I think I accidentally went to an undergrad party last night.
- Overheard conversations regarding certain party-goers inability to purchase alcohol
- Games with beer
- A lot of standing around and walking from room to room
- The girls in the apartment were not, in aggregate, wearing enough fabric on their bottom halves to constitute a single pair of what we call “pants”
Anyway, so my lazy 26-year-old butt was parked on a couch with a grown-up pumpkin beer in hand, forcing the other two confirmed 26-year-olds in the room to converse with me. I just finished reading Nancy Farmer’s The House of the Scorpion and had begun Nancy Werlin’s Double Helix, so naturally, I wanted to talk about clones.
The clones in The House of the Scorpion are normal, functioning humans who happen to have a perfect DNA match. But because this futuristic society can’t handle the idea of two identical humans having two separate souls, they classify clones as livestock, as property, as less-than-human. Well, actually, the futuristic society probably decided that they wanted to do terrible things to clones (oh, like raising them like animals and eventually HARVESTING THEIR ORGANS) and therefore decided to classify them as livestock to make this legal. But anyway… the clones basically don’t have any human rights.
Now that I finished Double Helix, I know that the book was more about transgenics and eugenics than cloning, but the books raise similar questions. My fellow 26-year-old party-goers and I discussed some of these extremely important genetic questions:
– Do clones have freewill? Does anyone have freewill? If we both have freewill or if neither have freewill, does that make us the same or different?
– Would it be possible someday for one person to be able to control a clone with their brain? Like one computer that can run multiple systems, or networked computers?
– How much can genetic tampering really matter in the long run? Are genes a map that eliminates any concept of free will? Or are they guidelines for someone’s potential to act?
– If genes are a map, then what happens when two people have the same map? Or if people start tampering with that map?
It was all very unintelligible and speculative and really, I just wanted to kill time before I could make a hasty escape from the standing and pantslessness and the music mix that was a bit heavy on the Shaggy.
Suddenly, an undergraduate darted across the room and invited himself into our conversation. “Wait,” he said, interrupting whatever it was we were actually discussing. “Answer me this:
Do you believe in fate or chance?
Do you believe we are meant to be here, that there is some higher power?
What is our purpose on this planet if everything is random?”
Leave it to an undergraduate to bust up a perfectly innocent science fiction discussion and BOMBARD ME WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MEANING OF EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE!
I can say that because I am an old, old lady now.
(Then again, my fellow mature party-goers and I did the following on the way home:
1. Laughed at a piece of mail we found at the bus stop addressed to “He Suc Hwang”
2. Had a really heated, highly mature debate regarding the legitimacy of Beer Pong as a valuable past-time
3. Lost The Game a few dozen times, which hasn’t happened to me since…. you guessed it… undergrad)
Oh, P.S., can we all take a moment to wave at Kayla from Freckles in April? She linked to my post about how much I love stories out-loud and my tiny little blog has never seen so many hits. Despite my lack of interest in dressing myself properly, I have enjoyed Kayla’s blog for a number of months now. Additionally, it is possible that Kayla possesses at least one elf ear.
This means we must have some kind of kindred ear communion. Or something that sounds less weird. And perhaps I should consider dressing as a Lord of the Rings character for Halloween, which is exactly one more costume idea than the zero I had before this morning.