h+ Magazine

Fall 2009...

Issue link: http://cp.revolio.com/i/2624

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59 www.hplusmagazine.com D avid Pearce wants to end your suffering. His manifesto "The Hedonistic Imperative" promises a future where humans live in high-functioning super- happy states devoid of pain and anxiety. For Pearce, the great shift to a hedonic society will come about by genetic intervention: "Gene therapy will be targeted both on somatic cells and, with even greater forethought, the germ- line. If cunningly applied, a combination of the cellular enlargement of the meso- limbic dopamine system, selectively enhanced metabolic function of key intra-cellular sub-types of opioidergic and serotonergic pathways, and the disablement of several countervailing inhibitory feedback processes will put in place the biomolecular architecture for a major transition in human evolution.…" Pearce's intellectual embrace of paradise engineering places him on the cusp of a modern philosophical movement that eschews Darwinian fatalism and looks to a post-Darwinian future where humans are freed from the cynical bonds of genetic expression and natural selection. In a post-Darwinian future where we are empowered by technology to live however we choose, how will we choose to live? According to Pearce, when all is said and done we will simply choose to be happy. A prolific writer who admits to typing with one finger, Pearce is a reserved man with precise and delicate sensibilities. As a third-generation vegetarian and an animal rights activist he seems like a man who literally wouldn't harm a fly, and might even go out of his way to make sure the fly is having a good day. His intimate knowledge of cognitive theory, designer pharmacology, and genetic engineering make him a perfect candidate for a comic book supervillain, but his intentions are those of a living bodhisattva. And while Pearce can write at length about his philosophy and the future of the human race, he is very reserved and protected when it comes to talking about himself. One gets the sense that his genius and passion to abolish suffering comes from a place of deep personal sadness, but if that is the case he's not letting on. The anguish of David Pearce, the man, is not important. But the words of David Pearce, the philosopher, make him the closest thing we have to a 21 st century Buddha.

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