The Power of Pretty


Seems that in our world, every problem, from small to large, grows from the simple root of limits. When does a habit become an addiction? When is a lie no longer considered white? When does free speech turn to slander or free expression a disruption of peace? And when does genetic tampering become playing with fire?

Just yesterday, I was far more concerned with another topic: weeds. Seems, in some countries, lavender is considered a weed, says my close friend. This comes as a shock. "Well," my friend responds, "We all pick our own weeds."

He goes on to tell me about W magazineís beauty predictions for the upcoming century. Ideas include emu oil as a cosmetic ingredient, chemically altered water as an exfoliant and skin cremes that use reflection and rays to prefect skin tone.

While this is all particularly creepy, other innovations are considerably more so. Acne sufferers may soon be able to grow new skin. The bone marrow of cadavers can be used to rejuvenate the skin. Most frightening: Scientists have found the gene that may cause cell death. Using this newfound information, we may be able to stop aging past forty-five. We may also be able to prolong and elongate a human life.

While all this may sound great, it also leaves one to wonder: where is the limit? If these new innovations were used to increase brainpower or physical ability, it would automatically, and justifiably be considered immoral and dangerous. Cynics would point out how precariously close to A Brave New World new methods were inching.

However, for the sake of beauty, these discoveries seem relatively benign. Face it- while physical beauty is vital to society, the pursuit of it is seen as a cheap and shady business. Somehow, a society of genetically augmented beautiful people isnít as harrowing as a word of genetically enhanced embryos and superbrains.

To me, genetic supermodels are just as frightening as genetic Einsteins. And just as close to Huxley. Science is never content simply to know. Instead, they must manipulate their knowledge in search of perfection. Giving us these quick fixes ensure that, but they shorten our societyís tolerance and acceptance levels. Pressure to yield and change will reach frenzy, given the ability to do so. There will be no excuse for imperfection or ugliness. People will be forced to change. Individuality will be compromised.

The scientific standpoint is far worse. If we are able to end aging, when will we be able to prevent death? Living into your eighties suddenly becomes nineties and beyond. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the insanity in prolonging life. Scientifically and even spiritually, it must be agreed that mortality has a natural endpoint. This Victor Frankenstein method could have disastrous consequences: an increase in sickness, and over population. Our bodies arenítí made to live for a century, and our civilization wasnít built to support us.

Reproducing skin can also be looked at in the same fashion. When give an inch, science always takes a mile. After skin, organs. Then, a human? Certainly, after so much progress, such atrocities will be justified.

These changes may be seen as exaggerations. However, it is easy to see how the beauty industry could be the limitless and easily ignored medium for genetic tampering. An industry on the verge of a downward spiral. An inconspicuous weed disguised as a beautiful flower.