Never Let Me Go Never Let Me Go discussion


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Do we already have a program like this?

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message 1: by Rachel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:43AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rachel In Regina's review below, she said that we don't have a program like what is described in the book, but it may be something of the future.

My reponse was that, YES, we do have a program like this already. What comes to my mind is animal agriculture in the form of today's factory farms.

Every year in the United States alone, billions of animals are raised and slaughtered at a very young age, so they can donate their flesh to us. As in the book, "Never Let Me Go," the industrial farms advanced quickly before people had time to ask the ethical questions. Now people are used to the cheap prices of meat, eggs, and dairy products made possible by the technological advances of the past 60 years. Now, when we are faced with the new reality that is our animal agriculture system, we are horrified, but we don't want to go back to the old ways when meat was much more expensive and less plentiful. Rather than part with our ill-begotten good fortune, we are like the non-cloned humans in "Never Let Me Go." We try to convince ourselves that farm animals have no souls, no emotions, and no feelings, despite clear scientific evidence to the contrary. This reminds me of the people in NEVER LET ME GO, who ignored the evidence in Madame's gallery and withdrew their support from further research on the topic, rather than face the facts.

The parallels between the futile lives of the clones in NEVER LET ME GO and the animals in today's factory farms, as well as the complacency and denial of the non-cloned "regular" humans in both scenarios, are really quite striking.

What do you think? Also, can anyone else think of any other parallels to something real in our society today? For example, some of the reviews here have alluded to a pointless existence of human beings in reality. Or how about something fictional, like the people in the MATRIX, the movie? Were the Hailsham students in a type of MATRIX-like dream experience? Regardless of their Hailsham education, they were destined to meet the same fate as those who were not reared in such nurturing environments. What do you think?


Walker Back in 2000, several companies, one Australian and one based in the US, tried to patent a pig-human gene splice (whatever it's called--I'm no scientist), presumably in order to clone these creatures and harvest their organs. Their efforts were derailed by a combination of opposition, including Greenpeace, as I recall. The technology is available.

"Chief executive officer of Melbourne-based Stem Cell Sciences, Peter Mountford told Reuters that his company had indeed put a human cell nucleus into a pig's egg. This nuclear transfer method involves scraping the nucleus out of an egg cell and replacing it with the nucleus, which contains most of the genetic material, from another cell...Another company has done similar work. In 1998, Advanced Cell Technology, based in Worcester, Massachusetts, said its scientists had fused human cells into cow eggs and let them grow as an embryo for a few days. Its aim is also to produce organs and tissues for transplant."

http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/st...




message 3: by Gabriel (new) - added it

Gabriel Oh good lord, I realize this is years old but harvesting people for their organs is an entirely different thing than butchering animals for meat. That comparison is disgustingly full of fallacies.


David Streever Gabriel wrote: "Oh good lord, I realize this is years old but harvesting people for their organs is an entirely different thing than butchering animals for meat. That comparison is disgustingly full of fallacies."

Gabriel, right? This stuff makes me so crazy. The level of paranoia and conspiracy nutjobbery in a society with unlimited access to free information is startling.

I read similar posts/theories about diets, supplements, medicine, etc, and I can only conclude that we live in a dark era for scientific literacy. People are genuinely stupid about these things.


Gisela Hafezparast No we don't. I agree with Gabriel. However, what we do have, i.e. the sale of organs by people from poor countries to us in the developed world plus the kitnapping and killing of people mainly from the undeveloped world to be used as donors is just as bad and in the increase.


David Streever Gisela wrote: "No we don't. I agree with Gabriel. However, what we do have, i.e. the sale of organs by people from poor countries to us in the developed world plus the kitnapping and killing of people mainly fr..."

Yes! I think that was the (thematic) point the author was going for; that we do, in a way, abuse other humans on the basis of our relative wealth and social hierarchy.


christopher is there a specific line that we draw between humans and other animals where it becomes "not ok" to inflict suffering on them, to exploit them, etc.?


David Streever christopher wrote: "is there a specific line that we draw between humans and other animals where it becomes "not ok" to inflict suffering on them, to exploit them, etc.?"

I think it varies based on who you are, what you believe, and what you think. I think we can all agree that, to some degree, most humans do inflict suffering on other humans. Many people who don't eat meat still purchase products that require exploitation and degradation of the poor; they still drive cars that pollute and cause massive ecological damage and fuel wars and violence all over the world.

