Human beings are classified in the kingdom animalia, the same kingdom in which any animal on this planet is classified. However, as Homo sapiens, there is something more to us than the rest of the species in our kingdom. We have the distinct ability to build off what we have learned from one another in order to continually develop new methodologies, skills and competencies. In doing so, we have become dissatisfied with living our lives simply for the sake of reproduction as other animals do. As humans have evolved we, in a sense, have come to a period of time in which we are learning and creating at a level too high for our own good. Through major advancements in science and technology, as well our distinct ability to think past the basic needs of life, human beings are becoming a species with more power than we are fit to handle.
In Gattaca, a movie set in the future, technology has developed in such a way that allows people to select what qualities they want to provide for their offspring. At first glance, having this ability seems highly desirable. Parents can choose the behaviors that they believe will provide their son or daughter with the best possible future. However, eliminating all of our imperfections is not necessarily as ideal as it sounds. Some of the most impressive human accomplishments have come from a situation in which a person’s status is considered inferior because of a disability they have. These life-changing disabilities, or errors, often shape a person to become someone they would normally never be and push them to do things beyond their imagination. Thus, this idea that perfect means errorless is false; instead, perfection should be defined as ‘satisfying to whom it applies’.
We often define a term by explaining what is not, rather than what it is. If perfection is not defined as errorless, than error is acceptable in our idealistic world. Scientifically speaking, errors are mutations that without, humans simply would not exist. Mutations in DNA have allowed cells to grow from a single anaerobic cell into extremely complex cell systems such as plants and animals. “The Wonderful Mistake” is an essay in which writer Lewis Thomas considers the possibility of recreating the first cell. In addressing the benefits of error, Thomas states that “each of the mutations that have brought us along represents a random, totally spontaneous accident, but it is no accident at all that mutations occur; the molecule of DNA was ordained from the beginning to make small mistakes” (32). Here, Thomas discusses the idea that we would fail upon attempting to complete this task because we would instinctively strive to achieve a result that is flawless, at least in the creator’s eyes. While Thomas argues that error is both acceptable and essential, Gattaca provides the argument that we must create everything to an errorless standard. When Maria and Antonio, the characters looking to design their new child, walk into the genetic counselor’s office, they are slightly hesitant to pick and choose all of the qualities of their new child. Upon Antonio voicing his uncertainty, the counselor immediately tries to convince him that eliminating all risk of flaw is undoubtedly the best option: “You want to give your child the best possible start. Believe me, we have enough imperfection built-in already. Your child doesn’t need any additional burdens. Keep in mind this child is still you, simply the best of you.” (Niccol 40). The counselor has come to believe that they must control this child’s fate, instead of letting the development play its natural course. Even after hearing the counselor’s allegedly conciliatory words, Antonio and Maria are still not completely sold on the idea, to which the doctor responds with more persuasion. Here it is evident that power has become an overbearing responsibility. The counselor’s perspective in this situation is highly representative of that of modern society. Rather...
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