“There’s a lot of things that I learned having sickle cell. Just because I had it, I learned patience with everyone. I learned just to be positive. I don’t wish I never had it. I don’t think I would be me if I didn’t have sickle cell.” These are some very wise words from a 13-year-old boy who was posed the question, “If you could guarantee that your kids wouldn’t have your disease, would you?” Many of us would take that guarantee without hesitation, but we don’t fully consider the consequences.
Did you know, if you get one copy of the sickle cell gene, it prevents you from getting severely sick with malaria. So, a gene that can make you sick can also prevents you from getting sick. Talk about a double edge sword. This is the precise reason I believe we have to come to grips with our “imperfections.” The very things we want to rid ourselves of are sometimes what we need to survive. And so often, we are simply trading one problem for another.
In our fast-moving world of technology, we are coming up with ways to solve even our most mundane problems. We can now get things shipped to our doorsteps within a matter of hours. We have thousands of movies and tv shows at the simple click of a few buttons. We can even make crispy fried chicken in half the time and half the mess. Thank you air fryer gods. We are coming up with new and innovative ideas to improve our quality of life, but what is the trade off?
With the rise of instant gratification, we are becoming more and more impatient by the second. In a recent study, researchers found that it takes an average of 22 seconds for a person to begin expressing frustration if a TV or computer doesn’t start streaming a movie properly. I don’t know about you, but I remember when we had dial up, and that took at least 5 minutes. So, what is the difference between then and now? It’s like living in a time warp. The longer we move along time, the faster it gets. Or is it just us?
If you take a quick scroll through any social media platform, you will see there is no shortage of perfect people living perfect lives. Everyone having their own little show house. So, there is no surprise that things like body dysmorphia and depression are on the rise. As we become more technologically advanced, procedures are becoming less expensive and perfection is just an appointment away. According to American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cosmetic surgery has increased 169% since 2000. So, what happens when we get exactly what we want? If I know anything about our culture, it is that we never stop wanting. That is why consumerism has thrived the way it has in the last century. In America, everything is a business, and one of the biggest is the medical industry.
Watching “Human Nature,” I realized we are only a few decades away from being able to engineer our very own DNA. So, what does that mean for us? Well, if we don’t confront our nagging desire for perfection, it could lead us to being responsible for our own demise. It's clear that the physical world is rapidly changing, but our inner beings are lagging behind. One of our greatest skills as humans has been our ability to adapt to our environment, but now it’s moving faster than we are. The optimism in me says that the 2020 quarantine could have been the catapult we needed to push our mental health forward. I guess only time will tell.