In a recent discourse you gave your total support to genetic engineering. I am very much in trouble. For me such engineering is against nature. Who should be in charge of creating that superman? Often a so-called genius was later regarded as the devil. And people like Hitler, Stalin or Reagan are only possible because of all the others supporting them.
Genetic engineering also is against my freedom of self-development.
Could you please explain to me this science which bothers me?
Genetic engineering is going to be opposed by almost everybody. But before I say anything on genetic engineering I would like to remind you that every development, every evolutionary step in mankind’s life has been opposed in the beginning as being against nature.
Do you think man should go back to nature? Just see the implications of it: you will be hanging on the trees, jumping from one tree to another. Even if it had been proposed to the monkeys that by genetic engineering a better kind of monkey could be produced, they would have been offended. It would be against nature.
There is a long history of great names who have been against nature, but these are the people who have created all the facilities and all the comforts and the intelligence that you have. And they were vehemently opposed at every nook and corner.
In Russia now they have many fruits which are “against nature.” They are a crossbreed, just as by crossbreeding animals, far better animals can be produced than their mothers and fathers. In Russia they have been trying to crossbreed many fruits, trees and animals, and they have been immensely successful.
In fact without your knowing it, you are enjoying so much that is against nature. Your railway trains, your airplanes, your clothes, your medicines, your health, longer life than your predecessors can all be called against nature. Even a simple fountain pen is against nature; nature has not produced it.
One of the most significant thinkers of the West was Leo Tolstoy. He was so much against the very idea that anything should be produced which is not natural, that to Mahatma Gandhi he became a guru. Mahatma Gandhi accepted three masters. On the top of his list was Leo Tolstoy. He was one of the richest men of the world of that time, but lived like a beggar, as if to be a beggar is natural and to have riches is against nature.
Why is to be a beggar to be natural? In fact just the contrary should be the case, because we don’t see beggars in animals. Have you ever met any buffalo begging? They are absolutely natural people. They don’t use cars and trains – unless you force them. Then too they try in every way to resist.
Mahatma Gandhi’s second master was an American philosopher, Emerson, who also “went back to nature.” His third master was an Indian, Shrimad Rajchandra. But they were all his masters because they were in agreement on one point: going back. But where do you draw the line? How far back is natural? All these philosophers of “back to nature” have not been able to give a clear-cut answer, except Mahatma Gandhi. His “back to nature” means when the spinning wheel was invented – but that is not nature. The spinning wheel is as technological as any technology, it is just primitive.