One of the greatest problems facing our civilization goes largely unnoticed. The problem is that we, as human beings, are haphazard creations designed to thrive and reproduce in an environment that shares little in common with the global uplifting of civilization. From a physical standpoint, we are merely little more than great apes (we share some 98% of their genetic code). We are born with physical structures that were designed to help us survive harsh, prehistoric environments, and they did their job well (we're here, aren't we?), but this genetic blueprint doesn't serve our modern lifestyle. In essence, we are walking museums of outdated hardware.
What concerns me the most is the "software blueprint" with which we are all born. Human males, in particular are born with an innate desire to dominate limited resources and control others. From an anthropological viewpoint, this is largely due to the fact that these behavioral traits create reproductive options for males, but the explanation of why that is the case goes well beyond the scope of this paper. The point is that males are "born takers" and they seek power and control. This is part of the reason why males dominate positions of power, both in politics and private business, and it helps explain why so many wars are fought between nations headed by men who seek power.
Women are born with "social software." They innately seek to understand the individual members of social groups, and they tend to be far more interested in the overall social good than men. Once again, this is well explained through anthropology by the fact that a balanced, well-functioning social group provides an environment conducive to the raising of successful offspring, to which females contribute a far greater personal investment of time and resources than males.
The point here is that planet Earth is presently dominated by power-seeking males running outdated software (genetically influenced behavior) that does very little to uplift civilization as a whole. Males are primarily interested in what they, personally, can accumulate and control, not what they can do for the common good. It is this innate greed and self-interest that limits possibilities of uplifting civilization as a whole through attention to the common good.
Rewriting our own software
To change this, we must re-engineer our own software. We must, as conscious beings, decide what kind of beings we truly wish future generations to be. With the technology of genetic engineering
, we are not limited to the blueprint provided by Darwinian evolution (or God, from another point of view). Instead, we can design ourselves to be whatever sort of beings we wish.
As a simple example, we could genetically engineer subsequent generations of children to hate the taste of sugar. This simple step would practically eliminate the problem with obesity, since generations would no longer grow up on soft drinks, candy and refined carbohydrates (the leading causes of Type-II diabetes and obesity).
At a more advanced level, genetic engineers could alter behavioral programming, producing a new generation of beings whose primary motivations were based on sharing and working for the common good.
The dangers of genetic engineering
Hopefully, you are at this point considering the flipside of genetic engineering. As a civilization, we are nowhere near the level of maturity that should be required before we start toying with our own genetic code. Altering the genetic code of our offspring is no small matter: we are indeed "playing God" and, potentially, violating laws of nature.
Even if we had the maturity to approach genetic engineering with wisdom and compassion, we currently have neither the understanding of how DNA actually controls human behavior, nor the technology to selectively replace undesirable behaviors with ones we would prefer. There is no "violence" gene, for example, that could be reconfigured into a "peace" gene.
So we are nowhere close to being able to accomplish meaningful genetic engineering of humans even if we wanted, and that's a blessing, since we aren't mature enough as a civilization to deal with its implications.
But make no mistake: if we are to move beyond the genetic blueprint handed down to us by the great apes, we must at some point consciously and deliberately begin improving our own genetic code. In fact, "evolution" is strangely the correct term here, since genetic engineering is the only mechanism by which any further human evolution can conceivably take place. That's because human evolution has largely stalled out from a survival point of view. (From a global perspective, very few human die off due to predators or lack of food, for example.) To achieve any further genetic evolution, we must eventually become engineers of our own genetic code.
With the proper technology, maturity and ethics, we could accomplish tremendous outcomes through genetic engineering. Some of the more obvious advances might include:
- Larger brains: humans could be born smarter thanks to larger brains. (Very large biological neural networks are very smart.) Make them too large, though, and giving birth becomes a real problem...
- Foods and health: humans could be engineered to "like" the taste of healthful foods and dislike the tastes of unhealthy foods. They could also be engineered to biochemically produce their own antioxidants, vitamins (like vitamin C, for example, which other species create for themselves), or other healthful chemicals.
- Longevity: humans could be engineered to live longer, so people would have more "productive" years in their lives. The fact that society spends so much time educating and training people who later die off and take all their knowledge and experience with them imposes a tremendous hidden cost on society as a whole. Population problems aside, by doubling the lifespan of humans, we could triple or quadruple the number of productive years in the average human life.
- Peace, not conflict: through alteration of genetically influenced behaviors, humans could be born with the innate tendency to get along with each other. If we could eliminate males' desire for control over resources and people, as one example, we would eliminate one of the primary underlying catalysts of geopolitical conflict in the world.
- Sensory enhancements: biologically, it is quite possible to build eyes with a hundred times the sensitivity of human eyes. (Baby eagles do it all the time.) With proper genetic engineering, baby humans could have super sensitive eyes, enhanced hearing, expanded range of perception of wavelengths of light (they could see infrared radiation, for example), higher density nerve bundles on their fingertips, or a long list of other enhancements.
The mere discussion of all this justifiably brings up a long list of very spooky themes like eugenics, "Master Race" philosophies, Frankenstein babies, and of course the movie, "GATTACA." I'm not at all saying this technology will be easy to grapple with from ethical, social and philosophical perspectives. What I am saying is that modern day humans are walking museums. Our souls inhabit outdated hardware, and our brains are running software meant for a long-gone era. Genetic engineering offers us the potential to consciously improve our core design. It allows us to decide who we want to be as conscious beings. It simultaneously presents the potential for truly horrific abuses.
In my view, we are presently nowhere near the level of global wisdom and spiritual understanding required to justify experimenting with the genetic code of our own offspring. And yet genetic engineering of the human race remains an essential step to uplifting our species.
Next: Part 8 - Computer / human interface systems
This article has been adapted from, The Ten Most Important Emerging Technologies For Humanity, an ebook by futurist Mike Adams.
About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health researcher, author and award-winning journalist with a passion for sharing empowering information to help improve personal and planetary health He is a prolific writer and has published thousands of articles, interviews, reports and consumer guides, and he is well known as the creator of popular downloadable preparedness programs on financial collapse, emergency food storage, wilderness survival and home defense skills. Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the companies he promotes. In mid 2010, Adams produced TV.NaturalNews.com, a natural health video sharing website offering user-generated videos on nutrition, green living, fitness and more. He's also the founder of a well known HTML email software company whose 'Email Marketing Director' software currently runs the NaturalNews subscription database. Adams also serves as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a non-profit consumer protection group, and enjoys outdoor activities, nature photography, Pilates and martial arts training. He's also author a large number of health books offered by Truth Publishing and is the creator of numerous reference website including NaturalPedia.com and the free downloadable Honest Food Guide. His websites also include the free reference sites HerbReference.com and HealingFoodReference.com. Adams believes in free speech, free access to nutritional supplements and the innate healing ability of the human body. Known as the 'Health Ranger,' Adams' personal health statistics and mission statements are located at www.HealthRanger.org
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