This blog is now, on occasion, going to be where I publish the letters I sent that didn't make it past the letters' editor. Undoubtedly there will be good reason some of these didn't make it to print — maybe because I was too controversial, too undiplomatic, too long winded; or simply wrong and possibly slanderous making print in a reputable newspaper risky. It's encouraging to think some of my letters may have gone past the lawyers before printing. As I have not opened this blog to comments I won't know how many I am upsetting or driving to anger by publishing now. So, my terms and conditions are as follows: read this blog at your own risk. Any upset caused was not intentional. Emotions may go up as well as down.
A letter in response to a Guardian article about Dominic Cummings and designer babies.
Be careful what you wish for, especially intelligent baby creation by gene selection (à la Dominic Cummings). In my experience academics (acknowledged by their own criteria to be of very high intelligence) have, on occasion, been the rudest, most arrogant, most smug people I have ever come across.
But this is already going on (à la carte baby selection). In most sperm banks you can select your sperm (like a dating app, swipe left for no, right for interested) by sorting though the physical attributes, job descriptions, hair colour etc. of the potential fathers on the database. I have no idea why we let this happen — it is a disturbing form of eugenics in a dark pact that has emerged between the science, ethics and business. Some of the these children end up with up to fifty half siblings as the father’s sperm profile was so popular. Not good. Identity is the most precious thing you have. We are playing with fire by allowing this to happen on our watch.
In my view you do not have the right to a child. But it is a privilege to be a parent, to be allowed to love and guide a human being from infancy through to adulthood. To quote Khalil Gibran:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931)
© Alison Hackett posted 5 March 2020
Alison Hackett — Director and founder of 21st Century Renaissance; author of The Visual Time Traveller 500 Years of History, Art and Science in 100 Unique Designs