…[S]cience has realized and affirmed what men anticipated in dreams that were neither wild nor idle.Â What is new is only that one of this country’s most respectable newspapers finally brought to its front page what up to then had been buried in the highly non-respectable literature of science fiction (to which, unfortunately, nobody yet has paid the attention it deserves as a vehicle of mass sentiments and mass desires).
[…]Â For someÂ time now, a great many scientific endeavors have been directedÂ toward making life also “artificial,” toward cutting the last tieÂ through which even man belongs among the children of nature.Â It is the same desire to escape from imprisonment to the earth thatÂ is manifest in the attempt to create life in the test tube, in the desire to mix “frozen germ plasm from people of demonstratedÂ ability under the microscope to produce superior human beings”Â and “to alter [their] size, shape and function”; and the wish toÂ escape the human condition, I suspect, also underlies the hope toÂ extend man’s life-span far beyond the hundred-year limit.
This future man, whom the scientists tell us they will produce in no more than a hundred years, seems to be possessed by a rebellion against human existence as it has been given, a free gift fromÂ nowhere (secularly speaking), which he wishes to exchange, as itÂ were, for something he has made himself.
—The Human Condition, 1958, pp. 2-3