Wednesday, January 03, 2007
To Serve Man
For those of you out there who may be skeptical of the idea of evolution and beneficial genetic mutation, I would counter with: how do you explain the existence of astrophysicists?
We as a species rely on the works of the hyper-specialized smart people to get things done for us. Inventions in the name of convenience mostly like cars to save us from walking or phones to save us from shouting or Go-gurt to save us having to eat yogurt with our hands. The freedom from menial tasks gives us time to concentrate some of our intellectual aptitudes on more esoteric, less obviously or immediately useful disciplines that will only pay off hundreds of years from now, if ever.
Like astrophysics. That's got to be grueling work. All that time studying and studying. testing and experimenting and accumulating libraries worth of pinpoint-focused knowledge with the knowledge that it will never be enough--not really--on the day in the not too distant future when you find yourself in charge of a project worth billions of taxpayer dollars. When an undertaking is impossible to justify in other terms besides "just to see what it does", there is something of a social imperative not to fuck it up because you wanted to hit the bong and watch Cartoon Network one afternoon in the common room of your Cal Tech dorm fifteen years ago.
What I'm saying is we know that the entire staff of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is peopled with those completely unfamiliar with the vagaries of spontaneous reproduction. Sure, they know how it happens, probably in the most clinically antiseptic eighth-grade-filmstrip way possible, but when it comes to the social aspect of sealing the deal, well, theoretical quantum mechanics wasn't just going to learn itself, now was it? There are, sadly, only so many hours in the day. And in the remaining lifespan of the universe as we know it. And they can probably tell you what that number would be. To three hundred and ninety one decimal places.
So we know these people don't hook up with each other (or anyone else) and spread the astrophysics seed around. The only women they see are either a) their mothers or b) the fat girls at the Star Trek conventions in the Klingon cat-suit and the cardboard foreheads. But even those they don't deign approach because they're all saving themselves for Denise Crosby.
The only thing I can figure, then, is that these people are a genetic freak of nature. They aren't out there procreating, so they must come from their moms drinking mercury when they were pregnant or maybe standing a little too close to the microwave while feeding their disastrous, bottomless gestation-hormonal Hot Pockets craving.
In comic books and film, these mutations would produce laser-beam vision or the ability to fly. In real life, we get people who experience and overwhelming endorphin dump from long division.
I think as a society, necessary as these people are, we are reaching a critical point. We may need to set up an intervention to get these people out of the lab. For our own sakes. We need them to take a few days off, have a nice meal, wash their faces, and especially--especially--take in a movie. Like, for instance and just off the top of my head, The Terminator. Or War of the Worlds.
Upgrade makes aging Mars rovers smarter
They send these machines off to Mars "just to see what they'll do." And now not only will they not die, but we are sending them more technology so they will be smarter.
How long before these two machines meet and then--God help us--breed? Then what? Geometrical multiplication after a generation or two (once they figure out the sticky problem of consanguinity and the dangers of interbreeding), a solar-powered, armor-plated Adam and Eve building a society in the harsh climate of Mars, to brood and sulk and thrive in the red dust of that planet, learning to hate the masters who constructed the Forebears and then left them to rot on that cold, spacious nothing of a dead rock. And then what?
Tripods. And all of humanity will come down to Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning, the creepiest people ever. And with no soft biological core as a weakness, no ridiculous common cold is going to save us.
Descend on Pasadena, Californians. Americans. Humans. Throw open the clean-room doors and let the sunlight fall on some of that pasty, pocky flesh. Drag them to the closest home theater and make them watch Blade Runner. If that creepy-ass Rutger Hauer doesn't set them straight, nothing will.
The animals have already turned on us. Act now before it's too late.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.2