Home > Fiction > The Kevorkian Principle: Commentary

The Kevorkian Principle: Commentary

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

You probably ought to read the story first.

This was the first of my assignments on chuckpalahnuik.net (The Cult).  We needed to take a line we had previously written on the message boards (i.e. we didn’t know at the time we’d use that line as prose), and we needed to use a fact from one of our cohort’s background.  There were some other aspects: we needed to have 2,500-3,000 words, the main character had to go through at least one irrevocable change, and we only had 72 hours to write it.

My line, reused: “I view it as an issue of politeness, but I probably ought to get over myself.”

My cohort’s background fact: One of them is training for a 5K.  Also, there are a couple of PhDs who seem fairly dissatisfied with their current jobs or the job market in general, so there is that.

This is still in rough draft stage.  I’m fairly happy with it, but I will post another draft as I go through the process.

I think it communicates a few things.  We have a better understanding of Aldus Huxley’s warnings from A Brave New World.  At the time, the stuff he wrote about was crazy sci-fi.  Now, much of the technology needed to monitor  and control us is available.  The crazy thing is, it’s all consumer stuff.  We pay for it and want it to track us.  I have my iPhone and iPod.  I run with them, I upload the stats to a website, I take them with me everywhere.  My phone has a GPS I use constantly.  We want more convenience and we’ll pay for it.  Even if there is the potential bad.  I love technology.  I am no uni-bomber, please.  But we should always take the time to consider where we are letting technology take us.  Rather, we should consider where we are begging technology to take us.

Part of the inspiration for this story is the cancer cure via DNA sequencing.  This is something we’ve already done. Over a decade ago.  The Human Genome Project is on the cusp of allowing this for everyone.  Cancer’s clock is ticking.

Another piece of my thought process was discussions with my dad about the dwindling value of secondary degrees.  Many of the salient points are recounted in the story.  The GI Bill angle, I credit to Dr. Goldstein (Amazon link).  His classes were spectacular chaotic fire hoses of information.  That GI Bill analysis is but a drop of the wisdom torrent.

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  1. Nate the Snake
    September 23, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Yes, we have sequenced the human genome. Thing is, we don’t know what 95% of it is there for. The current theories are that it isn’t really important because it doesn’t produce something that we can detect. We are getting better at treating cancer, but there are still very few cures.

    • October 1, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      Sure, but genome research has become exponential. The Futures in Biotech podcast has covered this before, and they interviewed someone from the Personal Genome Project whose goal is sequence 100,000 genomes in the next few years. As we get this giant catalog of data, we’ll be able o find more answers.

      Of course, I’m a tech optimist. I am, conversely, a government with tech pessimist.

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