So, there are themes that run through people’s work, sometimes without the author realizing.
Now, I’m not the sharpest spoon in the drawer, but I can read print when it’s six feet tall and printed in letters of fire.
I’ve long ago realized that “what is being human” and “how to be human” is one of the main themes of my work.
Not that I set out to do it, mind you. It just sort of happens.
Perhaps it is part of being an Odd, an Outlier, not a joiner, but one who stands out.
One of my earliest memories of childhood is of the renter kids (all older than I) locking the gate from grandma’s backyard to their yard, as a way to make sure I wasn’t even allowed to be near them when they played.
I remember standing there, hands on the gate, plotting vengeance. Because that’s who I am, and that’s what I do. Apparently. Although frankly, I’m not big on vengeance these days, first because I’m too lazy to be proactive about it, and second because people who are nasty for no particularly reason usually end up being their own worst punishment. (All of those kids self-screwed, without my having to lift a finger. It’s a thing of beauty.)
Anyway, perhaps I stood outside groups looking in long enough that I came to the conclusion that maybe I’m not one of them monkeys. And then I had to think myself back into how I am in fact one of those monkeys, even though their fur is brown and mine seems to be dyed a bright, hot pink. We still largely behave the same way. My instinct to belong might be attenuated, but I’m still a social animal, and I still enjoy the company of my kind.
Or to put it another way, I might be different, but no matter how little the rest of the species likes it, I’m still wholly human.
Yet it’s no wonder that my future history revisits the question of “what is it to be human?”
You can see, as the genetic knowledge and ability to manipulate improves in the DST world, they start getting cutesy. Because THEY have lost track of what the point of humanity is, and so treat humans as just any other animal. So, yeah, you start seeing things like creating human-animal hybrids that look like things out of mythology (as in, the short story Ariadne’s Skein.) And intentionally handicap children, and–
The thing is, we will. I mean it’s no use saying it’s bad or it’s unethical. If the science is there, we will use it. And if the utilitarian idea of humans being a cog in the societal machine, or people who exist to serve some purpose is there, then creating humans to be show pieces, or intentionally disabled or whatever will be done all over and with gusto.
And the utilitarian idea is already there. We’ve lost the sense that humans are important because they’re human, and instead, humans are only granted humanity if they’re “wanted” (as though Craigslist weren’t full of pets who were once desperately wanted, but who live to be not wanted at all) or if they’re going to serve some purpose.
Given that, how easy is it for governments to create creatures from human genes who are deliberately made different from normal humans and who are more or less slaves.
And once that is done what is it to prevent us from creating “supermen” to rule us?
Which is how the “Good Men” come into being, though originally they’re not supposed to rule anything, but only to “serve” the state. It’s just that once you endow them with intelligence, manipulative ability and, well… everything… what is to prevent them taking over?
And why should people who haven’t been raised as humans, cherished because they’re humans and no more, love or respect humanity?
Since we’re already raising and indoctrinating kids to be “good for something” instead of “the best human being you can be.” we’re already on that road.
Treating any human as a thing is diminishing humanity as a whole. And each of us in particular.