Everyone needs a god in their life. If not a divine one, then at least a heroic one. Someone outside their own skin who can personify our best dreams and greatest desires. In the dark hours of the early morning, few of us feel equipped to face the day without some heroes to help light our way.
This is why there are so many American myths resting on the legendary pedestals of heroes like Washington, Lincoln and FDR; Charles Lindbergh, Jonas Salk, and Neil Armstrong; Joe Namath, George Patton, and Oscar Pistorius. Only each of our heroes has failed us at one time or another, Pistorius of South Africa only the latest.
What is there about our compulsion to find and later slay our heroes...?
In Hong Kong there's a 20-year-old scientist Zhao Bowen who believes genetics may be the way to address those questions. He is working with the DNA samples from hundreds of high-IQ volunteers to ferret out the exact codes by which intelligence is genetically inherited. If he finds what he is looking for, the great genetic dream of engineering human lives takes a bold new step. More heroes, less fools, thus a brave new world!
Instead of parents, teachers, coaches and top sergeants simply hoping for the-best-and-brightest, someday our biologists may be able to elevate these hopes into actual heroes. It seems to make sense, for now that we are mastering outer space, the inner space of our lives beckons.
Can you imagine...? Engineering men to become as compelling as Stephen Spielberg at the same time as commanding as George Clooney. Women as smart as Hillary and as stunning as Angelina. Athletes as exciting as Bret Favre but as nice as Peyton Manning. Perhaps even members of Congress as bright as their campaign promises and as honest as their campaign literature.
Seems as if nature is edging out nurture in the classic laboratory rivalry. Any yet is their a downside to all this? Good thing a fellow names Jermey Gruber heads up the Council for Responsible Genetics in Cambridge Massachusetts. He has a hangup with the threat of ambitous, hero-making genetic outliers. Good to know that someone has....
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