THE BIOHAPPINESS REVOLUTION
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”
(Henry David Thoreau)
“Life is suffering”, said Gautama Buddha. Evolution via natural selection is a monstrous engine for creating mental and physical pain. Sentient beings deserve a more civilized signaling system. Mercifully, a biohappiness revolution is imminent. Genome-editing promises to transform human nature and life itself. CRISPR-Cas9 is a game-changer. The biosphere can be reprogrammed. Our reward circuitry can be upgraded. CRISPR-based gene drives turn the level of suffering – and bliss – in the living world into an adjustable parameter. Pain can be mitigated, minimised and then abolished. Biotech can make experience below “hedonic zero” physiologically impossible. The world’s last unpleasant experience will be a precisely dateable event a few centuries from now. Transhuman civilisation will be based on a new motivational architecture: life underpinned entirely by information-sensitive gradients of well-being. Genetic recalibration of the hedonic treadmill will replace the biology of suffering with life animated by gradients of superhuman bliss. And the biohappiness revolution will then accelerate. The lower bounds of transhuman well-being will be orders of magnitude richer than human “peak experiences”. Superhuman intensity of bliss will be matched by a lifelong superhuman sense of meaning, purpose and significance.
In short: paradise engineering.
What are the preconditions of post-Darwinian life?
What should practically be done right now to promote a biohappiness revolution?
First, all factory-farms and slaughterhouses should be closed and the surviving victims rehabilitated. Pigs, for instance, are as sentient as small children and should be treated accordingly. The development and commercialisation of cruelty-free cultured meat and animal products should be accelerated. Civilisation will be vegan.
Second, all prospective parents world-wide should be offered preimplantation genetic screening and CRISPR genome-editing to preselect the pain-thresholds and hedonic range of their future children. Preimplantation screening and counseling will be hugely cost-effective. Reckless genetic experiments such as today’s products of sexual reproduction should be discouraged. Ideally, all babies should be designer babies.
Third, trials should begin of somatic gene-therapy for existing humans. An unfolding revolution in genetic medicine promises a one-off injection for invincible mental superhealth. This promise of perpetual well-being sounds complete hype. How could the jab of a needle confer lifelong protection against physical and mental pain? But consider today’s extreme genetic outliers like retired vegan school teacher Jo Cameron. Jo is constitutionally happy, resilient and pain-free in virtue of her unique genetic make-up. In principle, a single intravenous CRISPR infusion could tweak everyone’s FAAH and FAAH-OUT genes to function like Jo’s. Gene-edited humans rich in anandamide – from the Sanskrit term for bliss - will be blissful but not “blissed out”.
Fourth, genome-editing and CRISPR-based synthetic gene drives can extend the biohappiness revolution to all free-living nonhuman animals. Pilot studies should begin of self-contained blissful mini-biospheres free from starvation, predation and the other cruelties of Darwinian life. More broadly, we need a Hundred-Year Plan to defeat suffering throughout the living world. A serious global organization to implement such a mega-project probably sounds a fanciful. Surely the world isn’t ready for such a utopian vision. Yet such organization exists. It commands global authority. The World Health Organization is dedicated to the promotion of good health for everyone as laid out in its founding constitution of 1946. And what exactly is the WHO conception of health? “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”. Note the “complete”. Complete well-being is an astonishingly bold definition of health. Health as defined by the WHO can only be enjoyed by means of gene therapy. Compare the incomplete health in the guise of information-sensitive dips in well-being urged by some supposedly wild-eyed transhumanists. So the world needs the counterpart of a Greta Thunberg to remind politicians to live up to their responsibilities for public health – the abolition of suffering through medical science and the creation of life based on gradients of intelligent bliss.
* * *
ChatGPT on Hedonism
ChatGPT on Abolitionism
ChatGPT on Utilitarianism
ChatGPT on Antispeciesism
ChatGPT on Transhumanism
ChatGPT on Brave New World
The Wit and Wisdom of ChatGPT
ChatGPT on Utopian Pharmacology
ChatGPT on The Hedonistic Imperative
ChatGPT on Non-Materialist Physicalism
ChatGPT on The Reproductive Revolution
ChatGPT on The Biointelligence Explosion