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Think of the most
wonderful experience of your life - now
imagine if life could be as good as that -
or rather imagine if life could be better than that
all the time. Just imagine if your best experience
ever could be lower than tomorrow's
hedonic flaw. Other things being equal, wouldn't it be better
if we live in paradise? Now, for
much of history this kind of talk would be
simply could be dismissed as simply utopian dreaming;
that manipulating the environment in innumerable
different ways has been tried and to be honest we're not
significantly happier now than ancestors on the
African savanna - certainly not if suicide, depression
marital breakup statistics et cetera are taken seriously.
However thanks to biotechnology now
it will be possible re-engineer ourselves; to edit our own source code;
to enjoy life animated by gradients of
bliss - other things being equal, doesn't it make sense to make that our
default option?
What could go wrong? Well lots of things
could go wrong - but that's true of any experiment - and
that's what having kids involves today. When
two people decide to bring children into the world
chances are the moment they are going to be bringing in an awful of suffering into the
world too.
Whereas in future when one creates new life
one will be creating these potentially creating
gradients of lifelong well-being. And if we-re
ethically serious, that's the approach
I think we ought to be taking.
A lost people will probably think 'well
that's all well and good maybe our children, grandchildren or
will enjoy this kind of fabulous life.'
'What about me now?' - because we're human, one can listen to
these wonderful tales some futurists relate of
how good life could be in future - a future of super-intelligence, super-longevity and super-
happiness - all these wonderful things -
what about now? One still has bills to pay,
taxes, relationship problems, just the messy nitty-gritty reality of life -
unfortunately I don't have a panacea
now or rather the kinds of interventions
one can suggest: good diets, exercise,
sleep discipline...
unfortunately are on not as exciting as this
tantalizing prospect that our
children and grandchildren will enjoy. But after that somber note
perhaps its worth suggesting
that with to designer drugs and with future
autosomal genetic therapy it will be possible for
adults my age and older to
enjoy the best time of their lives too -
perhaps not full blown paradise engineering;
the richness that our descendants may enjoy -
but there is no reason to be skeptical that
the later in years of our life won't be
incomparably richer than anything that's gone before.