I have been wondering if we have a talent for simply abusing any technology that science throws up. While a forest view of things is always preferred in society, we specialize in nit-picking with the individual trees.
Even where conception and birth of a child is concerned.
Time was when everyone thought their child was the best. Growing up was full of surprises, trials, fears, solutions, guidance, giving confidence to the child, and watching as he/she made their way into the world. Yes , there were folks who could not have children, for whatever reason, and the science prevalent then, had no solution. So they either adopted children in the family , or enjoyed being part of a community, without any commitment from themselves.
In today's day and age, adoption of children is finding more and more support, though there is a lot that needs to be done in changing mindsets of folks with some kind of tunnel vision, that allows them to make insensitive and stupid comments where such kids are concerned.
Surrogacy happened earlier, more as a mental thing. There was none of this stuff of explicitly outsourcing wombs. But someone in the family with their own biological children, had a heart large enough to bear a child and beqeath it to you, to bring up as your own. There was nothing secretive. I personally know at least two families where this has happened. One in the last century, and one in this century. And everyone is happy.
Later on, IVF and other assisted technologies came up as a result of exhaustive studies and research, meant to help folks who had problems conceiving a child.
It was never meant as a thing for defining a chromosome mix of a prospective child.
This couple in Chennai , seeking a high IQ level progeny, placed an online advertisement in January 2012, seeking a sperm donor preferrably an IITian for artificial insemination for a compensation of Rs. 20,000 saying, that the ideal candidate for sperms “should be an IIT student, healthy, no bad habits, tall and fair, if possible”. They even agreed to relax a bit on the "looks" part if he happened to be the ‘right person’, and the couple said they intend to “start a family filled with love and prosperity”. Of course asking if they were looking for a male or female progeny would be a stupid question. Prosperity often implies a male progeny, in the minds of such folks, given the implicit dowry considerations in these legally antidowry days.
It is not clear, if these folks were aware of many other undesirable genes that could tag along with the specified one, and whether they thought this was like specifying details of a customised silk saree to be woven in, say, Kanjeevaram. I am just surprised they did not specify a JEE rank, graduation department, specific IIT, and final grade point average.
Then today's paper, TOI, highlights this article on page 1. Fairness today, has ceased to be a mental quality, and now means "white" . Couples are now going in for Caucasian eggs/embryos, later on to be fertilised and implanted in the lady's uterus , so that the progeny, can be guaranteed to be Fair and Lovely. This does not come cheap, and east European donors, who currently dominate the scene, charge in thousands of dollars. There are people who have done this (from Hyderabad), gone to full term, and delivered a female child "as white as milk" according to the super ecstatic mother, who is looking ahead to a brilliant marriage for that child.
While the above may be the leading lights , there are again, ordinary types, who cant bear the sight of some of their own parts, and go under the surgeons knife, to acquire, dream vital statistics, sharp noses, rounder eyes, fuller lips, smoother faces, and lifted chins. Pop Idol Michael Jackson experimented further in trying to achieve whiteness, that actually gave white a new meaning.
While gardens may be beautifully landscaped, forests cannot be landscaped. And life is not about being a prizewinning landscaped tree trimmed just so in a sanitized garden. It is about being part of a forest system, where there is natural growth and learning amidst a variety of trees. Some providing shade, some providing a leg-up to climb somewhere, and some simply rooting themselves firmly, in the interests of everyone around. Those that do not produce beautiful flowers, sometimes produce amazing fruit. Some simply impress with their hardy attributes, and some, like a healthy grandparent , even provide kids with a place to swing on. There is an ability to be a place of rest for birds , a shady place for travellers passing through their lives, and sometimes, it is about being a rock of support , standing tall and firm in stormy times.
I wonder how science will specify these qualities in a future progeny, for those "start-up entrepreneurs" trying for designer kids.
If God was an IT systems designer analyst , he would get completely confused, when testing the end product for quality assurance.
Imagine an online celestial site, say, Mafaleshu.com, where folks can specify wishes for what kind of kids they wish for. There will be some registration data that specifies your own life details, the husband's details, the in-law situation, , ages and so on. Then there will be a section where, you will be asked your specs for the child, that you wish in your life. Girl or Boy ? Complexion ? Height ? .
Then on special demand, version 1.2 of the system will be announced and folks will be able to specify what inborn talents, intelligence, possible future graduation discipline, GPA, threshold salary, size of the arteries, power of the heart (as a pump only) , shape of the nose, color of hair, shape of eyes and pupil color, length of eyelashes, voice quality, left and right brain powers .
Like so many systems announced today with great fanfare, this system will then hang, thanks to too many people logging in from the subcontinent.
Finally the system will crash .
I secretly hope they that will not succeed in restoring it back.
If I were God, I would simply empty the Recycle Mental Bin, and press CTRL-ALT-DEL.