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Requiem of the Human Soul, by Jeremy Lent
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By the late 22nd century, when Eusebio's on the stand defending our human race at the United Nations, our world is home to two human species: 7 billion d-humans and 3 billion Primals.

But how realistic is this scenario?   If you look at historical trends, the current global situation, and then factor in the effects of genetic enhancement, it's hard not to see the bifurcation of our race into two species as inevitable, unless we institute globally enforced policies to try to prevent it.   It's not really a matter of "if" but "when"…

Here's what some experts are saying:

two classes of human beings

"Some who worry about the ethics of cognitive enhancement point to the danger of creating two classes of human beings: those with access to enhancement technologies, and those who must make do with their natural capacities. And if the enhancements could be passed down the generations, the two classes might eventually become subspecies—the enhanced and the merely natural."

Sandel, M.J., (2004). 'The Case Against Perfection: What's wrong with designer children, bionic athletes, and genetic engineering'.

The Atlantic Monthly (April 2004).  

M. J. Sandel is Professor of Government at Harvard University.

the gap's getting bigger, at an ever-increasing rate

What do historical trends tell us?   Since the Industrial Revolution, there's no question that the disparity in   virtually any measure – income, health, infant mortality, longevity - shows a massive increase between the West and the rest of the world.    In the past couple of decades, the story gets a little more complex.   The economic rise of China and Southeast Asia has improved the lot of billions of peoples, (both in absolute and in relative terms).   However, the problems experienced in Africa have meant that the poorest people in the world are now even farther behind the wealthiest than ever before.

Source: M. Shahid Alam. "Global Disparities Since 1800: Trends and Regional Patterns".   Journal of World Systems Research , XII, 2, July 2006, 37-59.

rising inequality within nations

Things are changing as we enter the 22nd century.   It's not that the disparity is decreasing – it's changing its form.   Increasingly, the income disparity is growing within countries, rather than between countries.   That means that figures showing poorer countries catching up in their GDP can hide another story: that within the country, the rich are getting richer but the poor are getting poorer.  

Picture of Jakarta, taken by John Kots , June 2006

Glenn Firebaugh, Sociology professor at Pennsylvania   State University, has described this new dynamic in his 2006 book entitled The New Geography of Global Income Inequality :

"…a new geography of global income inequality… refers to the new pattern of global income inequality caused by the recent phenomenon of declining inequality across nations accompanied by (in many places) rising inequality within nations.  

"This phenomenon, which began in the last third of the twentieth century and continues today, results in a 'new geography' because it represents the reversal of trends that trace back to the early stages of Western industrialization…

"Global income inequality…is gradually shrinking from inequality across nations to inequality within nations."

- Glenn Firebaugh, The New Geography of Global Income , Harvard University Press, 2006.


The shift from one human species to d-humans and Primals didn't happen the same way around the world.   In fact, each region of the world saw the process of human "speciation" happen very differently.

In another part of the PEPS archive, which didn't make it into Eusebio's story in Requiem of the Human Soul , Eusebio remembers how Naomi Aramovich first told him about the way it all unfolded in different parts of the world.

Click here for what Naomi told Eusebio about how it all happened.


"The Vast Majority will be increasingly alienated not just socio-economically and culturally but in ways, due to the pace of scientific change, that are so pervasive that we eventually could diverge into 'naturals' versus a gene- and silicon-enriched species.   This process of speciation has been a basic feature of the development of lifeforms on Earth throughout evolution.  

"However, as Freeman Dyson writes: 'Speciation in nature occurs with a timescale of the order of a million years.   Human speciation pushed by genetic engineering may have a timescale of a thousand years or less. Compared with the slow pace of natural evolution, our technological evolution is like an explosion.   We are tearing apart the static world of our ancestors and replacing it with a new world that spins a thousand times faster.'"

Greenfield, S., (2003). Tomorrow's People: How 21st-Century Technology is Changing the Way We Think and Feel . London: Penguin Books.

