poly: more clones

From: Damien Broderick <damien@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Sun Jan 11 1998 - 05:35:17 PST

At 07:27 PM 1/10/98 +0100, [another extropian list-member] wrote elsewhere:

>Also, history has shown what humans can do to other humans when they're given
>the right to do whatever they want to do to them. For example, at times war.
>In WW II, a brothel was created for female Jews who were later (after being
>used, as the products they had become) disposed in the gas chambers. Ah, I
>guess we'll find some fellows who doubt this on this funny little mailing
>list, too.

This is the hazard I see as the most dangerous - the slow degradation of
individual worth, the continuing pressure to see people as `products'. It
used to irritate me greatly when dumbed-down science fiction and horror
movies/TV represented `clones' as mindless swarms of identical ant-critters
that were frightening exactly because of this doppelganger quality, and
deserved to be exterminated en masse without a moral qualm. Now I'm
starting to wonder if this tendency in the human mind might not indeed be
activated by certain uses of human cloning.

It's now amusing and slightly uncanny to see identical twins, triplets and
n-tuples. But what happens when some polity really does deliberately and
malignly manufacture hundreds or thousands of people who look almost
indistinguishable. Instant `racism'. "Can't tell one of those
chinks/coons/foreign devils from another," complacent colonials told each
other... and indeed often they couldn't, because their feature detectors
hadn't been wired to do so (quite the reverse). There are many reasons why
nobody would wish to create batches of xeroxed humans - they'd be
vulnerable to the same diseases, all that - but by golly what a gift to
anyone who wished to instantly dehumanise their labor force/army/fuckfarm etc.

Damien Broderick
Received on Sun Jan 11 02:28:38 1998

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