Choices, like anything, are one of the most basic human things present, and as with all things human, we have prepared a list of it's characteristics, types and of course, what's good and what's bad. Unsurprisingly, the collective good of mankind reigns supreme. But, as we are moving in time, new and unique situations will be constantly cropping up, but with new philosophies, where, even the ethical grounds of the human race's existence are questioned, aka the sci-fiction show the 100 (yes, my ethics are being shaped by Netflix).
Should only humans be the beneficiary of morals and ethics? Is the supreme goal of any good only limited to benefit humankind? When you would have asked someone 50 years ago, the answer would have been yes. But now, times are changing, we humans are itself questioning our supremacy, and when we boil all of this down, it surprisingly neither lands on the will of humans to do whatever they want to other creatures (till it doesn't affect other humans) nor should humans have the utmost right to nature's resources, but rather to something more profound, and maybe even dark in some aspects, but let me warn you, it is something inevitable.
Yes, I am talking about Climate change, however this article is not among the numerous ones where I will be proving that it is happening (yes, it is), nor will I say why to reverse it or what to do about it. My aim is to question what to do if humankind encounters a scenario, which I believe climate change may make possible, and that's why it is important to talk about. Things are not as easy as, 'oh, I am a noble person, I will sacrifice myself for humankind, or even earth.' Here, the whole human race comes into question and even the earth. And phrased with thought, the question is not whether the human race should survive, but, does it deserve to survive more than other species?
And phrased with thought, the question is not whether the human race should survive, but, does it deserve to survive more than other species?
Yes, sure we have raised points of animal rights, we are aiming to treat other creatures better, but it was rather out of protecting the ecosystem (which ultimately would have protected us, or plain kindness and pity (no one likes to see a cute puppy suffering). But, now we are talking about one species over the other, and it is not even as simple as the rather complicated question, humans or bees?
Here, the possibilities are rather plain, if we choose humans, and let bees die, the ecosystem won't survive, and humankind and all other creatures will meet their demise. At least, if we choose bees, only humankind (and domesticated animals) will meet their end.
But, if we add more conditions to that (as nothing in this world comes in a straightforward manner), what if the choice goes like this:
What if humans relocate to another planet, but the entire ecosystem gets destroyed or the human species finishes and the ecosystem survives?
Now, most people would go with the former option. So, this is also something which has rather plain options. But our work here is not to examine which is the most practical option. I want to examine the moral and ethical ethos of these choices. Let's remove ourselves from the eyes of a human once and ask ourselves, what makes humans so great that they can be in competition with an entire ecosystem? And this is not some philosophical question that we bring up to sound more intellectual.
With today's scientific advancements, humans are venturing out into the world of DNA, and we may be starting with controlling a few genes on plants or mice, but we will surely reach a stage, maybe 50 or even a 100 years from now, when we will be able to completely construe DNA to form whatever organism we want, then as with all things human, an hierarchy, or a competition of sorts will pan out, where we have to decide which DNA is better. And this will spark a new type of discrimination, which will mostly stem from financial condition. I can hear couples arguing whether they should have their baby's hair black or brown (and many many other things, some of which may also be rather discriminatory). And when capitalism's supply and chain rule kicks in, some genes will have more value than others. For example, genes for thin girls will be more in demand than those of average sized or even plus sized girls like me. Therefore, money your parents have = how beautiful you are (here beauty is what the society at large considers). So, are we even taking away the right of the poor to be beautiful? This particular question in itself is complex, on one hand, they can go for the natural method, but that itself has quite a number of complications, gene therapy/editing/hacking has the power to prevent n-number of genetic diseases/effects etc. Maybe, if the governments, human rights groups or/and UN kicks then the right to select only a particular number of genes can be in place. But on the other and more gory hand, in a society that still isn't able to finish racism, sexism or any other kind of discrimination, even the most liberated, equalist people will take part in xenophobia. Yes, I may not care about the color of skin one has, but to prevent my own kid from discrimination, which is in built in the system and may affect his career, health and overall life, I will make him white [note the gender]. This will perpetuate an exponential arrow which will only propagate xenophobia further. As the number of blacks, LGBTQIA+, and even fat people will decline, as they will be seen as a sign of backwardness and remnants of a chaotic, randomized past.
Maybe the number of women will not decline, as once again, the higher authorities may kick in and mandate it, but are those really effective? After all, we still aren't able to stop female infanticide, plus as gene therapy can also be done in a lab, which is way more discrete, we don't know how it will pan out. But, will those same authorities kick in for race, for "trivial things" such as body size, or LGBTQIA+[which is considered utterly useless by most of them]? Yes some may, but how are we sure everyone will? Even in the present laws are discriminatory against women in many parts of the world.
Even if we forget all of this for a moment, perhaps one ultimate question is will the definition of humans change. What are humans? In the simplest terms of biology, we are a species. With the power of gene therapy, I can change my kids DNA with parts of wolves, tigers or even dolphins. However, in reality it may only be possible for closely related species. But, now who decides what is human and what is not? A psych test? But, take a situation like this, a person injected with wolf DNA, who is kind, social and has a bubbly personality is more human or someone who likes to hole up himself in a room and read all day and has unaltered DNA? What happens when we put in their behavior/beliefs? What if the former is kind, selfless and polite and the latter is cruel, disrespectful and vain? In terms of philosophy, the former will be considered human. But, we can't think like that, in terms of science, the latter is to be classified as 'more human'. In the future, this can decide your rights, duties and status. These differences of what is human and what is not will be one day blurred by science.
These questions remain unknown, as we don't know how the future will pan out, maybe by an offset chance we discover that genes can be only changed to a certain limit and we all mortal beings are subject to natural selection. But, it is a thoughtful exercise to see what would have happened if we humans do have all the power, as then we can truly know how much of it we truly deserve, which may be the only way to answer, do we really deserve to survive?