Imperative outlines how genetic engineering and nanotechnology will abolish suffering in all sentient life.
The abolitionist project is hugely ambitious
but technically feasible. It is also instrumentally rational and
ethically mandatory. The metabolic pathways of pain and
malaise evolved because they served the fitness of our
genes in the ancestral environment. They will be replaced by a different sort of
neural architecture. States of sublime well-being are destined to
become the genetically pre-programmed norm of mental health. The world's last unpleasant experience will be a precisely dateable event.
Two hundred years ago,
powerful synthetic pain-killers and surgical anesthetics were unknown. The notion that
physical pain could be banished from most people's lives would have seemed absurd. Today most of us in the technically advanced nations take its routine absence for
granted. The prospect that what we describe as psychological pain, too, could be banished
is equally counter-intuitive. The feasibility of its abolition turns its deliberate
retention into an issue of social policy and ethical choice.