BRAVE NEW GIRL . . . OR BOY
Eyelash TransplantsYes indeed, folks, you read that correctly. For only $3,000 an eye, daddy's little girl can replace her ordinary eyelashes with sweeping, lush, thick versions. Perfect to match her nose, her boobs, her dimples, her blue eyes, her slimmed-down jawbone, and every other manifestation of of her imagined beauty that science rebuilt, reconstructed, rejiggered, and reified. And lest you think I'm picking on women, let me assure you, there's no doctor I'm aware of that'll refuse these services to a man (unless, of course, he lives with his "partner," which might offend the delicate sensibilities of certain Christian fundamentalist cosmetic surgeons).
Apart from my aesthetic and other philosophical objections to this slicing & dicing, it's the economics of it that really concern me. For money, and nothing more, people can turn themselves and their children into "better" versions of their breed. We've all seen the studies indicating that those who are "better looking" are deemed to be more intelligent, nicer, friendlier, and more trustworthy. Hell, deny it though we'd like, we know it to be true in our own lives. Think of co-workers you profoundly dislike. While a handsome fella or hot babe will show up on the list, more likely than not, it's the unattractive that are over-represented. There's a reason movie stars are all great-looking. We like attractive people, beyond the aesthetic or sexual.
And right now, the rich can purchase that cache for their children. I'm not saying that shouldn't be allowed. But it's a reality I can't ignore, and I'm not sure how anyone can.
Slowly but surely we continue to move towards a world where the wealthy can enjoy every imaginable advantage over their less-fortunate brethren & sistren. It's always been true that a wealthy man could marry a beautiful woman, thus ensuring comely and handsome offspring. But with a medical system that rewards doctors for the superficial rather than the medical, as well as a society obsessed with youth and appearence, Huxley's world of Alphas & Betas & Gammas doesn't look to be too far off.
Think about it. We have the ability to clone sheep and dogs and other species. We're able to engage in all sorts of genetic engineering. It doesn't take a genius to extrapolate to humans (I'm no genius and I just did it). And of course, the costs of such procedures will be astronomical, prohibitive to all but the wealthiest. Do the math: two-tiered society at its most fundamental.
In the meantime, cosmetic surgery-for-cosmetic surgery's sake remians merely a philosophical and medical abomination. But with the door to genetics opening ever wider, those of us inclined to give a knee-jerk rubber stamp to cloning and other methodology need to think seriously about what it means for the future of society and humanity. Odds are, most of us and our offspring won't be alphas.
I'm not saying we need to join the Bushes and Santorums of the world in opposition to stem-cell research and other scientific innovation. These methods are here, and they're here to stay. Plus, they can & will legitimately help people to live longer, to live heathier. But, as with everything, those with money & power will use them to their own advantage, possibly to the exclusion of everyone else. Just food for thought.