Rutger Bregman’s book Utopia for Realists has this quote:
Genes can’t be undone. Poverty can.
That got me thinking about The Code Breaker, a more recent book that I read. It talks about the CRISPR gene-editing tool and the people behind perhaps the most fundamental scientific leap in a long time. Although the book is narrated from the focal point of Jennifer Doudna, a UC Berkeley scientist, it also talks about the ethics surrounding the modification of the genetic code.
In that sense, Rutger’s above comment doesn’t seem to stand true. But, I think it is important to understand the context in which that statement was made. His argument essentially means that we cannot change which country we are born into, whether we are born with genetic disorders or undesirable traits. However, we can collectively adopt measures to alleviate global poverty. I agree with him. The world as a whole is richer than ever in the history of humankind, and we should be doing all we can to uplift the lives of everyone.
Those are two of the most inspiring and insightful books that I read in 2021. I hope you will read them too. I wish you and your family a happy holiday season. May you find happiness and the time to read books (like me).
- Debashish Reang