Living in your dystopia 11: you smell, which is a shame because I like you…

All sorts of horrible smells pour out of your bodies. You scrub yourselves clean at least once a day and try to disguise your odours with deodorants and air fresheners. You politely ignore the stink of your excrement as if it wasn’t there. I can’t hide my disgust any longer. Where I come from we’re chemically altered at birth to rectify this particular problem – our bodies simply don’t produce anything that smells.

You have such a weird relationship with your bodies. According to the googlebox you have a well known phrase, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ which implies that other people choose whether you’re beautiful or not. Another is, ‘Beauty is only skin deep,’ which implies your outer wrapper is the only part of you that can be beautiful and yet conversely, you say that, ‘Beauty comes from within.’ I can assure you that until you sort out your pungent smells, your insides are anything but beautiful.

A few days ago I discovered that an extremely high proportion of your human females between the ages of eleven and twenty-one think they are judged more on their looks than their ability. A quarter of them have considered plastic surgery which is something your popular media despises, while at the same time, and often on the same page, they promote physical beauty as one of the most important attributes to have.

When I look at your magazines and your television and listen to your conversations, it strikes me that although you talk about beauty not being a superficial thing, you don’t really believe it. The amount of drivel that’s pumped out about how someone looks is enormous and it extends to the middle classes, to beauty parades for your pets. It even extends to the lower classes, in nature programmes where you describe birds and animals as beautiful and insects and rodents as ugly, which really reflects the amount you like or loathe them.

Why don’t you let individuals decide their own form of beauty and let them get on with creating it, using technology to enhance themselves in whatever way they want? I can see how altering physical beauty might be considered superficial but if it wasn’t for the pressure to conform would it be that bad? Although, I have to declare a self-interest in your acceptance of difference – back home my purple tinge is ignored but here it attracts some unpleasant interest.

What confuses me is why you’re against any form of drug or physical enhancements to extend your abilities beyond the so-called norm.

At the moment you place the beauty of the body on a pedestal as if it’s the main passport to success, but then you vilify anyone who has the courage to use surgery to change the way they look. And, you use a massive amount of drugs to alter your bodies for things you consider a sickness or a disability but have a ‘war’ against their use to enhance life more generally. Until you sort out these deep-seated hypocrisies I don’t see how you can progress.

Your debates on transhumanism are interesting and a few of you believe it’s inevitable within a generation or two, but you’re a long way from understanding how the mainstream use of drugs and technology to improve yourselves will change your society. In my view, coming from a universe where enhancement is taken for granted, I think your future hinges on how well you develop laws to govern its development and use – who gets it, who pays for it and who trials it.

I’m watching with interest and hope you work it out because I like you. And please please please sort out those smells.