Sunday, May 29, 2005

our freakward descent

Here's my theory: humanity is steadily becoming a collection of freaks. I'm not talking about a mere increase in the raw numbers of freaks in a given population; I'm talking about the percentage of freaks in a given population.

Perhaps you think I'm referring to the acceleration of culture-- a kind of behavioral freakishness that will accompany the eventual breakdown of morals-- but that's not what my theory focuses on. I'm talking about the biological problems related to technological enhancement.

As we continue to use technology retroactively to correct our genetic faults, we preserve people who, in a darker, bloodier age, would have been weeded out of the gene pool by clumsiness and stupidity, or by a large predator, or by someone more proficient with a longsword or battleaxe.

We're doing ourselves no favors with this techno-coddling. Asia, for example, has become the Land of Bad Eyes. If South Korea is any indication, the problem's only going to get worse. Eyewear shops are on nearly every street corner in most parts of Seoul. Lasik surgery is easily available. Asians who, in a different age, would have walked into open manholes or fatally attempted to have sex with a tiger are now leading happy, productive lives, and this is cause for alarm: bad-eyed people continue to breed like rabbits.

It's not merely an Asian problem, though. Look at the bizarre case of Stephen Hawking.

Hawking, known to the world as one of the most intelligent scientists in history, is arguably the most famous beneficiary of technological enhancements. Imprisoned in a body wracked with Lou Gehrig's disease (a.k.a. ALS), Hawking sits in a hi-tech chair and uses a voice synthesizer to communicate.

But Hawking is a divorcee, and that's because he's a horndog. The man cheated on his wife, somehow managing this feat without even being able to move. In another age, a randy-but-physically-helpless Hawking would have been torn apart by wild dogs for sport. Now, in the modern age, he can enjoy fame for his brilliance and chase skirts in his private time*. Should this be allowed to continue?

I foresee a world of freaks. People with bad eyes, their corneas shaved to perfection by Lasik, spreading their genes more and more broadly throughout the population. People with nasty, snaggle-toothed grins, passing their horrible teeth on to the next generation, dumping money into the surgeons' pockets to have their jawbones re-milled. I foresee a global gene pool filled with uneven breasts, mismatched testicles, shapeless buttocks, sloped shoulders, knock-knees, bizarre pattern baldness, rampant hirsutism, uncontrollable drooling and urination-- traits all held at bay by technology, only to be passed down to the next generation where they will have recombined into new and even more frightening types of freakishness.

If we don't start killing the freaks soon, they'll eventually take over. Mere centuries from now, humanity will be so tech-dependent that a woman could give birth to a quivering, retarded lump of flesh and have it converted into a passable human being through surgery, gene therapy, chemical enhancement, nanotech, and methods completely unknown to us now.

And the above applies to mental freaks, too. It's not hard to imagine a woman of the future giving birth to a quivering, retarded, psychotic lump of flesh-- teeth sprouting from its skull, hair on its tongue, chitinous body armor for skin, arms that look more like leathery tentacles, and a vast, unquenchable hatred of all living things.

God help us all.

Kill the freaks before it's too late.

Oh, wait... I've got bad eyes. Scratch that. Freaks rule!

*Yes, yes-- I know he wasn't eating out a supermodel or anything. Hawking cheated with his nurse, and married her in 1995. What's she been fucking, his wheelchair's handlebars?


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