17 May 2021

Uniqueness Is Rare

Dear 19 year old Laura,

I am hastily writing to you while I am waiting for a doctor's appointment. I am currently sitting in the waiting room, waiting to get my genes modified to prevent certain illnesses from developing. This is the only type of modification I am allowing myself to undergo. You have spoken about this subject in class and now, people have gone truly nuts.

This ‘message from the future’ is written by a student of VU Amsterdam, as an assignment in the A Broader Mind course. The interdisciplinary course focuses on personal development and involvement with complex social challenges like poverty, sustainability and the digital world. This series is about genetic modification.

There are three types of people regarding genetic modification. The first is like me, reluctant to change anything about themselves other than improving their health. The second type uses genetic modification as the new plastic surgery. They use it to change their appearance to how they prefer it. The third type are the ones who come up with the most unique ways to genetically modify themselves. You probably think that the man who tried to make himself glow in the dark is striking. Well, I have seen much more.

Even the ones who strive to be unique through genetic modification are only unique for a little while

What I am writing to you probably sounds utopian and I cannot wait until you can register all of this with your own eyes. It is not something to look forward to. Of course the developments in the health department are groundbreaking, don't get me wrong. The problem is that everyone starts looking the same, acting the same, becomes capable of the same things. Uniqueness is rare. Even the ones who strive to be unique through genetic modification are only unique for a little while. It's a matter of time until the next 'unique' thing comes about.

My friends are now 'choosing' their children, they all pick the same type. With their chosen qualities, their future is already determined. One is going to be a great musician, while the other is going to be a scientist. Do you see the problem? Please do something about it while you can... I hope those kids will be just as happy growing up and just as proud of their accomplishments as I get to be of mine.

The computer shows our name. It's my turn to get my genes modified, for healthiness’ sake.

Laura Fogarin

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