would leave this planet, how would we arrange our lives? If schools, employers, and family all knew the different blueprints of our lives how would that affect the way we are perceived by our community? Would only those with favorable DNA be picked for jobs? If we could change the way our future children would look, should we? If we could give our future children advantageous physical characteristics of height, health, and intellect.
On a personal level, if I knew the exact cause and time of my death, how would I interact with life differently? Isn’t facing the unknown mental and physical tribulations an important part of life? How much can or should we change before it becomes “dehumanizing?” I have come to the conclusion that I would want to know the blueprint of my life so I can build the best life I can around it, however, I am undecided on whether or not I would want to change it.