Thursday, May 25, 2006
We define ourselves with labels. Some define themselves by their work, men especially. I am an accountant, lawyer, scientist, etc. Some define themselves by other roles: mother, father, sister, brother, prince, princess, count, baron, etc. Sometimes you see a progression of labels - boyfriend/girlfriend, lover, wife/husband, significant other, ex-wife/ex-husband. Or, another example is newborn, infant, child, teenager, young adult, adult, senior, deceased. Even names are labels. None of them really matter. The only labels that we can't escape from are man/woman and human being. The former is becoming more and more irrelevant in a genderless society, so it just may come down to how we define what a "human being" really is at the level of an individual and at the species level? And maybe that doesn't even matter. If we start geneering (genetic engineering) the species, then the three races we have now will pale in comparison. And sooner or later, we will start engineering the race. At first, we'll screen out the deleterious genes through abortion and eventually, we'll correct them at the one cell or totipotent stage of the fertilized egg. Then we'll eliminate degenerative diseases. Then we'll start engineering people for specific roles such as astronaut or deepsea diver. This doesn't even begin to touch upon uplifting other species such as dolphin or chimpanzee to full sentience (which we could possibly do now with chimps). What would a fully sentient chimp do to religious belief? I suppose that if you can treat everything as sacred and with equal respect, from a pebble, to a plant, to any animal, to any human being, then you've even gone past labels to a whole new experience entirely.