The lines are blurry, shift often, and respond to shifts in popular culture and ideologies.


message 9: by Glenn (last edited Jun 26, 2014 10:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Glenn Goettel The technology has long existed; a sheep ("Dolly") and a human are, in biologic terms, only distinct species of mammal. The intent is very present, e.g. the killing and maiming of albinos in parts of East Africa, for the supposed magical or medicinal properties of their body parts. Often they are simply attacked on a road or whatever, their arms and/or legs are chopped off and they are left still living. I'm admittedly a pessimist and even a misanthrope; but where supply, demand and the ability to "harvest" all exist separately, I fear that only time keeps them from unity.
Ishiguro hints that in his alternate reality, a "medical breakthrough" sometime after WWII overcame the problem of autoimmune rejection of other peoples' body parts. A scarier scenario- and really, I was surprised that Ishiguro didn't go there- is of custom-made clones: wealthy individuals growing a duplicate of their own bodies for spare parts. This could easily, for all we know, be happening already.


christopher b-but i thought they were clones..


Thiago Rosa christopher wrote: "b-but i thought they were clones.."

Do you mean to say that clones aren't people, is that it?


christopher " A scarier scenario- and really, I was surprised that Ishiguro didn't go there- is of custom-made clones: wealthy individuals growing a duplicate of their own bodies for spare parts. This could easily, for all we know, be happening already. "


Elizabeth I don't see those parallels, as cute as pigs are, they aren't capable of making art. This is about issues that people face, human people. Human trafficking. Slave labour. Migrant farm workers, third-world factories making our disposable, cheap clothing and electronics. People we don't like to think about. "We're modeled on trash", one character says. They've been cloned from criminals,vagrants and prostitutes, "others". At least, that's the impression that I get. The book doesn't really go into detail about the science. Ishiguro is not interested in writing Brave New World or something. It's more of a character study, on a small scale.
It's about a lot of human issues, the largest of which is simply coming to terms with the fact of our mortality. Whether we die now or die in 70 years, we are going to die. You and me and everyone we know, is going to die. And we KNOW this, but we aren't really aware of it all the time. Creating a world in which the main characters have a compacted lifespan means looking at it in a new way. It creates much more pathos to see a younger person going through what every older person has to go through with, in coming to terms with their life, and it makes you think.


Thiago Rosa christopher wrote: "" A scarier scenario- and really, I was surprised that Ishiguro didn't go there- is of custom-made clones: wealthy individuals growing a duplicate of their own bodies for spare parts. This could ea..."
They are clones but are not *custom* clones. They are made from the same model. What the comment you quoted meant was rich people *cloning themselves* and harvesting those clones for organs.


message 15: by M.R. (new) - rated it 4 stars

M.R. As far as black-market body parts are concerned, we have them because some human beings are corrupt enough to sell anything that will make them money, and things for which there is high demand automatically fall into that category. That's probably been going on since we lived in caves, not that it can ever be justified. To them, body parts are no different. And because there are people out there who are so destitute that they'll consider selling one of their body parts, there is at least a rudimentary supply of willing sellers. It comes from the same mentality that says you should continue to have children even though you're impoverished because then you'll have more family members who can work to help you survive or take care of you in your old age -- VERY BAD reason to have kids, but people do it nonetheless. Ethical human beings know better.

Cloning is a bad idea, but you don't actually need that. What about the ethics of parents who have more children in order to have organs to save an existing sick child who needs them and can't find a match? ALSO a bad reason to have a child, but people do it. And what's to stop them from doing it, other than ethics? If you ask them to stop, you're essentially asking the parents to let a child risk dying before an organ match or donated organ can be found.

We can clean up our factories, pay migrant workers better, maybe stop pirates and human trafficking; but how are you going to stop desperate parents form having more children, or stop wealthy people from seeking clones when the tech is out there already? Cloning just hasn't produced viable human beings yet (not that has been documented; it's only been claimed); but if it becomes possible to clone only organs, that might dispense with the need to clone entire human beings. Would it be wrong then?

Ethics continues to grapple with new questions as tech evolves. You may not be able to stop the tech once it's out there, but you can try to stay ahead of it by contemplating the ethics in advance and taking measures to cut off some lines of research for a while. Maybe. Meanwhile, you still have one hell of a job persuading poor people to willingly practice birth control and limit the number of children they introduce into poverty before the parents can lift themselves out of it. Good luck with that.


Thiago Rosa If you could clone only organs, there wouldn't be anything wrong with that, of course. A kidney has no conscience. I doubt that is ever going to be possible, though.


message 17: by Matt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt Channing A kidney doesn't have a conscience, no. More importantly, a kidney doesn't have CONSCIOUSNESS.

I can't believe I wasted an hour of my life reading this idiotic thread.


Susan Gabriel wrote: "Oh good lord, I realize this is years old but harvesting people for their organs is an entirely different thing than butchering animals for meat. That comparison is disgustingly full of fallacies."Agreed.


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