Week 2 Response: Brave New Gattaca World?

When we watched Gattaca in class I thought of a well-known science fiction I have read long time ago and that is Brave New World. I could see there are some similarities between the two, which both proves eugenic and genetic modification to be something dangerous and displays a dystopian society. In Gattaca, Vincent is unable to reach his goal because of his genetic-make up. However, he went through identity fraud and transformed himself into someone with higher skills. His brother on the other hand had more advantage in life because his genes are more superior. In that society, their genes are like a validation card, which brings access for those with privilege genes and set back the ones with “imperfect” genes. From Brave New World it brings people to think where the line should be drawn in the advancement of eugenics. It is evident that within the Gattaca institution, there is a clear discrimination against the genetic underclass; the natural ones. Even when the geneticist tells Vincent’s parents that “keep in mind, this child is still you. Simply, the best, of you.” From this we could see that in the society of Gattaca, they want to aim towards perfecting the human body and mind. I feel like in Brave New World the society has already reached the stable equilibrium and Gattaca has not. To me it feels like Brave New World is an upgraded version of Gattaca. It plays more with genetic engineer experiments such as alcohol in the embryos and different kinds of conditioning. Although biological techniques used to control the populace in Brave New world does not include genetic engineering; Huxley, the author, wrote this book before the structure of DNW was discovered. The Huxley family mainly biologist had involvement with the eugenics movement. Nonetheless, Huxley emphasizes conditioning over breeding (Wikipedia). From both of these examples we could see the practice of genetic modification and how it can impact a society. With the advancement in technology today it is not truly impossible to establish these kinds of skills. However, I think in reality we are more aware and have more caution in things like these.

While I was surfing YouTube I also learned about his patent granted from a genetics company called 23and me. It is so interesting to see how you can design a child in the way you want. With specific features and skills, your baby is customized. However, I still think it is very dangerous for society to play with these kinds of experiments because that’s not how the nature runs it’s course. If humans use excessive technology to interfere with nature, I think society will run into some deep trouble. There will be advantage for the wealthy and underclass will suffer the disadvantage.

Resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World#Fordism_and_society

I will be presenting week three’s material on week 4!

-Wen Kuo

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