Fate of the Created

By Jon Hillenbrand In Photography, Stories

Would it bother you to know that you were created in a lab?  That your insides were not the result of slow evolutionary processes but of the genius machinations of a scientist?  Sometimes I wish I had a robotic hand like in Terminator 2, but then I look at my natural hand with a certain sense of wonder.  Not only does it do many of the things a robotic hand can do, but it can also heal itself which is more than I can say for a Chromalloy substitute.  Of course, I can’t crush a steel hand rail or deflect bullets with my current setup, but I can punch someone, swing a baseball bat or paint small pupils on a 1/35 scale model of a helicopter pilot.  I can’t play the piano, but I can type very fast then cradle a rose or an egg.  That to me speaks volumes about the accuracy, speed and complexity of movement that my hands are capable of producing. 

At the core of my being exists a certain connection to my planet of origin.  Call it a link to the natural world or a connection to an ancestry of previous existence, but there’s something inside of me that reaches backwards as well as forwards in time.  Of course, I’m completely taking my origins on faith.  I have no memory nor have I visited the location of my birth (I was born in a state that we moved away from when I was 1 yr old), I’ve never seen a photo of my mother when she was pregnant with me and I don’t have any baby photos that I can remember seeing.  So it’s possible that I was manufactured in a lab.  I sometimes imagine a big budget movie version of my creation.  Shining metal skeleton coming together on an assembly line, my eyes pieced together like the glass elements of a photographic lens, a pendulum for a heart, twin compressed gas cylinders for lungs, basket weave template for my skin which flows in like Pepto Bismol, ten thousand wires leading out the top of my decapped head to a clinical-looking machine attached to a monitor with flow charts and bar graphs displayed next to a black rubber accordion resonating with my eventual breath.  An old clockmaker or perhaps a jelly green alien fingers his brow as he locks in elements of my personality/operating system.

Perhaps it is my preconceived notions of what an artificial being would look or act like that keep me from believing that I’m some kind of cyborg.  Would I bleed if I were manufactured?  Would I think or dream?  Does the intelligence I feel prove my natural origins?  What would be the method of creating a being as complex as a human?  Humans approach invention as a process of prototyping, revision and eventual mass production from lessons learned.  But for more complex constructions, wouldn’t it make sense that the creation of that thing take place over many months, years or eons?  The human brain could be described as one of the most complex computers ever to have existed on Earth.  Yet it grows into its most basic form ready to go after only 9 months of gestation. 

If human evolution is the process of prototyping and development in the grand scheme of things, what will our final form be?  Will we be manufactured for mass distribution?  If so, for what purpose?  Are we here merely to interact and exist?  Is that a lofty or worthwhile existence?  Or is the Earth a giant petri dish where we simmer and divide into something eventually useful for supermen who watch from afar with deadly plans.  Are we on our own here or we are actually destined for something that is to come?

What do you think?