"...our genetically-enriched descendants may view us as little better than sociopaths. For with enlightened gene-therapy the role of, say, key receptor sub-types of the 'civilising neurotransmitter' serotonin, the 'hormone of love' oxytocin, and the 'chocolate amphetamine' phenylethylamine, can be radically enhanced. When naturally loved-up and blissful on a richer cocktail of biochemicals than anything accessible today, our post-human successors will be able, not just to love everyone, but to be perpetually in love with everyone as well. Whether we'll choose to exercise this option just because it's technically feasible is another question. Cynics may argue that the scenario of lifelong egoistic bliss is more plausible. It's been well said that when we're in love, we find it astonishing it's possible to love someone else so much - because normally we love each other so little. This indifference, or at best diffuse benevolence, to the rest of the world's population is easily taken for granted in a competitive consumerist society - or on the plains of the African savannah. Quasi-psychopathic callousness to our fellows is an ingredient of 'normal' archaic mental health. Yet our deficiencies in love are only another grim expression of selfish DNA. If humans had collectively shared the greater degree of genetic relatedness common to many of the social insects (haplodiploidy), then we might already "naturally" be able to love each other with greater enthusiasm. Sociobiologists would then explain why we all loved each other so deeply, not so little. Happily, in the future it will be possible to mimic, and then magnify out of all recognition, the kind of altruistic devotion to each other that might have arisen if were we all 100% genetically-related clones. Hints of a capacity for universal love can be glimpsed fleetingly today, most commonly on the empathogen 'hug-drug' MDMA (Ecstasy). But a predisposition towards loving each other to bits can also be genetically pre-programmed. This capacity can become innate. Empathetic bliss needn't be a drug-induced aberration. For if the right sort of psychochemical cocktail is automatically triggered whenever anyone one knows is present or recollected, then we can combine absolute, unconditional and uninhibited love for each other with a celebration of the diversity of genes, physiques and cultures. At present this prospect may seem some way off...."
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The Abolitionist Project
Critique of Brave New World E-mail Dave