Discussion Board

Topic: Conscious Selection

From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston
Date: 04/27/2008

Hello again Greg,

I have been reading again David Brin's "The Uplift War," and came to Part Three of that book and had forgotten the he quotes you on that page.

The quote:

"Natural selection won't matter soon, not anywher near as much as conscious selection. We will civilize and alter ourselves to suit our ideas of what we can be. Within one more human lifespan, we will have changed ourselves unrecognizably."

I am thinking how profound your prediction was, especially in light of the phrase "Within one more human lifespan," and was wondering if you still hold the same view twenty (or more) years since the quote was published.


Jimmy

Re: Conscious Selection

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/07/2008

Hm! I'd forgotten that as well. I'm probably not the first to make that observation--might have been J.D. Bernal back in 1929! But yes, I do believe we've already altered our evolutionary track. Interesting that feedback from animal behavior to the genes--and not just in sexual selection--has always been a force in evolution.

Re: Conscious Selection

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 05/07/2008

Yeah, but it mostly ain't conscious despite the rampant egocentrism that proclaims 'free will'. That is, our animal brains are still quite in reign. Which then brings one (or, at least me - HEH) to wonder how, and to what degress, we can interact with them.

Re: Conscious Selection

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/07/2008

We could call it will as opposed to happenstance. I ask for ice cream--or the ice cream truck hits me. Which is conscious will in action? Animal brain--I have no problem with that. We're animal top to bottom.

Re: Conscious Selection

From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston
Date: 05/08/2008

I was watching a recent episode of "Brothers and Sisters", a scene where Rob Lowe's character and what's-her-name were looking over a PHOTO of different eggs that she could decide to have implanted. There were different symbols associated with each egg, that indicated certain traits that her future offspring might have.

They acted like they were browsing a Neiman Marcus catalog picking out china or something.

Just a thought...



Jimmy

Re: Conscious Selection

From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston
Date: 05/08/2008

One more thought:

There is a word from your quote that glares out, as if printed in red, and that is the word "unrecognizably." I am easily reminded of the many instances where INDIVIDUALS in your books have chosen to alter themselves genetically/physically/mentally.

Do you see any of us taking vinegar baths in the near future?!!


Jimmy

Re: Conscious Selection

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/08/2008

It's coming, no doubt about it. Designer babies!

Re: Conscious Selection

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/08/2008

I may at that time have been thinking of the sort of changes evident in EON. QUEEN OF ANGELS is a little more moderate!

Re: Conscious Selection

From: ryan
Location: cleveland, oh
Date: 05/11/2008

with all the surplus orphans running around you gotta wonder why fertility research is such a hot technology in this era of global commodities. It may be some kind of ego trip or the intellectual extension of the fundamental biological instinct.

If/When we begin modifying ourselves for longevity new conflicts will arise. People will get old and accumulate property and power and hold onto it. There won't be so much property and power for the new generations to acquire. But the old will have a strong interest in producing genetic offspring as allies against the the genetic offspring of other powerful wealth-accumulators. complicated fuedal organization and etiquettes will arise in families to maintain some kind of unity against outsiders and barriers to entry.

Did somebody say vinegar?

From: Cecilia Hampton
Location: California
Date: 05/11/2008

Braggs Organic Unfiltered Vinegar brand--drinking it daily. Good for what ails you! Am I evolving?

Re: Conscious Selection

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles
Date: 05/12/2008

Reflections on the above:

"Man will recreate himself from primordial substances, atoms and molecules so that he can live in any environment, take on any form." --Nikolai Fedorov (1828-1903)

Shirley Maclaine's crowd would say getting hit by the ice cream truck is a conscious choice, as well (hope springs eternal).

Designer babies don't worry me. It's when the babies start demanding designer parents that things get creepy...

Re: Conscious Selection

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/12/2008

Of course, the unscrupulous rich can always hire thugs... or clone them. Or do what Ceaucescu did in Romania, and raid the orphanages to create his army of fanatic bodyguards. They remained loyal to the very end.

Did somebody say vinegar?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/12/2008

Mary Choy applied her vinegar externally. But Braggs is what the Working Poet drinks daily... And it seems to work fine. I can see the poster now!

Re: Conscious Selection

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/12/2008

You mean, go back in time and kill your clone master's fashion consultant?

Re: Conscious Selection

From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston
Date: 05/13/2008

I would settle for a simple transform - perhaps hair on my head again (the real thing).

ryan: Have you read Vernor Vinge's "Realtime" books? They are very interesting and portions remind me of what you have written.

"Programming" children to be warriors smacks of Card's "Ender" books. The ones that I have read are fascinating. "Ender's Game" is one of the most original and great sf novels to date.

I truly love hard sf. Many authors of the genre are prophets.

Upon learning that I read a lot, freinds always recommend books (self-help, etc.), and I have learned to respond that I only read for PLEASURE, and what a pleasure it is.


Jimmy

Re: Conscious Selection

From: Jimmy Kinchloe
Location: Houston
Date: 05/13/2008

ryan: I am so sorry. I was thinking of Haldeman's "Old Twentieth", and not Vinge's books.

Add a short-term memory transform to my list.


Jimmy

Re: Conscious Selection

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 05/15/2008

Ah, good stuff, here. There is the possibility that humanity could reach some sort of critical point and realise they don't need a whole lot of stuff to be satisfied, happy, and creative. There is...or rather was....a great economy in music. This could be a model for things. It is in some way for me.

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