Playing God – Where do we Draw the Line?

SO I recently read in the news about this English couple who had their late pet boxer cloned for $100,000. The lab created two cloned puppies from the dog’s DNA successfully. Said couple is estatic and has been posting on social media on the whole experience. Ironically, they named it ‘Shadow’.

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Someone’s Boxer from Wikipedia.

I am not a religious person, but even I think that there is a natural order to things. Being raised a Buddhist, I was taught that there are four stages in life that all living things go through:

  • Life
  • Old Age
  • Sickness
  • Death

It doesn’t matter if you’re a prince or a pauper, if you’re human or an animal. This is the cycle of how things are.

An important point in the teachings of Buddha is the concept of ‘letting go’. The human psyche is such that we develop emotional bonds to people/things. Family. Friends. Pets. Material wealth, riches, etc. These are the things that bind us to earth and prevent us from reaching Nirvana (*not the band), where our force becomes one with the universe. The idea is that we shouldn’t become too attached, since we can’t take them to the grave anyway. That’s why people become monks/nuns and go meditate in the mountains lol. This point makes it one of the hardest religions/philosophies to follow, because normal human beings are sure to have attachments to things/people in life.

Cloning throws all of that out the window in a heartbeat. I mean, if we can just clone our pets – they’d be at our side forever, right? No more heartbreak, no more grieving. While we’re at it, why not clone our loved ones too?

But if we do that, are they still the same? Or are they… different? Where do we draw the line, from cloning pets to.. say, people? That’s some serious Pet Sematary sht.

I am currently halfway through reading Inferno by Dan Brown. So far into the book, there seems to be a religious fanatic antagonist, ready to unleash a biological weapon in the form of a plague to ‘control the human population’. His reasoning being that too many humans on the planet are the reason for all the problems we face – hunger, world poverty, lack of clean water, etc. Back in ancient times, populations were controlled by disasters or diseases, but thanks to advances in science and technology, a lot of people are living longer and children are less likely to die at a young age, especially in more developed countries. The antagonist in the book reasons that if this is not controlled, our resources will eventually deplete and mankind will turn on themselves to compete for limited food, water and other needs. It’s a scary thought.

Coming back to cloning. Death is the natural cycle of everything. When you have people playing God, putting a ‘stop’ to death, the balance of nature will be disrupted, and that can never be a good thing.

I’ll admit that the idea seems tempting. Of course I love my friends and family (and pets). Of course I don’t want them to die. But we will, and that’s just how it is. We learn to accept the deaths of our loved ones, remember them, and then move on. That’s life.

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I love Jepp to bits: he’s a special cat with a very unique personality, and I’ve come to regard him as one of the family – like a human being. But would I clone him? No. I’d grieve if he died. There’d never be another Jeppeh, even if I used the same DNA to create another kitten. In a way, it’d feel like an insult to his memory.O

While it is this couple’s decision to clone their boxer, I feel kinda sorry for them, that they can’t handle the death of their pet in a manner that everyone else does – grieve, move on, and maybe spend that $100,000 to found a charity for abandoned dogs that will actually make a difference. Not ill wishing, but… What’s to say will happen if one of their loved ones died? “Since I can clone my dog… why can’t I clone, say, my husband or my wife? I can’t handle them dying. I have money.”

I understand that grieving people don’t always make the best of decisions, but cloning just sounds too much like playing God.

Some people might argue that cloning does no harm, there’s a demand for it and it makes people happy. Well, so does drugs lol. Imagine growing up in a place where cloning is as normal as going to the pet store to pick up a puppy. Where children have pets that never die. They will never learn how to handle it when someone or something dear to them actually dies. Grieving is a learning process, and these kids will never experience that because they live in a world where Fluffy lives forever.

PS: It’s scary how a search for ‘cloning dog’ on the Internet reveals dozens of such services for a mere fee of 50,000$. Creating life for a price. Hmm.

What are your thoughts? Would you clone a deceased pet? Or a loved one? 

One thought on “Playing God – Where do we Draw the Line?

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