A World like No Other

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A World like No Other

Kimberly Okesalako

The word genoism is a word coined by Andrew Niccol who also the screenwriter the movie Gattaca. It roughly means the genetic discrimination of people based on their DNA coding. In the movie Gattaca, the people lived in a world where one was either “god-born”- which, while not illegal, was looked down upon by the society and the other were those that were genetically manipulated to have all the advantages of a human and not the disadvantages. The foetuses were made to have longevity in life, to be able to achieve goals in life and to be able to have a high social, political and economic standing.

In a world like Gattaca, science took a major standing with the people just like how the Church did so many years ago. During the age before the Renaissance, the Church was a body that had control over the state. The Church had the power to decide the faith of others and what they said to be the truth was deemed so without any questions. Just like that, science has now taken a standing and frontal role in the lives of the people, controlling how they are too act and behave, what was expected from them and how their genes defined their very existence and in other words their livelihood.

Imagining myself living in a world like that, makes me realise that we all do live in a world where we are still prisoners to the norms of our society. As it was initially with the Church has now shifted to science. To picture myself having to be defined by my genes makes me scared to think about the things that would be denied to me. I would wonder if living in this world, would I still be the same person. Would I still have the same mindset as I do now? If I was born in such a world, would I be born as a god-child or one manipulated by science?

Living in a world like Gattaca goes to show that being someone who can stand up for what they do believe in does not necessarily go a long way. Science, as shown in the movie, does not give room for improvement. In the movie, Ethan Hawke was a god-born child who had a heart defect and was not expected to live past his mid-adulthood. However, towards the end of the movie, we come to know that with his determination he managed to outlive his life expectancy. He even managed to beat his brother (a genetically manipulated child) twice in a friendly competition that had generated from childhood.

Gattaca is a world that I hopefully believe we wouldn’t reach. Coping in such a world would require a large-scale sense of segregation in the society which was seen as a norm by the people. If I were to live in such a world, I feel that my self-esteem would hit a new low that that would be difficult to come out of- that is if I were a god-born child. Now if I were to be born as a genetically manipulated child, I can imagine that I would be glad to be able to fit in. ensuring my own place in society would take place above all else. Being someone who had the upper hand over others, who had first preference over others may seem selfish to those people living in this world. Yet, when one takes a look at what kind of world Gattaca was, people who didn’t have that sense of drive or even selfishness didn’t make it that far.

I found a world like Gattaca to be a disadvantageous one as though it did have a major evolution in the field of science, the fact that we can someday live a long, disease-free life what is the point of increasing our mortality if we didn’t have our humanity to guide us in a sense. A world like ours at the present is one where our emotions take a sit alongside our logical thinking. In a way, it is impossible for us to separate our feelings from the way we think. Gattaca is a world that is run on a logical aspect without emotions getting in the way. The two instances in the movie where we see any emotional level involved in the movie was when Vincent’s passion for going into space takes him so such lengths where he began to walk in the shoes of “Jerome” after undergoing through various changes. Another instance was when the director was found responsible for murder because he didn’t want any interference with the mission as he won’t live to see the next. Passion had driven him to such extents. In short, these two instances were seen as a negative aspect of the movie. Gattaca is a world, were life was given certain proximity and made to look perfect. Yet we do not live in a perfect world as that level of perfection does not exist. We live in the world which we create on daily bases and evolves as time passes. Science and our humanity are on two separate scales and yet they are so intimately entwined.

 

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