Describe the advantages and disadvantages of living in a world such as that depicted in GATTACA. Secondly, imagine that you live in this world. Describe how you envisage your life, including the good and bad. Include the kinds of issues that people living in this world would have to deal with everyday.
The film Gattaca is based on the theme of a eugenic society in which science and medicine are imperative in the running of the world. Medicine in this movie has the ability to genetically engineer humans before they are born. The geneticist selects the best genes from the mother and father to create a near close to perfect child, which most of the time is born with no diseases or flaws. The appearance of the child can also be selected and sometimes geneticists take it upon themselves to make the child as close as possible to their ideological views on perfection. However, this film presents to society a major ethical dilemma involving the morals and ethics associated with cloning, stem cell research, genetically modified food and genetic engineering.
There would be both numerous advantages and disadvantages of living in a world such as the one depicted in Gattaca. The advantages of living in such a world are primarily based upon the medical and scientific advancements in this society. The spread of sex linked diseases including muscular dystrophy and colour deficiency would be significantly reduced if genetic engineering was available. Geneticists would have the ability to ensure that the child of a carrier would not be born with the disease. This could potentially save the lives of thousands of baby boys as most sex linked diseases are specific to males. The spread of AIDs in babies could also be considerably reduced, if geneticists had the ability to select the best genes from parents and create the almost perfect child. The most important advantage of living in a world such as Gattaca would be that babies could be born without any diseases, which in essence has the possibility of saving hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
The main disadvantage of a Gattaca-like world would be an extreme division between the social classes. This dilemma was presented in the film. Individuals that were born without the aid of a geneticist were called God Children and were deemed to be In-Valids as a result of their genes. This particular group of people were discriminated against because they had some form of imperfection which labelled them as being In-Valids. There is no guarantee that if our own world today was like Gattacas, that this genetic discrimination would not occur. As a result of this discrimination, In-Valids were forced into what was considered to be the least important occupations in the community. They did not have the opportunity to earn as much money as a Valid person. These people were socially disadvantaged and were a lot of the time looked down upon. The major disadvantages of living in this world would be the issues of genetic discrimination and being socially deprived.
If I lived in a world like Gattaca, the whole outcome of my life would be based upon my genes. It would come down to if I was a Valid or an In-Valid. If I was a Valid, my life would be perfect. I would be financially supported through my job, own a beautiful house, a car and all the other materialistic things people grow attached to. Being a Valid would mean that I was socially accepted by my peers and would not have to worry about this so-called discrimination that only In-Valids undergo. However, my life would be tremendously different if I was an In-Valid.
Being an In-Valid would equal genetic discrimination and a particular deprivation of opportunities in society. If my genes were somehow imperfect according to the standards of geneticists, then people would look at me strangely. They would treat me differently and it would be extremely difficult to find work. In-Valids like me would become the new poorer class as opposed to those who were Valids. I would be categorised into the In-Valid group. People would judge me before I even spoke. I would be subject to genetic discrimination and deprived socially for the entirety of my life.
Gattaca is a captivating film that deeply explores the issues of genetic engineering, genetic discrimination and presents to the audience an example of a eugenic society. The film shows the world the possible outcomes of science and medicine dominating the world. It clearly portrays a society that may have taken medicine a little too far by making genetic engineering the norm. The film also teaches people that we cannot fully take genetic engineering as far as Gattaca. Genetic engineering should be used for the purpose of eliminating diseases that are harmful to society. It should not socially divide the world in half by saying who that some people are genetically better than others. Genetic engineering is fundamental in removing sex linked diseases before these children are born. It is the only way at present we can stabilise the growing the number of people with these sicknesses.
Film: GattacaProduced by: Andrew NiccolDirected by: Danny DeVitoColumbia Pictures1997
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