Baroness Susan Greenfield is Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain.


OK, but what do these rising income disparities mean?   What's the real difference today in lifestyle between the wealthy countries (destined to become mostly d-humans) and the poor countries (destined to remain mostly Primals)?

Well, to quote a recent report by the World Health Organization , "A girl born today can expect to live for more than 80 years if she is born in some countries—but less than 45 years if she is born in others."

Researchers J P Ruger and H-J Kim conducted a study in 1996 comparing the best-off nations, the mid-level nations and the worst-off nations.   Here's what they found…

Inequalities in child and adult mortality are wide and growing

The countries with the highest adult and under-five mortality have multiple deprivations:

  • Fourfold higher percentage of people living on $1/day
  • Twofold higher female illiteracy rate
  • Less than 1/6 the income per capita
  • One fifth the outpatient visits, hospital beds and doctors

Source: J P Ruger , H-J Kim. "Global health inequalities: an international comparison." Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2006; 60 :928-936.


Glenn Firebaugh might be a lonely voice on the subject right now, but by the late 22nd century, the phenomenon that he identified becomes one of the driving forces leading to the creation of two human species: the d-humans and the Primals.

Naomi Aramovich, Primal rights activist, knew this well.   In fact, she saw the PEPS proposal as the final stage in a centuries-long process of exploitation by the wealthier and more powerful groups .   She described the rich-poor divide as becoming "vertical" rather than "horizontal", because a d-human in India was just like a d-human in the United States, but was utterly different from a Primal living just a few miles away.

Here's what she said in one of her outbursts to Harry Shields, in a section that isn't in Requiem of the Human Soul , but is part of the PEPS   archive:

"The truth is that your PEPS proposal is merely the logical conclusion of hundreds of years of hypocrisy enunciated by the developed world as it conquered, eviscerated and destroyed the economies, cultures and social structures of what were once called the "colonies" and then became known euphemistically as the "developing countries".

"When the slave trade was in full progress in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, social philosophers would talk about the "white man's burden" of spreading civilized values to the colonies.   In the twentieth century, while extremist ideologies and artificial nationalism imposed by the departing imperialist powers devastated the so-called "developing world", people in your situation would talk about the progress of democracy and freedom through the world.  

"Century after century, the poorest third of the world's population became more and more desperate, as the rest of the world left them behind.   The gap between rich and poor became ever greater, as the world itself became more prosperous.  

"In the twenty-first century, the same hypocrisy continued.   Only this time, the buzz words were "globalization" and then the "historic justice" of the CARGI settlement.   Meanwhile, even as development spread to all nations of the world, the poorest third of the world's population remained just as malnourished, impoverished, diseased and devastated.

"The rich-poor divide merely changed its dynamic and became vertical rather than horizontal.   By this, I mean that in earlier centuries, the division between rich and poor could be more easily seen geographically, splitting the rich countries from the poor countries.   By the twenty-first century, many of the once poor countries became developed and prosperous, and the split between rich and poor was increasingly a split of social strata within societies, rather than between societies.


Naomi continues: "Why is this historical perspective important?   Because it has laid the foundation for your current PEPS proposal.   After the Great Global Wars, the world was still faced with the stark reality that a third of its population continued to live the most wretched lives.   But at last, there was an approach that could justify this distinction.  Now the gap could be redefined as d-human versus Primal, rather than rich versus poor.   The moral responsibility for this terrible disparity became weakened, because now the terrible living conditions of the poor belonged to another race."

Naomi glared at Harry Shields.   I had never seen her so filled with emotion.   "The PEPS proposal," she fired at him, "is nothing other than a final step by the developed world to avoid the cost of dealing with the impoverished communities of the world, by defining them out of existence as the Primal species, and then eliminating the problem, not by improving their lives, but by simply eliminating them from the face of the earth.   It's a genocide of the poor and helpless, to make the world a more pleasant place for the prosperous."

© 2010 Jeremy Lent. All Rights Reserved.

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