Medicine and Human Body - By Abraham Harn

This week’s lecture on medicine, especially the part on plastic surgery, made me wonder about what is the right thing to do when it comes to human intervention of nature. Ever since humans started to understand the use of chemicals to alter natural medical facts, different drugs and technology have been developed to change different aspects of life, some for the better and some for the worse. In years to come, we might be stepping into an era where technology will allow us to be physically (or maybe even mentally) perfect. What kind of change in our values would that bring? What effect would it have on the society?

The increasing knowledge of the human body and advancements in medicine and other related technology has allowed us to improve the images that we have on ourselves. Cosmetics industries have been popular and successful, convincing customers (especially female) to cough up more and more money. Plastic surgeries, especially here in Los Angeles, have also grown increasingly popular in improving people’s physical appearance. Is this normal? Is the ability for people to alter their biological facts going to lead us to a better future?

Chemicals that have been developed to help countless number of lives do exist, and have very clearly benefitted the qualities of lives of many people. Medicines such as pain relievers help people function through their daily tasks. What people do not usually know however, is that most drugs either stimulate or promote what our body is already capable of making, such as neuron transmitters. So in a way, this differs from techniques such as plastic surgeries in those plastic surgeries change medical facts of a person.

But is it bad for people to be able to change the way they look? If it means that it will boost that person’s self-esteem or the way other people look at him/her? Certainly not to that person or to people who enjoy his/her “new look”. But a question arise, where do we draw the line? Or should there be a line at all? Several years from now, technology will reach to levels that are beyond our understanding right now. What if besides the improvement in plastic surgery, we are able to say, be as tall as we want to be, or have a predetermined genetic blueprint that’ll shape us into perfectly looking, disease free individuals?

                There are already rules set for certain drug use. Performance enhancement drugs in sports for example, have been somewhat monitored throughout the course of the years, and regulations exist that attempt to stop the use of recreational drugs. But what would it mean for something like plastic surgery, where there doesn’t seem to be a check and balance system (nor is there any reason to have one) to restrict how people want to look?

                Personally I think it’s interesting to think about these things now because science breakthroughs are happening on a daily basis. Soon, we will be able to use the knowledge we have to alter the intended course of evolution of human beings.

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By Abraham Harn

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