For the Sake of Mankind
In “Ethics and the New Genetics” the Dalai Lama addresses the issues presented by advancing technology today. The Dalai Lama does this by discussing and questioning moral responsibilities when faced with higher levels of knowledge and power ultimately revealing the need for compassion as the key motivation in all our endeavours (139).
The first issue addressed in the essay is genetically modified food. Genetically modified food is beneficial because it can increase food production for a growing population and can obtain a longer shelf life (Dalai Lama 133). The Dalai Lama disputes that on the other hand people cannot predict the long term impact genetically engineered food will have on the plants, soil or the environment as a whole; however, “[t]his is not to say that…show more content… The Dalai Lama points out that before people knew about pre-determined birth problems or what genes caused specific disorders, they only assessed the problem when they became sick (134). Now we have the technology that can identify a genetic problem in an individual or family that could potentially kill them. The Dalai Lama disputes that with predetermined knowledge, what is to say people will not label others because they will soon be sick. This kind of power can change the meaning of health and sickness in terms of “social and personal implications in relation to insurance, employment and relationships” (134). He then supports this claim by emphasizing that people cannot guarantee accuracy when making such predictions. More importantly, the relationship between moral responsibility and compassion is illustrated by the Dalai Lama in a scenario where “a baby whose disease may manifest in twenty years is aborted and a cure for the disease if found within a decade” (135). In other words, how do we as a society determine what is ethical when faced with growing options of science and