Illustration by Susanne Gold/ text by Ted Ganten
In this clip you will get more information on “Terraism”. Download the full book.
Why should a terraistic association perpare humanity for the coexistence with cyborgs or trasngenetic humans? Well, the pressure and the motivation to act is growing with the opportunities that arise and our ability to implement them safely. Judge yourself.
Which DNA sequences are desirable?
There are animals that are immune to cancer (for example naked mole and blind mice) and others that are extremely long-lived (for example Greenland sharks, turtles, macaws, and certain lobsters). A tropical jellyfish (Turritopsis Dohrnii) is even relatively immortal due to special re-generation cells. The jelly fish will not die of a natural death and it is said that specimen have been found to be a few thousand years old. A Mexican amphibian grows whole body parts by itself (“Axolotl”) if they are separated and … The possibilities are almost unlimited in their combination applied to humans.
How big is our appetite for risk?
In contrast to cyborg technologies, transgenic changes in creatures capable of reproduction will enter the Earth’s germ line and gene pool. This is critical because the long-term consequences are hardly predictable. The risk is matched by considerable temptations. The possibility alone of starting a cancer-free and particularly long-lived family is certainly attractive. We still lack knowledge of the interrelationships and we may have to become better at the targeted modification of sequences. But the technology is developing rapidly and is neither expensive nor particularly difficult. People have killed for and died themselves in the strive for eternal life, so it will also come to humans.
Time to shiver in anxiety?
Instead of fighting against the development, I think it would be more sensible to focus the discussion on framework conditions that could be helpful in this development. I do not see any reason for panic. It is nothing new for planet Earth: The snail Elysia Chlorotica does it and we already do it on other than human animals. If you don’t take humans in their current development stage a “god given” unchangeable element, you will have to admit the great potential in it. People who live to be 400 years old would certainly plan and handle resources differently than they do today. Isn’t a world without cancer something to dream about?
Next week we will see how our terrasitic association may contribute and react to this unstoppable development.