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The Genius of Dante's Foetal Awakening

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  • The Genius of Dante's Foetal Awakening

    The signature character of the Virtual Adepts, Dante, Awakened before he was born. This was discovered by the Technocracy, who told his mother that he would be born with serious genetic disfigurements, and that she needed to enter an experimental program. She died during childbirth.

    So here we have the Technocracy as the establishment. Whether the Technocracy is inclusive/exclusive seems to be a tad nebulous. For example, the Sisters describe the Technocrats as patriarchs, while some descriptions of the Technocracy's ranks have them as highly cosmopolitan. But, for the purposes of this topic we will assume that the more realistic setting (Technocrats, Traditions are a mixed bag, with varying degrees of bigotry, and bigotry being concentrated in positions of power) is in place. We can frame the Technocracy as white authority; remember that high-ranking celebrated and socially acceptable science has always had a bit of a white lean. Eugenics, "human biodiversity"... science has always had a little bit of a race problem, and it certainly still does. Is there any exploration of this within the Technocracy? I can imagine a new initiative being forced through to "re-educate" members on race relations when statistical analysis reveals that bigotry within their ranks was impacting efficacy.

    Now you have a woman of colour being manipulated by authority figures into handing over what you could call her "genetic property". The Technocracy exploited the unique situation of her son, Dante, and performed unethical acts to further Science. Now there are in-universe justifications, mass ascension, "they would have done the same if she was white", all that sort of thing, and I don't necessarily disagree, this isn't a direct retelling, more an allegory.

    Considering all of the above, I can't help but be reminded of the case of Henrietta Lacks. A bizarre quirk of biology, genetic property being seized for the advancement of science (her cancer cell line was fully immortal, and were traded about by geneticists and oncologists without any thought for the ethical treatment of remains) without familial permission (or reimbursement), from an African American woman. I feel like Dante's backstory was at least in part inspired by this case, and I think it's a neat hint at the overbearing and dangerous power of the Technocracy and how it can be compared to real-world authoritarianism and racism.

    Had anyone else noticed this link? I feel like it was deliberate, but it could be an accidental similarity.
    Last edited by 11twiggins; 02-10-2017, 07:14 PM.

  • #2
    Authoritarianism certainly, the techies main flaw has always been defined as such. They believe they know what's best and that their's is the only way.

    Racism though.... not really. I feel the racism angle is a stretch at best. For the Henietta Lacks case, I don't see how that could be connected to racism either. They took her cells from her remains without her consent because the implications of her sells(an eternal supply of cancer cells to test cures on, research on regeneration and degradation of dna, Human immortality) were in their eye more important than her opinion.

    It wasn't about "Colour" or race, but more about the cold uncaring nature of science. The perception that humans are no more important than what they can provide, and that advancement is more important than human lives or dignity.
    Last edited by Prometheas; 02-10-2017, 07:53 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Prometheas View Post
      Authoritarianism certainly, the techies main flaw has always been defined as such. They believe they know what's best and that their's is the only way.

      Racism though.... not really. I feel the racism angle is a stretch at best. For the Henietta Lacks case, I don't see how that could be connected to racism either. They took her cells from her remains without her consent because the implications of her sells(an eternal supply of cancer cells to test cures on, research on regeneration and degradation of dna, Human immortality) were in their eye more important than her opinion.

      It wasn't about "Colour" or race, but more about the cold uncaring nature of science. The perception that humans are no more important than what they can provide, and that advancement is more important than human lives or dignity.
      Prometheas, the case of Lacks has been described repeatedly as a person's human rights (RE remains and how they are treated) being ignored by the authorities... a person who happens to have next to zero social capitol because of their race. By the ethical standards of the time the consent of the family should have been taken, and they would have had the opportunity to donate the remains if they had wished. Now considering the time period, do you seriously think that race had absolutely nothing to do with it? Keep in mind that behind direct violent abuse (false accusation, lynching, murder) the most pernicious mistreatment of marginalized groups is theft of property by the authorities, who act with impunity. All you have to do is look at how long it took her family to get an apology or any recognition whatsoever.

      And I'm not saying that the Technocracy had a huge racial bias here, that doesn't seem to be their deal. I am saying that deliberate (?) parallels have been created with a real life case, where race is one of many factors. Saying that Dante's mother lacked social capitol would be a jump, however that would have made her extra vulnerable to their lies. If you want to take it further, you have a history of indigenous women being sterilized by injections that they were told were medicine (EDIT: It was Native American women being sterilized by healthcare authorities in the US, under the pretense of doing a "checkup", some were told that they would die if the procedure wasn't carried out, many didn't have any real grasp of what was happening in medical terms and they were coerced using a Scientific authority as a form of intimidation, you see the parallels)... it's slightly tone death to look at a case of The Establishment lying to a woman using medical terms that are deliberately contrived to isolate her and make things harder for her to understand (again, assuming that Dante's mother wasn't an outlier for the time and her ethnicity), in order to perform a coercive or unethical act upon her and say that it isn't about race. Just my take.
      Last edited by 11twiggins; 02-10-2017, 08:10 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Prometheas View Post
        Authoritarianism certainly, the techies main flaw has always been defined as such. They believe they know what's best and that their's is the only way.

        Racism though.... not really. I feel the racism angle is a stretch at best. For the Henietta Lacks case, I don't see how that could be connected to racism either. They took her cells from her remains without her consent because the implications of her sells(an eternal supply of cancer cells to test cures on, research on regeneration and degradation of dna, Human immortality) were in their eye more important than her opinion.

        It wasn't about "Colour" or race, but more about the cold uncaring nature of science. The perception that humans are no more important than what they can provide, and that advancement is more important than human lives or dignity.
        The argument could be made that her social class had a factor in this decision. Had this cell line been found in a more affluent family, it's possible the scientists involved would have been more hesitant to approach the subject in case the family sued and ruined their lab.

        Since Social Class is mostly determined by wealth and affluence, and such things are quite intimately tied to race, especially 60 years ago when this all happened, perhaps her race did in fact factor into part of it.

        Perhaps it's not so much a question of "had she been white" but rather "had she been rich", though as stated before, the questions aren't entirely unrelated.


        Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running Chapter 37: The Shadow Coven

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Saikou View Post

          The argument could be made that her social class had a factor in this decision. Had this cell line been found in a more affluent family, it's possible the scientists involved would have been more hesitant to approach the subject in case the family sued and ruined their lab.

          Since Social Class is mostly determined by wealth and affluence, and such things are quite intimately tied to race, especially 60 years ago when this all happened, perhaps her race did in fact factor into part of it.

          Perhaps it's not so much a question of "had she been white" but rather "had she been rich", though as stated before, the questions aren't entirely unrelated.
          These things are always intersectional. Poor because you're black, can't get a good job, good education, so you stay poor... and when people start treating poor people terribly your community faces the brunt of it. Sex, race, gender, sexuality, class, nationality... they all just get mixed up into a horrible concoction of bigotry. You get concepts like Missogynoir, the precise form of sexism/racism that is uniquely targeted towards black women, for example, which has totally different dynamics when compared to "normal sexism".

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