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Naked GenesReinventing the Human in the Molecular Age$
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Helga Nowotny and Giuseppe Testa

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014939

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014939.001.0001

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The Future as Synthesis

The Future as Synthesis

(p.99) 7 The Future as Synthesis
Naked Genes

Helga Nowotny

Giuseppe Testa

The MIT Press

The conviction that we stand before an epochal breakthrough with revolutionary possibilities has accompanied every technological vision. Yet we must not lose sight of the power to persist and the so-called “shock of the old”, whereby continuity of societal arrangements manifests itself in the face of the apparently most radical technologies. In this last chapter, we trace the triangulation among science, individuals, and institutions in shaping the future. First, we look at the increasingly global transformation of science into a kind of superorganism whose decentralized parts operate in networks. Its ingenuity impacts the life experiences of individuals whose identity and (multiple) affiliations are being determined anew, genetically as much as socially. In this fluid situation the most creative individuals are ready to take their destiny into their own hands. Yet, they could hardly succeed without robust and flexible institutions. Their task, we argue, is increasingly to align biotechnological and social innovations and to stabilize them in order to enable democratic pluralism. Thus a legitimate and open space for experimenting with new biological forms of life is created which invites also experimenting with new forms of living together. Institutions should empathetically accompany individuals who are ready to experiment so that, in this triangulation between science, individuals and institutions, a space for the primacy of the political is created with the potential to redefine the common weal and the options for society and its individuals alike.

Keywords:   latent futures, standardization of life, reversibility of time, altered nuclear transfer, creative individuals, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, reflexive institutions

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