My post isn’t specifically concerned with writing today–in an obvious way, I suppose. Last night I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, reading the news, and an article caught my eye: Scientists have completed the first cloning of a primate. Since Dolly the sheep they have successfully cloned numerous species of animals, but copying the genetic material of primates has proven much more difficult than initially imagined. This is a major milestone; this brings the cloning of humans well within the realm of possibility.
To top off out-of-the-norm topics in my world, I also got into a discussion today about the first human head transplant which is slated to be performed at the end of this year. Doctors, and I imagine scientists, have found a willing participant. According to my co-worker, who has been following this closely with her children, they’re certain it can be done because a cadaver head was surgically attached to a separate cadaver body and electrical impulses sent through the heart stimulated the correct parts of the brain.
Take into account the other strange and upsetting happenings occurring around the world (Trump, North Korea, Africa, Russia, #MeToo) and I’m left standing here scratching my head. I feel as though I’ve walked into a Jules Verne novel and no one told me.
I know a lot of what I’ve shared is old news but I still feel shocked by much of what I come across in the news. Well, not shocked so much as appalled. Occasionally pleasantly surprised or intrigued. It’s an odd feeling when the world seems stranger than fiction right now.
All of these topics I’ve brought up also involve complex systems of morals and ethics that are hotly debated all the time, and while I can’t say for certain what side of the fence I’m on in some circumstances, I think all of them make story more important than ever. I’m a big believer in science, especially medical science, and speaking ones truth. But even the history of transplants is fraught with ethical dilemmas—for instance, the doctor who broke ground with transplants, whose name I can’t seem to recall at the moment, did so by basically mashing animals together in the 1900s.
I guess my point today is to urge people to tell their stories, especially the ones others don’t want to hear and maybe the ones you don’t want to tell. It’s a weird world right now but we need some guiding principles and solid, moral examples. Silence is not a good response in our current moment. I may not be good at carrying the loud speaker, but I have words at my disposal. I’m willing to write and share them and hopefully set a good example.