Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age

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9780805070965: Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age

From the bestselling author of The End of Nature comes a passionate plea to limit the technologies that could change the very definition of who we are

We are on the verge of crossing the line from born to made, from created to built. Sometime in the next few years, a scientist will reprogram a human egg or sperm cell, spawning a genetic change that could be passed down into eternity. We are sleepwalking toward the future, argues Bill McKibben, and it’s time to open our eyes.

In The End of Nature, nearly fifteen years ago, McKibben demonstrated that humanity had begun to irrevocably alter—and endanger—our environment on a global scale. Now he turns his eye to an array of technologies that could change our relationship not with the rest of nature but with ourselves. He explores the frontiers of genetic engineering, robotics, and nanotechnology—all of which we are approaching with astonishing speed—and shows that each threatens to take us past a point of no return. We now stand at a critical threshold, poised between the human past and a post-human future.

Ultimately, McKibben offers a celebration of what it means to be human, and a warning that we risk the loss of all meaning if we step across the threshold. His wise and eloquent book argues that we cannot forever grow in reach and power—that we must at last learn how to say, “Enough.”

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About the Author:

Bill McKibben writes regularly for The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Natural History, The New Republic, and many other publications. His first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 after being excerpted in The New Yorker and was a national bestseller. His other books include The Age of Missing Information, Maybe One, and Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously. He lives with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, and daughter in Vermont.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

From Enough:

What will you have done to your newborn when you have installed into the nucleus of every one of her billions of cells a purchased code that will pump out proteins designed to change her? You will have robbed her of the last possible chance for creating context—meaning—for her life. Say she finds herself, at the age of sixteen, unaccountably happy. Is it her being happy—finding, perhaps, the boy she will first love—or is it the corporate product inserted within her when she was a small nest of cells, an artificial chromosome now causing her body to produce more serotonin? Don’t think she won’t wonder: at sixteen a sensitive soul questions everything. But perhaps you’ve “increased her intelligence”—and perhaps that’s why she is questioning so hard. She won’t be sure if even the questions are hers.

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