Are We There Yet?

“Are we there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we there yet?”

“No.”

 This classic question reaches past the 2005 movie starring Ice Cube to our childhoods. We begged parents to inform us of our exact location to gauge how far we had traveled and how far we had left until our destination- forever wondering about our wandering. I can’t help but find the parallel between our childhood curiosity and our class critique of scientific orientated literature.

Throughout the course, we evaluated science fiction novels and scientific articles to analyze the authors’ opinions of society’s and the scientific community’s direction of the time period of which the piece of literature was written. From Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake to Leon Kass’s Wisdom of Repugnance to Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, the consequences of society continuing at its current rate towards its current direction, for example the pros and cons of cloning humans for organ harvesting, the combining of DNA for experimental purposes, the development of a perfected human species, and the growth of social media, were laid out for debate and discussion. Despite our elevated breakdown of the texts and the issues, the question, “Are we there yet?” forever remained hanging in the balance, despite its simplistic beginnings. Thoughts like, “the technology in the novel is already present in genetic labs across the country” or “wow, an äppärät is an iPhone with extra diaeresises” echoed throughout the semester. We were similar enough to the societies we studied to peak our interest to whether or not we were those societies, but different enough from them that we could go back to our lives without worrying, because we weren’t there yet.

After reading an article in the New York Time: Science Times called “If It’s Possible, It Happened” by Amir Alexander, it’s with dismay that I announce that we have arrived. Mr. Alexander catalogs Dr.Tegmark’s, a professor at M.I.T., new book that proposes that parallel universes or multiuniverses, backed by math, do exist and any alternate path there is has been taken. Alexander’s description of Dr. Tegmark’s theory speaks volumes to my skepticism and I would assume many others,

            “If you find this far-fetched, you are hardly alone. The idea of parallel universes, in which events diverge from those in our own reality, is usually the domain of science fiction. But Dr. Tegmark is a scientist, not a novelist, and he makes a powerful case, leading us step by logical step from well-established mainstream science into ever stranger territory.”

 No matter what your opinion is on the legitimacy of Dr. Tegmark’s theory of multiuniverses, the line between science fiction and scientific fact have been blurred. This is shown by the seemingly ridiculousness of Dr. Tegmark’s claims, yet his thoughts must be taken seriously due to his education and experience.

Although we believe science fiction, dystopia, and post apocalypse novels are far-fetched cries from reality, they really aren’t too far off. Throughout this class, we’ve been able to compare the societies within the books to our own society today. Rather than panicking over slight similarities, I believe we should accept the large role genetic technology has in our society and embrace the good it can bring. It’s only after we overcome our fears of becoming a dystopia that we can work together towards a society that isn’t one.

The question is still begging to be asked, and I believe we all have an answer.

“Are we there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we there yet?”

“No.”

“How about now?”

 “Yes.”

 

-Tori

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~ by valadevr on April 24, 2014.

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