Sunday, October 19, 2008

They'd do it, if they could

The other day I heard a story about experiments on monkeys that may prove beneficial to paralyzed humans. Seems that some scientists paralyzed these monkeys with drugs, stuck thin electrical wires into their brains, attached the wire to some sort of transformer which was then attached to a muscle in the monkey's wrist, and discovered that the monkey's could actually manipulate the wired wrist in this way, enabling them to play video games.

I'm more ambivalent about Man's dominion over the beasts of the field than the folks at PETA, but stories like this get me moving more swiftly in their direction. I don't have any problem with victims of paralysis volunteering for studies like this. In fact, I bet a good number of them would. But, this sort of experimentation just creeps me out. We are monkeys, for chrissakes. Would researchers perform studies like this on human slaves? Should they?

Talking with somebody about this story he said, "Well, they'd do it to us if they could." The Nietzschean notion that "life is will to power," and that domination of one species by another is the natural order of things, while not indisputable, certainly has an enduring appeal to which I admittedly have not always been immune. Still, it's not the case that predators hunt their prey of choice to extinction, or raise them for the purposes of exploitation and multi-faceted use. As far as I can tell, only humans and our alien masters do that.

No comments: