Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 12th, 2016

Israeli Jews can help plan for Palestinian return

This May 12, Palestinians in Israel are paying visits to towns that Israel has expropriated since 1948 and posting the original names of the towns.

The Nakba has entered the mainstream Israeli discourse in recent years in ways that were unthinkable in the past. A large majority of Jews in Israel know it is a word in Arabic connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has a negative connotation, shows a public opinion poll to be published soon by De-Colonizer, a research and art laboratory for social change, that provides materials and tools to expose and challenge the colonialist nature of the Israeli regime.

In response to that public recognition we have seen a dramatic shift on the part of the Israeli government and right-wing group Im Tirtzu. The “Nakba Law,” which passed in 2011, is aimed at preventing the study and commemoration of the Nakba.

At the same time, Im Tirtzu launched a major campaign encouraging Nakba denial. And yet, despite the burgeoning awareness of the Nakba, most Israelis do not know what it actually is.

Andrew Bossone shared a link.. 19 hrs ·
Perhaps the most important area in which Jewish Israelis can be active regarding…|By +972 Magazine

Even fewer Israelis recognize that Israel has any kind of responsibility for turning most Palestinians into refugees and destroying most of their towns and villages in 1948 in order to establish the Jewish state.

Among those who understand the importance of Israeli recognition of the Nakba, a minority supports recognition of the right of return (Hak al-Awda in Arabic) of Palestinian refugees as determined in international law and specifically in UN Resolution 194 from December 11, 1948.

Since Israel’s establishment, the bitter debate over the right of return has been dichotomous: Zionists are against and the anti-Zionist are for. It seems to be a dispute between two sides that aren’t engaging in any constructive dialogue.

Obviously this is not a dispute restricted to legal terms, but one whose basis is the Jewish state, a state that uses legal mechanisms to maintain a Jewish majority and in which only Jews can be full citizens.

In order to move past this and achieve a real discourse on the matter, in order to promote the right of return, we should focus more on practical return and less on a theoretical right.

In addition to studying and recognizing the Nakba, it is necessary to start planning the actual return itself.

Planning for the return of Palestinian refugees is based on two fundamental principles:

1.  nobody should be uprooted from their home; and

2. every refugee and their offspring should have the freedom to choose whether to physically return or opt for some sort of reparations.

The Israeli non-profit Zochrot began an initiative in this spirit 10 years ago. Several texts have been written by Israelis and Palestinian on the subject, exhibits and conferences were held which presented return plans, Palestinian refugee communities began planning their return and some have already returned to the villages of Iqrit and Bir’im within the framework of a project that has been going on for over a year.

It is not surprising that Palestinians are engaged in efforts to advance return, but Jews engaged with the matter are few and far between.

The last text we are aware of written by Jewish Israelis was part of a project by the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI).

In 2014, Noa Levy led a working group that formulated a document addressing the policy of immigration and return of refugees. Nothing else has been done in recent years by Jewish Israelis on planning the ‘Awda.

Why is it important for Jewish Israelis to participate in planning the return of Palestinian refugees?

  1. Because Israelis are (the descendants of) those who expelled Palestinians, so they should do what they can to help refugees return, which includes helping plan the return itself
  2. Because they benefit from the uprooting of Palestinians, which makes them responsible for correcting the situation and not just taking part as passive supporters.
  3. Because the uprooting of Palestinians is part of the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict from which they also suffer. Helping refugees return also helps end the conflict.
  4. Because planning the Awda will teach Israelis about the Nakba.
  5. Because planning the return will prepare Israelis for coexistence with Palestinians – not the empty slogan of the Zionist Left but a shared existence under terms of full equality, including immigration laws. Planning the return of Palestinian refugees is the most radical step one can take to counter the Zionist policies that have trained us to remain separate.
  6. Because when Israelis are involved in planning the return, it has an impact on the Israeli public. There is nothing out of the ordinary about Palestinians planning for return, but if Israelis are involved it draws attention as unique and subversive.
  7. If Israelis are involved in the plan of return, it has more chances of becoming accepted by more Israelis.
  8. Because the return of refugees is in the interest of everyone who lives here – not just Palestinians. Palestinians need to lead the initiative but Israelis who live here must be allies in designing a post-Zionist shared way of life.

So what is the role of Israelis who support the right of Palestinian return?

Israelis should not be involved in the planning of a re-built Palestinian community. The Palestinian group should do that in a safe space. Questions about the composition of the town, style of construction, location of shared spaces, etc, should be address by the future residents.

Interference by Israelis is paternalistic and can only be done with express request by the relevant Palestinians.

However, Israelis should respond to ideas about the Palestinian return. Criticism can always be constructive when it comes from a place of support.

There are also obligations.

Everything beyond internal planning has consequences for everyone who lives here and obviously Israelis have an interest in the matter. Construction of a new town cannot be detached from its surroundings.

If it is an existing town that will be expanded in order to absorb refugees that wish to return, this also has an environmental impact that affects Israelis as well, which is why they should be partners in planning.

For example, if 50,000 refugees chose to return to the city of Nazareth, this will have an impact on the Jews that lives in the area.

Maybe the most important area in which Israelis should be active regarding return is preparing the Israeli public for that eventuality. They should organize activities, for example, conducting a survey or focus groups and discussions ahead of the return, where they examine Israeli positions on return and on its aftermath. Such activities will prepare Israelis for the dramatic shift. It is also vital to address Israeli fears on this matter.

Another option is to present Israelis with Palestinian positions on return.

This is important since Israelis are usually exposed to the issue by people who do not support return; “experts” in media or academia. They present a picture in which the Palestinians who return pose demographic and security risks, endanger democracy, etc.

Israelis who support return have an important role to play in presenting a different, more balanced narrative — not to present an idyllic picture of how things will be after return, but to offer ways of coping with the fears that prevent any movement on this matter.

Planning the return of Palestinian refugees is an act of utopian politics that encourages thinking about what is possible, beyond the current agenda. It gives hope at a time when it feels like we at a dead end.

Eitan Bronstein Aparicio is the co-founder of De-Colonizer, a research and art laboratory for social change that provides materials and tools to expose and challenge the colonialist nature of the Israeli regime. The organization is holding an event, ‘Should Israelis plan the ‘Awda,’ on May 11 in Tel Aviv. View the event here.

Note: Planning now for the return will shorten the negotiations when another war takes place and the world community is ready to start serious implementation of the UN resolution 194 for the right of return of the Palestinians.

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Vice President Michel Temer (of Lebanese origin) to be the next Brazil president?

The real plan behind Rousseff’s impeachment is to put an end to the ongoing investigation, thus protecting corruption, not punishing it.”

Michel Temer has officially become acting President in Brazil after the Senate suspended Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.

It’s not easy for outsiders to sort through all the competing claims about Brazil’s political crisis and the ongoing effort to oust its president, Dilma Rousseff, who won re-election a mere 18 months ago with 54 million votes.

But the most important means for understanding the truly anti-democratic nature of what’s taking place is to look at the person whom Brazilian oligarchs and their media organs are trying to install as president: the corruption-tainted, deeply unpopular, oligarch-serving Vice President Michel Temer (above).

Doing so shines a bright light on what’s really going on, and why the world should be deeply disturbed.

The New York Times’s Brazil bureau chief, Simon Romero, interviewed Temer this week, and this is how his excellent article begins:

RIO DE JANEIRO — One recent poll found that only 2 percent of Brazilians would vote for him. He is under scrutiny over testimony linking him to a colossal graft scandal. And a high court justice ruled that Congress should consider impeachment proceedings against him.

Michel Temer, Brazil’s vice president, is preparing to take the helm of Brazil next month if the Senate decides to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial.

How can anyone rational believe that anti-corruption anger is driving the elite effort to remove Dilma when they are now installing someone as president who is accused of corruption far more serious than she is? It’s an obvious farce.

But there’s something even worse

Asad Ghsoub shared and commented on this link by Glenn Greenwald, April 22, 2016|By Glenn Greenwald

The person who is third in line to the presidency, right behind Temer, has been exposed as shamelessly corrupt: the evangelical zealot and House speaker Eduardo Cunha (now set aside from his responsibility by the Parliament).

He’s the one who spearheaded the impeachment proceedings even though he got caught last year squirreling away millions of dollars in bribes in Swiss bank accounts, after having lied to Congress when falsely denying that he had any accounts in foreign banks. When Romero asked Temer about his posture toward Cunha once he takes power, this is how Temer responded:

Mr. Temer defended himself and top allies who are under a cloud of accusations in the scheme. He expressed support for Eduardo Cunha, the scandal-plagued speaker of the lower house who is leading the impeachment effort in Congress, saying he would not ask Mr. Cunha to resign. Mr. Cunha will be the next in line for the presidency if Mr. Temer takes over.

By itself, this demonstrates the massive scam taking place here. As my partner, David Miranda, wrote this morning in his Guardian op-ed: “It has now become clear that corruption is not the cause of the effort to oust Brazil’s twice-elected president; rather, corruption is merely the pretext.”

In response, Brazil’s media elites will claim (as Temer did) that once Dilma is impeached, then the other corrupt politicians will most certainly be held accountable, but they know this is false, and Temer’s shocking support for Cunha makes that clear.

Indeed, press reports show that Temer is planning to install as attorney general — the key government contact for the corruption investigation — a politician specifically urged for that position by Cunha.

As Miranda’s op-ed explains, “The real plan behind Rousseff’s impeachment is to put an end to the ongoing investigation, thus protecting corruption, not punishing it.”

But there’s one more vital motive driving all of this.

Look at who is going to take over Brazil’s economy and finances once Dilma’s election victory is nullified. Two weeks ago, Reuters reported that Temer’s leading choice to run the central bank is the chair of Goldman Sachs in Brazil, Paulo Leme.

Today, Reuters reported that “Murilo Portugal, the head of Brazil’s most powerful banking industry lobby” — and a long-time IMF official — “has emerged as a strong candidate to become finance minister if Temer takes power.” Temer also vowed that he would embrace austerity for Brazil’s already-suffering population: He “intends to downsize the government” and “slash spending.”

In an earning calls last Friday with JP Morgan, the celebratory CEO of Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior SA, Rubens Amaral, explicitly described Dilma’s impeachment as “one of the first steps to normalization in Brazil,” and said that if Temer’s new government implements the “structural reforms” that the financial community desires, then “definitely there will be opportunities.”

News of Temer’s preferred appointees strongly suggests Mr. Amaral — and his fellow plutocrats — will be pleased.

Meanwhile, the dominant Brazilian media organs of Globo, Abril (Veja), Estadão — which Miranda’s op-ed discusses at length — are virtually unified in support of impeachment, as in No Dissent Allowed, and have been inciting the street protests from the start.

Why is that revealing? Reporters Without Borders just yesterday released its 2016 Press Freedom Rankings, and ranked Brazil 103 in the world because of violence against journalists but also because of this key fact: “Media ownership continues to be very concentrated, especially in the hands of big industrial families that are often close to the political class.” Is it not crystal clear what’s going on here?

So to summarize: Brazilian financial and media elites are pretending that corruption is the reason for removing the twice-elected president of the country as they conspire to install and empower the country’s most corrupted political figures.

Brazilian oligarchs will have succeeded in removing from power a moderately left-wing government that won four straight elections in the name of representing the country’s poor, and are literally handing control over the Brazilian economy (the world’s seventh largest) to Goldman Sachs and bank industry lobbyists.

This fraud being perpetrated here is as blatant as it is devastating. But it’s the same pattern that has been repeatedly seen around the world, particularly in Latin America, when a tiny elite wages a self-protective, self-serving war on the fundamentals of democracy.

Brazil, the world’s fifth most populous country, has been an inspiring example of how a young democracy can mature and thrive. But now, those democratic institutions and principles are being fully assaulted by the very same financial and media factions that suppressed democracy and imposed tyranny in that country for decades.

Najat Rizk shared this link
After Two Years, We Finally Have a Lebanese President … in Brazil
Posted By : Najib Michel Temer has officially become acting President in Brazil after the…

Local Proverbs said during municipal election in Lebanon

In this period of municipal election in Lebanon, I will end up listing about 3 dozen local proverbs:
1. Rou7 ballet al ba7r
2. Shereb 7aleeb al sbaa3
3. 7attallo el ba7ssat
4. Beyakol ra2ss al 7ayyet
5. Ya bajal ma yhezak ree7
6. Ana wa khayyeh 3ala inb 3ammeh
7. Ana wa inb 3ammeh 3ala al ghareeb

8. El maal al 7araam bi 3allem el nass 3ala al 7aram
9. 7abel al kezeb asseer
10. yalleh bayto min ezaz ma byersho2 ghayro bil 7ajar
11. eza 7abibak 3assal, ma tel7asso kello
12. 3asfour bil 2ed wala 3asharat bil shajarat
13. kadi el wlaad shana2 7alo
14. el hareebeh teltayn al marjaleh

15. Ma 7ada bi2oul 3an zayto 3eker

16. Ya tokho ya kserlo mokho

17. El erd bi 3ayn emmo ghazal

18. Ferkh al batt 3awwam

19. Yalleh 3endo mssaleh ta7t baato bten2ero

20. Lamma betrou7 el sakra btejeh el fakra

21. Yalleh talla3 al 7maar 3ala al ma2zaneh yenazlo

22. Ma teshtereh al samak bil ba7r

23. Ma 7ada faw2 rasso khaymeh

24. Bi kel 3erss elo orss

25. El nassi7a bi jamal

26. El damm ma bisseer maye

27. Ana wa ibn 3ammi 3ala al ghareeb

28. Onssor akhaak zaliman aw mazlouman

29. el Yadd elleh ma feek t3adda boussa wa ed3i 3allayya bil kasr

30. min ketret el tabbakhjiyyeh shawshatet al tabkha

31. eza badda tshatteh, ghayyamet

32. 3ala add bssatak bed ejrayk

33. 3aynno sheb3eneh

34. Nayem 3ala 7areer

35. Biyer2oss bala daff

36. Akal al bayda wal el te2sheera

37. Tanjarat wa la2at ghataha

38. Nasher ghassilo 3ala al stou7

39. Hada al shebel min zaaka el assad

40. Rou7 ballet el ba7r

41. Shereb 7aleeb al sbaa3

42. 7attallo ba7ssa

43. Rabna khala2o wa kassar al 2aleb

44. Ya jabal ma yehezak ree7

Pictures of last indigenous people by  Jimmy Nelson

“Whilst making pictures of the worlds last indigenous people, for many years I was only busy with the superficial aesthetic of their ritualistic customs and dress.

Perhaps a romantic and idealistic way to preserve their cultures past.
Although, maybe the real search was one of a more deeper personal questioning, curiosity and loneliness as to my own identity and that of human beings in general.

Now, having started on part 2 of my worldwide search for the iconic indigenous cultures and rituals of the world, it is for the fist time in my life of 48 years, (thanks to the Mundari in South Sudan) that I truly feel I am beginning to address this question.

The Mundari, forgotten and hidden for years behind a curtain of war and poverty.

Yet in their own accidental isolation they represent the antithesis of human harmony. A true equity of dignity, proportion, grace and pride.

All of which I had to privilege to live, share breath and ultimately photograph.

The real journey has begun…….

Keep watching to see the pictures and the 360 films we made, the foundation we are about to launch and find out about some of the answers I found.”

See More

Jimmy Nelson's photo.
Jimmy Nelson's photo.

Jimmy Nelson. April 28 at 6:25pm ·

One last pose, one last breath, one last sunset as the dust settles over the ‪#‎Mundari‬ of ‪#‎SouthSudan‬.

The eyes, the touch and the laughter seal the day. ‪#‎Mundari‬ ‪#‎Southsudan‬

Jimmy Nelson's photo.

Man has been re-programing life. Are we doing it the correct way?

For four billion years, what lived and died on Earth depended on two principles: natural selection and random mutation. (Not concerning human species?)

Then humans came along and changed everything — hybridizing plants, breeding animals, altering the environment and even purposefully evolving ourselves.

Juan Enriquez provides five guidelines for a future where this ability to program life rapidly accelerates.

“This is the single most exciting adventure human beings have been on,” Enriquez says. “This is the single greatest superpower humans have ever had.”

Juan Enriquez. Futurist? He thinks and writes about profound changes that genomics will bring in business, technology, and society. Full bio
Speech in Nov. 2015

There’s an actor called Dustin Hoffman. And years ago, he made this movie which some of you may have heard of, called “The Graduate.” And there’s two key scenes in that movie. The first one is the seduction scene. I’m not going to talk about that tonight.

The second scene is where he’s taken out by the old guy to the pool, and as a young college graduate, the old guy basically says one word, just one word. And of course, all of you know what that word is. It’s “plastics.”

And the only problem with that is, it was completely the wrong advice.

0:52 Let me tell you why it was so wrong. The word should have been “silicon.” And the reason it should have been silicon is because the basic patents for semiconductors had already been made, had already been filed, and they were already building them.

So Silicon Valley was just being built in 1967, when this movie was released. And the year after the movie was released, Intel was founded. So had the graduate heard the right one word, maybe he would have ended up onstage — oh, I don’t know — maybe with these two.

As you’re thinking of that, let’s see what bit of advice we might want to give so that your next graduate doesn’t become a Tupperware salesman.

1:40 (Laughter)

In 2015, what word of advice would you give people, when you took a college graduate out by the pool and you said one word, just one word? I think the answer would be “lifecode.” So what is “lifecode?”

Lifecode is the various ways we have of programming life. So instead of programming computers, we’re using things to program viruses or retroviruses or proteins or DNA or RNA or plants or animals, or a whole series of creatures.

And as you’re thinking about this incredible ability to make life do what you want it to do, what it’s programmed to do, what you end up doing is taking what we’ve been doing for thousands of years, which is breeding, changing, mixing, matching all kinds of life-forms, and we accelerate it.

And this is not something new. This humble mustard weed has been modified so that if you change it in one way, you get broccoli. And if you change it in a second way, you get kale. And if you change it in a third way, you get cauliflower. So when you go to these all-natural, organic markets, you’re really going to a place where people have been changing the lifecode of plants for a long time.

The difference today, to pick a completely politically neutral term — [Intelligent design]  

We’re beginning to practice intelligent design. That means that instead of doing this at random and seeing what happens over generations, we’re inserting specific genes, we’re inserting specific proteins, and we’re changing lifecode for very deliberate purposes. And that allows us to accelerate how this stuff happens.

Let me just give you one example. Some of you occasionally might think about sex. And we kind of take it for granted how we’ve changed sex. So we think it’s perfectly normal and natural to change it. What’s happened with sex over time is — normally, sex equals baby, eventually. But in today’s world, sex plus pill equals no baby.  

We think that’s perfectly normal and natural, but that has not been the case for most of human history. And it’s not the case for animals. What it is does is it gives us control, so sex becomes separate from conception.

And as you’re thinking of the consequences of that, then we’ve been playing with stuff that’s a little bit more advanced, like art. Not in the sense of painting and sculpture, but in the sense of assisted reproductive technologies.

So what are assisted reproductive technologies? Assisted reproductive technologies are things like in vitro fertilization. And when you do in vitro fertilization, there’s very good reasons to do it.

Sometimes you just can’t conceive otherwise. But when you do that, what you’re doing is separating sex, conception, baby. So you haven’t just taken control of when you have a baby, you’ve separated when the baby and where the baby is fertilized.

So you’ve separated the baby from the body from the act.

And as you’re thinking of other things we’ve been doing, think about twins. So you can freeze sperm, you can freeze eggs, you can freeze fertilized eggs.

What does that mean? Well, that’s a good thing if you’re a cancer patient. You’re about to go under chemotherapy or under radiation, so you save these things. You don’t irradiate them. But if you can save them and you can freeze them, and you can have a surrogate mother, it means that you’ve decoupled sex from time.

It means you can have twins born — oh, in 50 years?  In a hundred years? Two hundred years? And these are three really profound changes that are not, like, future stuff. This is stuff we take for granted today.

this lifecode stuff turns out to be a superpower. It turns out to be this incredibly powerful way of changing viruses, of changing plants, of changing animals, perhaps even of evolving ourselves. It’s something that Steve Gullans and I have been thinking about for a while.

 Let’s have some risks. Like every powerful technology, like electricity, like an automobile, like computers, this stuff potentially can be misused. And that scares a lot of people. And as you apply these technologies, you can even turn human beings into chimeras.

Remember the Greek myth where you mix animals? Well, some of these treatments actually end up changing your blood type. Or they’ll put male cells in a female body or vice versa, which sounds absolutely horrible until you realize, the reason you’re doing that is you’re substituting bone marrow during cancer treatments.

So by taking somebody else’s bone marrow, you may be changing some fundamental aspects of yourself, but you’re also saving your life. And as you’re thinking about this stuff, here’s something that happened 20 years ago.

This is Emma Ott. She’s a recent college admittee. She’s studying accounting. She played two varsity sports. She graduated as a valedictorian. And that’s not particularly extraordinary, except that she’s the first human being born to three parents. Why?

Because she had a deadly mitochondrial disease that she might have inherited. So when you swap out a third person’s DNA and you put it in there, you save the lives of people. But you also are doing germline engineering, which means her kids, if she has kids, will be saved and won’t go through this. And [their] kids will be saved, and their grandchildren will be saved, and this passes on.

That makes people nervous. So 20 years ago, the various authorities said, why don’t we study this for a while? There are risks to doing stuff, and there are risks to not doing stuff, because there were a couple dozen people saved by this technology, and then we’ve been thinking about it for the next 20 years.

 as we think about it, as we take the time to say, “Hey, maybe we should have longer studies, maybe we should do this, maybe we should do that,” there are consequences to acting, and there are consequences to not acting. Like curing deadly diseases — which, by the way, is completely unnatural.

It is normal and natural for humans to be felled by massive epidemics of polio, of smallpox, of tuberculosis. When we put vaccines into people, we are putting unnatural things into their body because we think the benefit outweighs the risk.

Because we’ve built unnatural plants, unnatural animals, we can feed about seven billion people. We can do things like create new life-forms. And as you create new life-forms, again, that sounds terribly scary and terribly bothersome, until you realize that those life-forms live on your dining room table.

Those flowers you’ve got on your dining room table — there’s not a lot that’s natural about them, because people have been breeding the flowers to make this color, to be this size, to last for a week. You don’t usually give your loved one wildflowers because they don’t last a whole lot of time.

What all this does is it flips Darwin completely on his head.

See, for four billion years, what lived and died on this planet depended on two principles: on natural selection and random mutation.

And so what lived and died, what was structured, has now been flipped on its head. And what we’ve done is created this completely parallel evolutionary system where we are practicing unnatural selection and non-random mutation.

let me explain these things. This is natural selection. This is unnatural selection.

So what happens with this stuff is, we started breeding wolves thousands of years ago in central Asia to turn them into dogs. And then we started turning them into big dogs and into little dogs. But if you take one of the chihuahuas you see in the Hermès bags on Fifth Avenue and you let it loose on the African plain, you can watch natural selection happen.

Few things on Earth are less natural than a cornfield.

You will never, under any scenario, walk through a virgin forest and see the same plant growing in orderly rows at the same time, nothing else living there. When you do a cornfield, you’re selecting what lives and what dies. And you’re doing that through unnatural selection.

It’s the same with a wheat field, it’s the same with a rice field. It’s the same with a city, it’s the same with a suburb. In fact, half the surface of Earth has been unnaturally engineered so that what lives and what dies there is what we want, which is the reason why you don’t have grizzly bears walking through downtown Manhattan.

How about this random mutation stuff? Well, this is random mutation. This is Antonio Alfonseca. He’s otherwise known as the Octopus, his nickname. He was the Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2000. And he had a random mutation that gave him six fingers on each hand, which turns out to be really useful if you’re a pitcher.

How about non-random mutation? A non-random mutation is beer. It’s wine. It’s yogurt.

How many times have you walked through the forest and found all-natural cheese? Or all-natural yogurt? So we’ve been engineering this stuff. Now, the interesting thing is, we get to know the stuff better.

We found one of the single most powerful gene-editing instruments, CRISPR, inside yogurt. And as we start engineering cells, we’re producing eight out of the top 10 pharmaceutical products, including the stuff that you use to treat arthritis, which is the number one best-selling drug, Humira.

So this lifecode stuff. It really is a superpower. It really is a way of programming stuff, and there’s nothing that’s going to change us more than this lifecode. So as you’re thinking of lifecode, let’s think of five principles as to how we start guiding, and I’d love you to give me more.

Principle number one: we have to take responsibility for this stuff. The reason we have to take responsibility is because we’re in charge. These aren’t random mutations. This is what we are doing, what we are choosing. It’s not, “Stuff happened.” It didn’t happen at random. It didn’t come down by a verdict of somebody else. We engineer this stuff, and it’s the Pottery Barn rule: you break it, you own it.

Principle number two: we have to recognize and celebrate diversity in this stuff. There have been at least 33 versions of hominids that have walked around this Earth. Most all of them went extinct except us. But the normal and natural state of this Earth is we have various versions of humans walking around at the same time, which is why most of us have some Neanderthal in us. Some of us have some Denisova in us. And some in Washington have a lot more of it.

Principle number three: we have to respect other people’s choices. Some people will choose to never alter. Some people will choose to alter all. Some people will choose to alter plants but not animals. Some people will choose to alter themselves. Some people will choose to evolve themselves.

Diversity is not a bad thing, because even though we think of humans as very diverse, we came so close to extinction that all of us descend from a single African mother and the consequence of that is there’s more genetic diversity in 55 African chimpanzees than there are in seven billion humans.

Principle number four: we should take about a quarter of the Earth and only let Darwin run the show there. It doesn’t have to be contiguous, doesn’t have to all be tied together. It should be part in the oceans, part on land. But we should not run every evolutionary decision on this planet. We want to have our evolutionary system running. We want to have Darwin’s evolutionary system running. And it’s just really important to have these two things running in parallel and not overwhelm evolution. 

(Like selecting the Middle-East running Darwin’s evolutionary system? That would be fine and dandy if they leave us alone to evolve)

 Last thing I’ll say. This is the single most exciting adventure human beings have been on. This is the single greatest superpower humans have ever had.

It would be a crime for you not to participate in this stuff because you’re scared of it, because you’re hiding from it. You can participate in the ethics.

You can participate in the politics. You can participate in the business. You can participate in just thinking about where medicine is going, where industry is going, where we’re going to take the world.

It would be a crime for all of us not to be aware when somebody shows up at a swimming pool and says one word, just one word, if you don’t listen if that word is “lifecode.”




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